Why is offline storage backup slow?

Posted on 2011-04-30
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
If cloud computing is the future of the computing industry,
why is offline storage so terrible slow even with Comcast's fastest
internet connection?
Question by:Howie_Lynn
    LVL 47

    Accepted Solution

    Because local storage speeds are still much faster than upload Internet speeds.

    From memory you can get a transfer speed of about 60 Megabytes/sec with modern hard disks (and probably tape).  You get more if you use USB 3.0

    That is Megabytes not Megabits.  A Megabyte is roughly 8x the size of a Megabit.  If you look at Comcast speeds they are quoting Megabits.  Also take in account the overhead involved with Interned data transfer and you'll see why for large data transfers cloud computing is NOT the answer.
    LVL 2

    Author Comment

    A construction engineer who works for the Pa Trnpk,  who travels to the eastern countries on business, claims the business internet of the eastern countries is noticeably faster than ours.
    Is this true?
    I also don't understand why our internet upload speeds are slower than our download speeds.
    Is this caused by a technical issue or necessary to enable video streaming on our slow internet?


    LVL 47

    Assisted Solution

    >>  I also don't understand why our internet upload speeds are slower than our download speeds.

    Controlled by the ISP.  Also discourages file sharing.  : )

    >>  who travels to the eastern countries on business, claims the business internet of the eastern countries is noticeably faster than ours.
    Is this true?

    Japan and Korea, yes.  Singapore too, I think.  Romania suprisingly also.

    Couple of graphs to look at.  These just give an indication.

    LVL 2

    Author Comment

    another comment/question:

    If I'm using the cloud and running an app,  is my data save speed on the same cloud server as fast as my pc data save rate?  How does that system work?
    The reason I'm curious is because the Mottly Fool is recommending the three major cloud companies as a unique one time investment opportunity to make tons of money.  Obviously, for a data processing or a small business company,  where speed can be sacrificed to eliminate IT support, that makes sense.   But does it make sense for the rest of us?

    The fool has a long history of picking winners even though the investment community doesn't agree.
    The Fool Team has picked many winners over the last ten years.  I can't argue with thier success.
    But, I wonder if they are right this time considering the state of our internet and international DOS attacks?
    LVL 47

    Assisted Solution

    >>  If I'm using the cloud and running an app,  is my data save speed on the same cloud server as fast as my pc data save rate?  How does that system work?

    Probably similar.  Perhaps a little slower.  You signal to the cloud which is really a server somewhere to save your data.  So it just dumps - saves - your data to hard disk.  Which is what you are doing locally.  The server might be doing other stuff at the same time so your data might not get written straight away but you'd never know.

    >>  But does it make sense for the rest of us?

    Assuming you are just interested in saving your IT work you have two choices cloud or local.  Both have their problems.  If your local disk goes down, have you got good backups?  The cloud can go down as well.  Amazon just proved that recently where one of their regional centres went down and data was lost.

    Which way do you want to go?

    If you've got a huge amount of data I'd recommend local storage with good backup strategies (offsite, duplicate backups).  If you've got small data (say Word documents) then the cloud strategy can be a good idea.  Some schools do this using Google Docs.  But you've got to have trust in your cloud provider.

    DOS attacks shouldn't affect a large cloud provider.  They've got enough systems in place to take care of that.  Internet outages occur.  Can be local (ISP), international (overseas cable cuts) or at the cloud provider itself (rare but does occur).

    As for the Motley Fool's recommendations, cloud storage is something that has been around for quite a while but under different names.  In the old days it was the mainframe with remote terminals, then servers with workstations.  Now it is called cloud storage.  The idea is that one central location holds the data and does the heavy processing.  Good for controlling the data but users don't necessarily like it.  "Can I trust it?" is the cry.

    And here are the three companies concerned in the Motley Fool article if you are interested in them.

    LVL 13

    Assisted Solution

    Very good analysis from dbrunton. Just want to share a little of my experience:
    I am using Comcast in Milpitas, CA. A small town in Silicon Valley. I got download speed of 25Mbps and upload speed of about 5Mbps. However I have perform many test to confirm that Comcast intentionally stop by upload if I have consistently high bandwidth for over a few minutes.e.g. I will never be able to upload a 80MB file at home using Comcast, while I can do that on many busiless locations not using Comcast. Comcast do this to discourage file sharing, or their customer running any commercial application. This also mean offline storage of large amount of files or backup to the cloud will not work at my location using Comcast.

    Offline storage is just one possible application of cloud computing, and there are many other ISP besides Comcast. I will not let this experience to condemn cloud computing.

    I have a 6TB disk array at home to hold my data, which includes my email backup, many virtual machines backup, video files that I edit etc. I carry a laptop with an almost full 500GB hard disk around to work with my customers. Offline storage definitely is not for me. Still I use cloud storage to hold small files which I can access from my phone and iPad.

    On the other hand, my sister run her business on a server. I setup her server to backup to external hard disk than to DVD for offsite storage. She can hardly fill a DVD in 3 months. For this type of business, cloud storage make a lot of sense. I will think at least 50% of small business will be more like my sister than me.

    Just my 2 cents.
    LVL 2

    Author Comment

    The M.F. premise is the money saved in IT support makes the cloud a good investment vehicle.
    I'm not sure what I think of the M.F's suggestion.   In Lockheed Martin's Nasa aerospace division
    we hardly had enough money to  buy computers.   So we distributed whatever software we had and
    that was the end of IT support except for repair and training.  All our money was spent on mainframes
    were we built and tested our spacecraft.   Engineers don't need IT support, they need money to
    complete thier contracts and get the space craft built.  Especialy, when working for NASA.
    I suspect IT support exists in the publishing industry.   We had a small group of publishers who polished our proposals.  They were good at what they did but needed IT support to keep going.  They didn't hold math degrees.  In the past, I wonder how much IT support  small business's have been able to afford?  
    Maybe, just maybe, I could be wrong.  But in my somewhat questionable experience,  I think the
    future of general computing is not in the cloud but in the Android and similar systems,  perhaps linked
    to a powerful home computer for support.   Anything is better than being stuck in front of a desk, stairing at an unmoveable  screen,  with a mouse in my fist.

    Thanks for all your help it is appreciated.
    And for my birthday I would like  E.E. to have a spell checker..

    LVL 2

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks guys.

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