Over the last 12 months, Virtual Internet has been rolling out a host of new services including on-demand virtual servers and pay-as-you-go virtual data centers.
But, cloud computing is not just restricted to remote virtualization services over the Internet; it is also slowly making its presence felt via satellite services to remote outlying regions which have no stable, terrestrial broadband infrastructure.
If Africa immediately popped into your head, you would be right. Many areas on the continent have little or no Internet Access.
This data black hole has kick-started a number of innovative companies to attempt to use Satellite cloud computing services to rescue remote regions from the information dark ages.
One of them is ND Satcom; a company, which has been around for nearly three decades and market’s itself as producing ‘innovative satellite communication systems and equipment to customers with critical operations anywhere in the world.’
However, according to their site there are challenges with using satellite technology to remotely deliver IT resources.
This is how the describe the issues facing satellite cloud computing:
Many applications have high bandwidth requirements and tend to time out when latency is too high. Research has shown that more bandwidth is not automatically the remedy for this. Overcoming latency, even bringing down bandwidth consumption and maintaining reasonable costs can be challenging when running IT applications via satellite. Satellite communication networks are therefore usually not the first choice.
According to ND SatCom their product XWARP® overcomes these limitations. The technology is based on a bundle of virtualization technology and satellite communication hardware.
You probably already know that Virtual Internet rolled out Xen Sandbox Servers to complement their heavyweight VMware Enterprise cloud servers for customers. Well, there are various flavors of Xen packages out on the marketplace all built from open-source Xen kernels.
ND Satcom elected to deploy a variation of Xen called Citrix XenApp in their data centers for virtualization purposes to drive the satellite clouds.
This cloud software is then combined with a hardware package consisting of satellite routers for establishing wide area networks over satellite, converged with a zero latency engine to optimize WAN traffic and latency.
By the way if your confused by what latency refers to it basically means the amount of time it takes for information from your computer to travel to the source. It is not the same as bandwidth. Latency thus refers to the lag between two computers that are in communication with one another.
These satellite clouds are still in its infancy and many variations exist. In fact, cloud computing is set to take on all shapes and forms including novel ways to harness power to drive the hardware and virtualization software.
According to one source on the internet, Google was recently awarded a patent to for a floating data center that would be located 3-7 miles off shore that incorporates wave energy machines to create electricity from ocean waves to power its servers. Sounds goofy, but science fiction is regularly becoming true these days.
Or consider, the niche rival to Comcast in the United States, WildBlue, which seeks to provide high-speed internet “out of the blue”. Its key selling point is its available anywhere in the U.S. including for instance remote forest in Yosemite Mountain Range.
Wildblue is very proud of the fact that their services are substantially faster than dial-up. Their site claims you can get download speeds up to 1.5 Mbps and upload speeds up to 256Kbps.
So keep an eye on those Chinese satellites moving across the stars; one day you may find that not only are you cars made in China — but so is your cloud!
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