The Economics of Bandwidth

Jim Gray may have been insightful, but Tannenbaum said it a lot earlier.

GeekTieGuy - It was an eye opener for me also when I read it way back then, and funny enough for it to stick in my head to remember it so many years later.

Bengt: I have 100/10 (199 SEK), but I can get 100/100 for 249 SEK, with Adamo. I’ve heard others who can get 100/100 for 129 SEK or around there. The speeds that the post speak about (not T3 and OC-3) are… Well, a joke. In Sweden atleast.

So, uh, yeah… How long would it take to walk across Sweden with a backpack full of harddrives…

Mike: I’m not sure what ISP you’re using, but if I download 1 byte one month and 1 TB the next, I’m going to notice a slight difference in the bills – about $9700 CAN. That is, $10/GB past the first 30 GB.

I’m just picturing a dump truck full of hard drives with the words “The Wireless Web” printed in a sleek font on its side.

A couple of points;

Cringely has been spending his last few weeks talking about this subject. He asserted a few of “facts” I didn’t know before: more than half (I recall the number as 80%, but don’t quote me; I do remember the number as more than half) of Internet bandwidth is chewed up by video already; Google is buying up bandwidth for The Big Takeover; and if Google doesn’t pull it off, video will kill the Internet. I think the last is how it will turn out. Physics will win. Especially since TCP is a stupid way to send such stuff. Gad. From the same folks, generally, who think XML is Just Ducky. etc.

Seymour Cray, when asked how it was that he could build computers that ran so much faster than anybody else’s said: “shorter wires”. And he meant it literally.

Lotus 1-2-3 began the long slippery slope of computer morphing from computing machine into consumer appliance. It’s a stupid way to send such stuff.

I just had time to skim the article, but I don’t see any mention of the risk of the mailed package being lost or stolen. Where I grew up, that’s a high probability.

This kind of math helps me quantify just how much monetary damage I’m doing to Valve Software via their Steam network. Every time I reload my XP machine, I choose to “install from the internet,” to the tune of some 7GB of downloaded data. I have the original game CDs sitting within arm’s reach–I don’t even have to get out of my chair to reach them–but I load from Steam anyway. And I load up on all their awful games I’ll never play, including 1.5GB of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero. Yeah, I’m somewhat vindictive.

I’m up to 4 or 5 full Steam reloads at this point.

In Sweden the cost for 100 Mbit/s DL is 320 SEK (45 USD) per month with no traffic fees.

/ Bengt

mmmm… do the hard drives cope with the heavy handling of some couriers? I would never send one with Royal Mail, but do the private couriers actually read the “Handle With Extreme Care, very fragile” stickers?

One could also decrease the copy time and increase reliability by using some type of external raid enclosure. Even better if it connected via a gigabit ethernet card. Though initial cost would increase as well as shipping cost.

Don’t forget, no chance that you’ll get “File is Corrupt” when your downlaod reaches 99%!

I must admit, I never really thought of the SneakerNet as a cost-effective way to deliver data. Knowing this, I may be able to cut down on some costs myself. Thanks for the insight on that.

I’ve seen 100Mbit uplinks at colo’s for something like $300 / mo.

That’s fishy, but… Cogent sells 100Mbps pipes for $1,000/month (double that for service providers). A recent Dreamhost 'blog post pegged their costs at about $30/megabit. And my employer is running a promo at one of our colo facilities, $2,000 for 100Mbps and a full rack.

I would guestimate Amazon’s transfer costs at $0.015/GB or less.

I’ve also seen 100Mb commits in the $800/mo range, falling rather rapidly (I think they had a Christmas special at something like $650/mo). You could obviously get multiples of these for less than the OC-3 price quoted. The vendor we contacted would run this to our office or a carrier hotel.

But point taken that the bandwidth won’t scale to all applications.

When your typical business egress is well in excess of 10-15Gbit/s, the billing model for big enterprise is radically different than just leasing an OC3 and paying flat-rate per byte. Such enterprise scale deployments negotiate multiple optical carriers for multiple datacenters then buy bandwidth billed by $/mbit of their sampled peak egress at 95th percentile on a month-to-month basis.

For the privilage of having pretty much uncapped bandwidth - I’ve no doubt that they’re paying somewhere around of $40-80 per megabit/s, at 95% percentile. (varies by datacenter and region) Consider that 12Gb/s peak egress (@95th %ile) would cost a between $600K-$1m per month.

If Jim had moved his multi-terrabyte data at wirespeed possible between datacenters e.g. untweaked a GigE typically puts out around 300-500mbit/s - he could easily move the egress 95th percentile upwards - increasing the billing for the whole datacenter. When you have multiple OC192’s, latency becomes the only real bandwidth cap.

Its too easy to forget that at such scale an casual drag/drop could cost $1000’s… Of course telcos are love you chewing more bandwidth - their meter is always running.

Those who’ve been in webhosting know, YouTube GoogleVideo have WAY killed the bandwidth business.

Companies like Softlayer provide computers to you with 250GB of storage and 2TB of BW for $159 a month, Up that setup to a 2 TB Raid0 and cost goes to about $289 a month. Bandwidth costs are $0.25 GB over 2TB but you can buy bandwidth in 1TB blocks for much cheaper than that. I have to wonder where people are getting their information. I’m willing to bet doesn’t pay near $0.10 a GB, I’d imagine it must be below $0.01 a GB. I mean really. Have you really done the math on how many videos are uploaded, and played a day…

I think you mean KB not Kb, MB not Mb, GB not Gb, and TB not Tb.

Actually, these can be intepreted in both ways, and they usually are depending on what the person reading them are used to.

Not sure why the IEC standard isn’t widely adopted, it’s the only one that makes sense:

I’ve seen 100Mbit uplinks at colo’s for something like $300 / mo.

I didn’t do the math exactly, but I know it came out to be a good deal cheaper than S3.

So that puts it in the $.05 - $.10 / GB range.

I’m thinking that the internet really is like a bunch of tubes. Some tubes are faster than others. The faster tubes cost more money. However, sometimes what you want is a truck full of tapes (or CD-R’s or DVD-R’s or hard drives).

I’ve seen 100Mbit uplinks at colo’s for something like $300 / mo.

Yes, but what happens when you try to upload or download a terabyte of data through that colocated network connection?

If you try it, I bet you dollars to donuts you get slapped with a hefty extra bandwidth fee.

For most ISPs, “unlimited” doesn’t actually mean unlimited. It means you are expected to use the typical amount of bandwidth, and if you exceed the allocated amount, you’re metered.