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4 Technologies That Will Change Web Hosting (2 Sooner, 2 Later)
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Any technological advance in computing, of course, will help everyone who uses computers. Frankly, the metaphor can be extended almost without limit, since just about every living soul on earth uses things that computer users create. Be that as it may, here are four technologies that will change web hosting, from within and without, as well as give some fertile minds a whole lot to daydream about.
The fast-moving tech sectors, like the web, will be where all of these advances will be invested, tested, vetted and wedded. These sectors will also be the early adopters. The dual role is great when new products work out and work well, and not so great when they don't (and don't). Keep checking back with your favorite tech site or blog on the progress in the following four areas.
1. 64-bit computing (sooner)
Intel debuted its very first 32-bit CPU in 1986, but it was another seven years before Windows NT 3.1 became the first 32-bit Windows OS. Today most computers ship with 64-bit processors, while Windows 7 is still going to roll out with both 32- and 64-bit versions. The first "all-64-bit" OS from Microsoft will be Windows 8, set for 2013 at the soonest.
Apple's OS X 10.5 (Leopard) is already 64-bit, and hardware makers are transitioning users as best they can to a 64-bit Windows OS, with Samsung declaring its entire PC line will soon be 64-bit territory and Gateway actually making it so. With all servers, ancillary support machines and technicians' desktops running a 64-bit OS on 64-bit CPUs-well, things should speed up a bit. If the hardware and software are tightly integrated, a la Apple's Mac and its OS, the speed gain may be more than just "a bit."
2. Memristor, a new kind of circuit (later)
In 1971, a UC Berkeley researcher theorized the possibility of an electronic component able to measure and recall the flow of electric current, dubbed the "memristor." Just 37 years later, in mid-2008, Hewlett-Packard built one. As its name suggests, the memristor "remembers" how much current has passed through it. By alternating the amount of that current, a memristor becomes a unique one-element component that can also save its electronic state when the power is turned off. Because they will be a good deal cheaper, a great deal faster and have far greater memory densities, memristors could replace today's flash memory.
Because they remember what they were doing when the power goes out, memristors have an instant-on feature that instantly puts you back in the workflow that you left. All sorts of new devices, and new applications for old devices, will issue from this invention. H-P expects to offer them by 2012 as a replacement for flash memory, after which wider industry adoption should have memristors replacing both RAM and hard drives within five years of that date. As always, we shall see.
3. SSD, the solid-state disk (sooner)
A solid-state disk (SSD) provides high-performance, plug-and-play storage with no moving parts. Unlike a hard disk, the storage media isn't magnetic, and unlike a CD, it is not optical. Instead it contains an EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory), battery-backed RAM or another erasable RAM-type chip. Since data is randomly retrieved and no read/write heads have to sync up with spinning platters, an SSD gives much faster access time than a hard disk while affording far greater resistance to damage from shock, vibration and/or temperature. The single current downside is a hefty cost per megabyte, which will fall precipitously over time.
An SSD comprises either DRAM or flash memory, a memory bus board, a CPU and a battery. Since they manage the storage with their own CPUs, SSDs are much faster-up to 44MBps with an UltraWide SCSI interface-than standard hard disks, producing today's highest I/O rates. SSDs are particularly effective for web server applications and server systems, since I/O time is critically important. In these settings, SSDs should store items known to create bottlenecks, from swap files and databases to library and index files, authorization routines and login information
4. Wireless power (later)
Nikola Tesla imagined a world dotted with imposing, scary-looking Tesla coils but never finished (so far as we know) his experiments for "broadcast power." Although experimentation is hot and heavy again in this field, wireless power has debuted in just about zero consumer-level products. In mid-2008, however, Intel researchers managed to "throw" electricity a few feet with no wires and no hazards to innocent bystanders (that they know of). Based on MIT research, Intel calls its approach to wireless power a "wireless resonant energy link."
The "wi-resen-link" works by sending a 10-MHz signal into a coil of wire, so that a similar nearby coil resonates in tune with it. This causes electrons to flow through the nearby coil, too. Design and execution are still drawing board primitive although the device lit a 60-watt bulb at 70% efficiency. Further development faces numerous obstacles, one of which is developing a small DC version for charging gadgets (the Intel project is AC)-not to mention navigating all the regulatory red tape and jumping through the Consumer Product Safety Commission hoops. The pundits and prognosticators following wireless power are guessing "five to eight" years for something usable with computers, like wireless recharging while drinking your Starbucks latte.
Amy Armitage is the head of Business Development for Lunarpages. Lunarpages provides quality web hosting from their US-based hosting facility. They offer a wide-range of services from linux virtual private servers and managed solutions to shared and reseller hosting plans. Visit online for more information.
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