I had a challenge
The recent release of WebSphere Portal comes in several flavours for several platforms in several languages.
All up, for the complete install of both the enterprise and the SMB versions, for Windows and Linux platforms, but only in English, the install files make up about 17GB worth of data. About 40 CDs if you were to burn them individually.
We have many business partners and technical resources in regional areas (ie. outside Sydney), who do not have the bandwidth or the time to be able to download these files. Typically when I download them, I use a download manager and leave it running overnight (or over a weekend) on a computer in the office.
I managed to squeeze all of the files onto 4 DVDs – which is so much more convenient than 40 CDs !
Last night and this morning I burned 3 sets of these 4 DVDs to send to some people who had requested copies. There were two other DVDs I also sent with some extra bits on it to one of these people.
That worked out to be 14 DVDs, with a total of around 65 GB worth of data on them.
Now if they had downloaded them from our server at the office, assuming they could sustain a 100 KBps download speed over our WAN, then it would take about 189 hours to download all of this data. That’s more than a week !
It took me 30 mins to drive down the road to buy a pack of blank DVD-R discs, then each DVD took about an hour to burn, so that’s 14 hours, and then it took my 30 mins to get into the office where I could put them in the internal mail, and I would expect it to take no more than 24 hours to deliver the DVDs to their destination. That’s about 39 hours total – significantly less than the 189 hours it would take to transfer over the network !
Looking at it another way, we would need to be able to sustain 6000 KBps transfer rate over our WAN to be able to transfer the data in the same amount of time it took me to burn the discs and have them delivered. That’s equivalent to having a 46 Mbps network link ! Wouldn’t that be nice ?
Looking at the costs – $850 for the burner (that’s a laptop DVD burner, desktop burners are a lot cheaper), $5 each for the 14 DVDs, and let’s allow $60 for couriers. We’ll round that up to $1000. (Note that the burner wasn’t bought for only this purpose, I’m just being generous with costs).
Now for the cost of bandwidth to transfer the data over the network to be cheaper, we’d have to be paying no more than about 1.5 cents per megabyte for our bandwidth. I have no idea how much bandwith over our WAN costs our department – quite possibly it is actually less than that. But if you were to use an internet link, you would be paying significantly more than this – possibly even 10 times that amount for some types of ADSL link !
This all goes to show you, networks are great, but there are often more efficient and cost effective ways to transfer data !!!!