FASTER Under-sea Data Cable

Google, in partnership with several large Asia-based telephone companies, has announced a plan to run a new undersea cable, called FASTER, between Japan and the US west coast. This cable will have the fastest trans-pacific data capacity ever, at 60 terabytes per second. With construction beginning immediately the cable has been designed with 6-fiber-pair cable and optical transmission technologies.

This is hardly the first trans-ocean cable. There are already about 200 fiber optic cables run through the ocean, carrying an estimated 51 billion gigabytes per month; a data amount expected to increase to 132 billion gigabytes in the next few years. A substantial part of that data is on the UNITY and SJC cables, which handle 3.3 Tb/s and 28 Tb/s respectively; and which are also invested in by Google. Showing how fast the data needs are growing the 28 Tb/s SJC was only opened last year, on July 2013. Already the FASTER cable, which aims to be operational in 2016, has nearly triple the earlier cables capacity.

The system is designed to handle the increasingly intense data demands for broadband, mobile phone and business needs across the pacific. It is of particular benefit to Google which can connect its data centres in the U.S. and Asia. Years ago such cables were solely for the use of (land line) telephone connections. The fact that internet companies require them too means there are more companies investing in the facilities; but also that the facilities require much greater data capacity.

The future estimate of triple capacity in three years may be taking more into account than recent increases. The FASTER cable of today (actually 2016) is almost 20 times the capacity of UNITY cable’s 3.3Tb/s from a mere 4 years ago. Presumably data needs will continue to increase, but not indefinitely or always as rapidly as recent years.

Amazon Trust Advisor

Cloud Security with Amazon

amazon cloud

Amazon has been supplying the trusted advisor program for a while, which gives advice on the best way for a customer to use the company’s IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) cloud services. It inspects the Amazon environment and reports opportunities to improve system performance, reliability and way to save money. More importantly, it gives security advice.

As of the 1st of August Amazon has added four free checks for its trusted Advisor customers.

Service limit checks: This prevents a resource from being over or underused. Overused mean overcapacity, and preventing the overcapacity of a resource increases fault tolerance and availability. Under capacity means potential that the user might otherwise have remained unaware of.

Unrestricted checks: Checks which warns users of anything on the Amazon cloud system that could be changed without proper credentials, thus defending against hacking, data loss or denial of service.

IAM (Identity and Access Management) Use check: Which warns customers if only basic account-level credentials are securing Amazon Web Services resources.

Multi-Factor Authentication root check: which makes sure that customers are using more than just a password to identify themselves. A device authentication, such as a mobile phone Id, is also expected.

When logging onto the Amazon Web Services Management console a customer has the option of seeing these alerts. Higher level services are available for a fee.