For semiconductor and electronic system designers, their mission will be to break the bottlenecks between the client and the massive data center complexes comprising the cloud.

In the highly competitive world of electronic commerce, speed is king, whether one is making a purchase or looking up information on line.

In his “Fast Company” article, “How One Second Could Cost Amazon $1.6 Billion In Sales,” author Kit Eaton stated, “Amazon calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year.

Google has calculated that by slowing its search results by just four tenths of a second they could lose 8 million searches per day—meaning they’d serve up many millions fewer online adverts.”

With Amazon and Google as the benchmark, it’s pretty obvious that everyone else providing on-line transactions of any kind is under the gun to match this performance.

For semiconductor and electronic system designers, the impetus going forward will be to break the bottlenecks that exist between the client (IoT sensor, mobile device—phone, tablet, anything connected to the net, and every PC or other computer with any kind of connection) and the massive data center complexes comprising the cloud.

In an IoT primer entitled, “The Internet of Things: Making sense of the next mega-trend” issued by Goldman Sachs Equity Research in September 2015, declared that “the third wave of the Internet may be the biggest one yet. There will be a string of new businesses, from those that will expand the Internet ‘pipes’, to those that will analyze the reams of data, to those that will make new things we have not even thought of yet.”

Our experience at Mobiveil in the past year bears witness to the truth in this prediction.

The amount of new business opportunities emerging from the need to accelerate the movement of data into and out of the large storage farms comprising the collective “cloud,” has been unprecedented.

NVM Express (NVMe) has emerged as the key standard to break the growing bottleneck of storage access by leveraging high speed low latency PCI Express (PCIe) technology.

What we saw in the last couple of years is the transition from hard drives to Flash.

But the key benefit of NVM Express is that it makes the storage medium transparent to the Server. It means that many new interesting device technologies like 3D-XPoint or RRAM could be used as the storage medium to increase the storage performance several fold.

So NVMe is creating a unique opportunity for data center engineers to customize their system solutions to more precisely address the bottlenecks in their data center environment and control cost by mixing and matching different storage technologies.

For example, a data center primarily designed as an Internet search engine will see a different pattern of storage accesses than one primarily aimed at on-line shopping, or one serving multiplayer games.

In the light of this dynamic it is not difficult to understand Intel’s $16.7 billion purchase of Altera.

Data Center operators who previously purchased standard solutions are now beginning to develop their own custom hardware using these field programmable FPGAs.

The trend mirrors that occurring in the larger data centers where software-defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) is allowing more cost effective capacity scaling versus massive investment in replacement hardware.

According to its White Paper, “The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the Internet of Things,” market analyst IDC, declared that “from 2013 to 2020, the digital universe will grow by a factor of 10 – from 4.4 trillion gigabytes to 44 trillion. It more than doubles every two years.”

For semiconductor and system companies, the indication is clear that they will need to adapt to new technologies and business models to take advantage of this rapidly emerging opportunity.

–Ravi Thummarukudy is CEO of Mobiveil Inc.

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