Push Technology’s PR rep sent me an email a few weeks ago asking if I wanted to talk to some of their executives about a product launch or venture capital funding or whatever mind numbing topic it was that PR representatives constantly bother me about. Most PR request move quickly to the trash bin, but I actually found myself thinking about Push’s Technology space. TSS does a load of coverage about reading data, writing data and communicating with remote clients, but we don’t dedicate much ink to the actual network that marshals all of this data back and forth between nodes, and that’s the space in which Push, and their Diffusion products, resides.
Tackling the latency issue
So how do you eliminate bandwidth problems? Well, one way is to minimize the data you send across the network, but how do you do that? Earlier this year, Barry Burd wrote an article about XLABS, a company that asserts that they can achieve close to 99% lossless compression on any given video file. Such a technology would certainly make streaming Netflix easier, but the company has been so reticent to publicize the mechanism by which they achieve this 99% number that it’s difficult to know if it’s a true revolution in compression, or whether they’re just selling a pig in a poke.
The guys at Push are significantly more willing to discuss the tricks they use to seriously minimize the amount of data that goes across the network, and it goes beyond just compressing data. Sometimes it’s as simple as streaming only the changes between frames in a video when sending a movie across the wire, thus eliminating the need to send the same pixel descriptions over and over again. Mixed with compression and other little tricks, the promise is to make latency a thing of the past.
Going beyond compression
Now one of the reasons I can’t remember why Push’s PR rep got in touch with me is largely because I don’t recall it being a topic of conversation on the call I had with CEO Sean Bowen and Lead Engineer Peter Hughes. Sometimes you get on a call with c-level executives, and all they want to do is product pitches. Other times, you get people who are happier just talking about technology and development and all the things us technologically inclined people like talking about. The folks at ZeroTurnaround are like that. Sean and Peter were like that too. Most of our discussion centered on the topic of networking and solving the latency problem, but it was less about pitching their Diffusion products and more about just some of the neat problems they’re trying to solve, and the new ways they’re trying to do it.
I’ve already published a few articles pertaining to the interview, one of which includes a podcast of the highlights of the call. The first article deals with the way big data networking has changed the way organizations that face serious latency issues do web services, with the new approach being potentially offensive to die-hard RESTafarians.
The second article, which includes the podcast, tackles the other end of the spectrum, where instead of massive streaming of giant video and other files that are quantified in terms of gigabytes, we look as some of the challenges Internet of Things (IoT) devices encounter. After all, those IoT devices may just be sending a small JSON string to the server, but if that IoT device is in the middle of the desert, and the inherently unreliable network is acting unreliably, then there’s a problem. Basically, limited network bandwidth has the capacity to suffocate an otherwise viable project, and that’s a bad thing.
A third, short article is really just a landing page for the podcast, and a bit of a shill for their software:
And if you’d like to just listen to the podcast and ignore the written word, you can find it here:
Anyways, they’re a couple of good guys doing some interesting things. Check out the articles, listen to the podcast, and head over to their website and see of their Diffusion Cloud solutions might be something that would be helpful to your production deployments.