Lillie: Mobile Growth to Have ‘Profound Impact’

The mobile revolution is coming. and the world’s infrastructure isn’t ready yet. That’s the clear message from Equinix CIO Brian Lillie, who says new devices like the iPad are making mobile video a reality.

“Think what happens when the iPad takes off,” Lillie said. “People are surfing the Internet and streaming video on their mobiles, and it’s just starting. As prices come down for these new devices, the growth of traffic will surpass expectations.”

Lille was the keynote speaker this morning at Data Center World Spring 2010 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tenn. He warned the audience of 800 data center professionals that the coming tsunami of mobile traffic will be disruptive to their networks and facilities.

“The mobile Internet will have a profound impact,” said Lillie. “We’re just at the beginning, but we’re not ready. This is the message we’re bringing to the carriers. And they know it.” He said some carriers are preparing to increase their network capacity ten-fold over the next decade.

Lillie said the growth is being driven by the development of mobile apps for the iPhone, Blackberry, Android phones and other mobile devices. As these new apps bring a universe of everyday tasks into the palms of users’ hands, usage is accelerating – along with the data traffic streaming across global networks.

As these apps and devices proliferate, network latency will become an increasingly important challenge for corporate IT departments and data center managers.

“We believe the mobile wave will be bigger than the fixed Internet wave,” Lillie said. “It has the potential to change the way we do business.” An example: Lillie said Equinix is redesigning its systems for mobile access, including customer management portals and capacity planning tools for the iPhone and Blackberry.

A similar transition awaits many of the companies represented at Data Center World, he said. “What are you doing to handle this growth?” Lillie asked. “You have to think about your networks and how they may need to grow. The numbers (for traffic volume) are getting to be extraordinary. Most of it is video, and it’s just starting to kick off.”

One technology likely to see broader adoption as a result of mobile traffic is WAN optimization, which can help companies better manage their existing network infrastructure to (See our WAN Optimization Outlook for an overview of the major players in this niche).

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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