I'm Jon Olick. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I presented Sparse Voxel Octrees at Siggraph 2008.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What a 128bit addressing space is useful for...

What if you had unlimited storage capacity and it was fully redundant... and what does this have to do with a 128bit addressing space?

To answer that question, you have to look into how to implement a P2P Cloud Storage solution.

To make a long story short, every file sector gets an address - a very big one. Some P2P services use up to 160bits. 128-bits is good enough for this new purpose though.

What if every file, every document ever made was in this P2P cloud storage. And it could be referred to as naturally as having a pointer in your code. The OS would page in part of this data from the internet on demand.

This is what I would think of as the ultimate computer storage solution -- blurring the line between computer and internet - to the point of being indistinguishable. This blur between internet and computer is where I believe computers are headed... I can't wait. :D

A shame 128-bit addressing is probably 20 years away... I'll be old by then (by my current standards anyway). It will be neat to watch the incremental progress towards this though as the years go by.

A few questions that keep crossing my mind is - If the internet could be applied to computing in general, to the extent of running something as simple as notepad.exe. How would it be done? How would it be secure? Is that possible with the internet of the future which has 10-100 times the bandwidth and 1/10th to 1/100th the ping? Which brings up more questions, such as what are the limits of internet related technologies? How fast is it advancing as to be able to make predictions about where it will be. etc...


  1. Thought provoking blog post Jon!

  2. Good post as usual.

    Why 128-bits tho? What's wrong the current standard URI/URL? S3 does this and I love its simplicity. Everyone is on the same file system and everyone must have a unique file name. Currently we just get around it by everyone appending their own unique prefix(URL) and treating '/' like a directory break, though really its just a character like any other...

    A more interesting cloud filesystem question is the far future and how such a system would work over vast distances (think spacecraft/colonization) where the speed of light becomes more apparent. How time asynchronous file-systems handle merging and changes...

  3. I believe I have mounted a remote file system over ssh before. And Dropbox is also kind of like what you're talking about. I don't actually know how often Dropbox synchronizes it's files, but I think if you were to play around with mmap-ing a Dropbox file you'd be pretty close to your idea.