What does file compression have to do with cloud?

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By Andre Araujo

A few days ago I decided to clean up my room. There were a lot of items that I used in the past, but haven’t needed in quite some time. I opened a very dusty box at the end of the wardrobe and I found an almost Jurassic period item: a 3 ½” Floppy Disk. Finding this made me look back to remember my first steps in computing technology.

floppy disksDuring the 1980s and 1990s, the floppy disk was the “protocol” to exchange the data between computers. It was very common for people to have a big box with almost a hundred diskettes. Hard drives used to have 40 Mb to 200 Mb. One major factor with storage capacity was price. The diskette price was high and for economical purposes we used to buy a Low Density floppy disk (720 Kbytes) and make a hole at the top left corner with a drill, which duplicated the size and changed it to High Density (1.44 Mb), but sometimes we lost the entire disk. I remember the biggest issue was transferring big files. How should you divide a file with size more than 1.44 Mb?

Well, there was a file compressor called ARJ. As I remember, it was one the first file compressors that I heard about. The interesting thing is, with arj.exe you could create files with 1.44 Mb size using this command at MSDOS command prompt to create “destination_file.arj.”

C:\> arj.exe a r v1440 destination_file.arj source_file

The compressor ARJ was very helpful, but during the Windows era ZIP compressor was the most used tool to compact files. Nowadays we are familiar with tar and 7zip compressor tools.

But why I am discussing file compression in a cloud blog?

First of all I would like to make a statement: all things we discuss can regard software compression, right? Let’s think about the hardware of cloud: a huge volume of data, hosted in large amount of hardware, connected by thousands and thousands of wires. IBM has a solution called IBM Pureflex System. This solution is an easy way to create and offer an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) in private cloud.

Now, what if we make a comparison and start thinking of “hardware compression?”

Suppose we have:

  • (Cloud:\) => as the imagination environment.
  • (hwccom) => as Hardware compress command.
  •  ( -v ) => number of volumes
  • (Pureflex) => as destination “hardware”
  • PoC => as Part of the cloud

Should we have this?

Cloud:\> hwccom -v(#volumes) Pureflex PoC

Can you see? Is it not easy to create a Pureflex system? 🙂

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