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Comcast: Zetabytes, Big Data and the Future of the Channel

The channel is going to see the formation of thousands of new companies moving into the market with born-on-the-cloud" models that are very different than many of the partner business models of today.

Channel Partners

May 31, 2013

2 Min Read
Comcast: Zetabytes, Big Data and the Future of the Channel


By Craig Schlagbaum

Do you know what a zetabyte is? How about a petabyte or an exabyte? Simply put, they are enormous amounts of data (a ZB = 1021 bytes) and those metrics are being expressed today in terms of how much data we are pushing through our worldwide networks. With the advent of the cloud, the continuing growth of video in mobility, and a phenomenon known as Big Data, the voracious appetite for more and more bandwidth will only continue to grow.

I recently attended a Ciena partner event and their executives shared many macro trends that we should all be watching as service providers. And this really got my attention. With the cloud, big data and mobility, bandwidth consumption is simply exploding.  

As an example, by 2014, more than half of all workloads are predicted to be processed in the cloud and 71 percent of all mobile traffic will be video.  And by 2015, the annual global could traffic will be 1.6 zetabytes.  In fact, they shared an observation that soon, the amount of traffic that was carried in the mid-2000s will amount to what they called a rounding error” compared to todays traffic.  Thats how fast bandwidth consumption is growing.

The channel is also changing due to all of this. We are going to see the formation of thousands of new companies moving into the market with born-on-the-cloud” models that are very different than many of the partner business models of today, due to the low barriers to entry. And we will see many multibillion-dollar partners rise up with consolidation.  This is good news for anyone in this space and its sure to be a wild ride as businesses require reliable network connectivity that can scale. It is one of the most exciting times in the channel in history and reminds me a lot of mid-90s with the advent of the Internet. Heres to the next zetabyte of data growth which is great news for all of us.


Did You Know?

  • 1 PB = 1000000000000000B = 1015bytes = 1000 terabytes.

  • 1 EB = 1000000000000000000B = 1018bytes = 1000 petabytes

  • 1 ZB = 1000000000000000000000bytes = 10007bytes = 1021bytes = 1000 exabytes

Craig Schlagbaum is the vice president of indirect channel sales for

Comcast Business Class
. In this role, he manages Comcast’s indirect channel partner team and the overall indirect channel programs for business services. Prior to Comcast, Schlagbaum managed the indirect channel team for Level 3 Communications. He has spent more than 21 years in various indirect channel roles in sales, marketing and business development, and has been recognized as a top channel executive by Channel Partners magazine. He also is a member of

the 2012-13 Channel Partners Advisory Board.

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