Ars Technica has published an intriguing piece about new techniques being used to secure high-bandwidth academic networks — the sorts of pipes used to transfer terabytes of data at a time. The problem with conventional security tools such as firewalls is their tendency to slow things down, meaning that, in the words of one university sysadmin, "it becomes faster to FedEx the science than it does to transport it over the network." But when research networks are siloed into separate demilitarized zones (DMZs), away from intranets, email and other distractions, they can achieve throughput of "100Gbps and beyond."
While security setups like these are confined to the ivory tower for the time being, the article points out their potential for adoption in the commercial "big data" space, by companies needing to regularly transfer large amounts of information over long distances. In a foretaste of what may be to come, Amazon is currently working with National Institutes of Health scientists to move more than 200TB of data on to its Web Services cloud — it's all very well having your data hosted remotely, but as soon as you need to move it around a DMZ is going to come in very handy.