The recent news of IEEE seeking to develop a new Ethernet standard got me thinking. Right now 10Gbps networking equipment is still terribly expensive and definitely not aimed at home networking needs, but if such equipment suddenly became cheap, commodity hardware there'd be a lot of interesting things one could do, like e.g. I have a Linux-server running 24/7 with Btrfs in raid0 configuration: I could just install all my applications and games there over the network, resulting in much faster operation than from local devices.

The above is still a very simple usecase, however: imagine a network protocol that is first and foremost designed for caching of filesystem data over the network and all major OSes supporting such a scheme -- if you noticed your system wasn't as fast as you want it to be and the slowness was a result of storage I/O bandwidth not being enough you'd just buy a small, dedicated box with 4GB+ RAM and one or more storage devices inside it, plug it in your network and POOF, all the computers in your network would get increased performance. If the box was specifically designed without a GPU, with a CPU with hardware SSL-, CRC- and compression/decompression- facilities and an enclosure designed for efficient heat dissipation you'd most likely even see a small benefit in your electricity bill over time as the other computers' drives could to go sleep, not to mention the obvious comfort of less noise and heat from them -- the box itself could easily be tucked away somewhere out of sight where it bothers no one. Of course such a scheme would require low-level OS-support for that and proper security-measures, though the boxes aimed at home could ship by default with permissive restrictions and offer a web-interface or similar for those more advanced users who need stricter permissions.

The more RAM the box had in it the more stuff it could offer instantaneously at full network bandwidth, with hardware compression/decompression it would be able to cache much more data efficiently than e.g. Windows does even with ReadyBoost, and the more networked computers you had utilizing the box the bigger benefits you'd gain overall with the box caching the most-used data for fastest retrieval -- for example, if all the computers in your network used Firefox as their web browser the box could cache all the related files to RAM and serve them from there at 1.2Gb/s speeds, benefiting every single person in your home.

Similarly, the box could not only be used as a cache, but as actual installation-target for large applications/games that you don't need on the go, but you need when you're at home: you'd just right-click (or utilize some configuration utility or whatever) on an application and select "Transfer to Box" or "Transfer to local machine from Box" according to your needs, either saving local storage space or allowing for offline-use.
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