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Billee-yons and Billee-yons of Gigabytes

There's an article that talks about how much data we'll be archiving in the coming years. The estimate is that the private sector will need to archive over 27,000PB or 27 billee-yon GB!

That's a lot of copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica!

We all know storage needs are growing. Any administrator that needs to plan for expansion or any developer that struggles to re-tune applications that used to run fine before the data doubles realizes that this is an issue. However the decisions about what to do aren't that easy to solve.

I see lots of people moving to SANs and other centralized storage. However that gets expensive and you end up with many storage administrators wanting to force the data owners to prune their data, remove duplicates, etc. and keep growth to reasonable levels. Plus that's a big budget item when you need a 2nd or 3rd SAN.

Putting the onus on the data owners makes sense, but that's not their job. Often the people that use the data, especially when it's email, have other jobs to do. They don't want to do "housekeeping" tasks like pruning their email box or deciding how much data remains in a database. And if I owned a business, I'm not sure I want salespeople spending their time doing that; I want them selling!

Disks are cheaper all the time, though I'm not sure the price of storage is falling at anywhere near the growth rate. I expect that we all are more likely to act as pack rats and keep more data around because the cost appears to be cheap and we have so much storage around. 1TB on a notebook isn't a surprise and it's probably less than two years before that's a standard.

I'm not sure if storage management will become an increasingly important job over time with advances in search, tremendous storage capacities, and perhaps even smart agents that can decide what is worth pruning and what isn't. I just know that categorization and classification of data, especially files, will become more and more important over time. Search is always improving, but it still seems we're a long way from intelligent searching that can divine what exactly I'm looking for.

Keywords just don't do it anymore.

Steve Jones


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