In March this year, the issue of storage in the zettabyte era was tackled in the CeBIT exhibit and conference in Hannover, Germany. The said issue became a hot topic because of the fact that the world is now dealing with not just several gigabytes of data, but a whole zettabyte of them. Nowadays, when we talk about data storage, we do not refer to just those that are in our individual systems; we now refer to data storage as a vast universe all its own. The cloud is responsible for changing our concept of keeping sensitive and important information.
As businesses are now busy going digital, and as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data continue to make a big splash, it is undeniable that we have now entered the “zettabyte era”. In fact, in a survey currently being carried out by Cisco, it was suggested that the annual global IP traffic will surpass one billion terabytes (or one zettabyte) and that, by 2019, this figure might double. This is the biggest reason why enterprises need to speed up their digital transition and focus on beefing up their storage infrastructure.
The Importance of Data
Whether you run a large enterprise or a small and medium business, data is an essential aspect of your entire system. It is as important as your basic necessities (food, water and clothing) as an individual. Without data, your enterprise won’t function normally; it will have a difficult time finding its way through the business maze. This is the reason why a lot of enterprises have decided to create their own data centers.
In the past, we had disc data storage options like the CD-ROM, which had 2352 byte chunks. This was followed by the DVD that could store up to 4.78GB of data, while its double-sided and double-layered version could store up to 17GB. Then came the Blu-Ray, which could store anywhere from 25GB to 50GB of data. The first data storage type we had, however, was the punch card, which came out in 1745. It was followed by other devices like the magnetic tape, cassette tape, removable hard drive, the punched tape and the floppy disk. In 2007, an MIT student introduced the world to the cloud, and the story of storage has never been the same again.
With the entry of the cloud, along with IoT and Big Data, it has become possible for enterprises to store large amounts of data without the need to provide a physical location for the files. Basically, since everything is now connected in the virtual world, keeping digital information secure has become easier for many.
Then again, as we are now entering the era where we have more digital information than we can handle, problems can arise in terms of storage. Keep in mind that when you say zettabyte, you are pertaining to data by the billion, so that’s way more than the data that we had some two or three years ago. So, in simple terms, it is possible that the world will soon run out of storage space.
Again, data is essential! Without data, our enterprises and organizations won’t succeed. Thus, before anything else, it is important to find solutions to possible storage problems before the zettabyte era completely embraces the entire IT industry.
The Digital Shift
Before this can happen, however, organizations need to come up with a decision regarding digitization. Even today, when we’re dealing with zettabytes, there are still companies that have not yet shifted to the current digital management infrastructure. Unless these companies acknowledge and take advantage of the benefits of digitization, they will not be able to properly collect, store, and organize their most valuable data.
Although there are already enterprises that have embraced the IoT and Big Data, there are still quite a number of businesses that do not recognize and make use of the data contained in these environments.
One of the reasons for this is the hesitation of some companies – digitization can mean additional expenses for the enterprise. Additionally, the task of retraining employees can be quite tasking, especially if they have been exposed for years to the traditional way of managing a business infrastructure. The digital business model is not really complicated and a lot of people will be able to adapt to it easily, though.
The bigger issue here, though, is data usage, which can be quite challenging. This includes the capability to identify which data is more beneficial for the enterprise, as well as which data is not as relevant and the company can therefore do away with.
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The real challenge is to find a way to keep zettabytes of data safe. Enterprises cannot just rely on the current backup options available. One can go back to multi-terabyte data centers or resort to using physical media, but these technologies may not work well. These can, however, be a part of a bigger solution.
Another possible option is to use cloud-based storage environments. These services are capable of handling and storing large data masses. Using this alternative is also seen as practical because expenses will be easier to predict and track.
If enterprises want to pass the zettabyte era storage test, they should be open to the possibility of expanding their options for their storage infrastructure, especially those that have yet to make the switch to digital infrastructure. A company that considers itself agile and technologically advanced should be flexible and welcome to changes intended to improve data security and storage capacity.
Hologram as a Store Device
Although no reports or studies have come out to prove its effectiveness and efficiency, work is ongoing in developing the hologram as a storage device, particularly for the zettabyte era. A one centimeter hologram storage is said to be capable of keeping 1TB of data.
Before enterprises can start working towards a storage solution for loads of zettabyte data, it is essential for them to first acknowledge the need to transform to a digital infrastructure. This is the first step to keeping billions of data secure.
Photo courtesy of ibmphoto24.