Big data gets bigger

Jason Beeson, Commercial Director at Hammer, looks at how the changing volumes - and types - of data will impact the storage sector.

After the Iron Age and Industrial Age, we are now well into the Information Age. Global economies are shifting from those based on activities inspired by the Industrial Revolution to those built on information and computerisation. Whereas machines and muscle were the keystones of success, now it's compute and connect. We are, as a result, being deluged with data.

Which is good. Data - information - is the bedrock on which modern business success is based; the foundation of a knowledge-based economy. The more data we have - the more information - the better the decisions we take and the better the projections we make.

It's little wonder we are experiencing a data explosion. Some 90% of all the data that exists today has been created in the past two years. By 2020, about 1.7MB of new information will be created every second for every human on the planet. By then, our accumulated digital universe of data will grow from 4.4ZB today to around 44ZB, or 44 trillion GB; that's almost as many digital bits as there are stars in the universe.

Let's put that into perspective. If all the words ever spoken where digitised as 16kHz 16-bit audio, it would require 42ZB of capacity to store it all. That's the volume of data we are talking about.

This data is created from a variety of sources; sensors, social media, e-commerce, mobile phones and so on, in fact, anything that is connected to the internet. This is big data - and it's only going to get even bigger.

What is truly amazing is that less than 0.5% of all this stored data is ever analysed and used to its maximum effect. That's where the opportunities lie, not just for the businesses who own the data to better understand customer behaviour and preferences, but also for those who operate in the data storage sector. This is a business growth bonanza; according to IDC, this rapid data generation is outpacing storage, which comes as no surprise.

It means data centres will continue to increase in both number and size. IBM, for example, has announced it is to triple its UK-based cloud data centre capacity. This is likely to be intensified as the demand for storage comes not just from the simple growth in raw data, but from that data being increasingly structured, i.e., sorted and segmented for analysis.

According to the Worldwide Semi-annual Big Data and Analytics Spending Guide from IDC, worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics will grow from $130.1 billion in 2016 to more than $203 billion in 2020.

This need to store growing volumes of data is being met in part by the drive manufacturers who are pumping cash into R&D and creating HDDs and SSDs with higher capacity. WD and Seagate now offer a 10TB HDD and Seagate a 60TB SSD. The networks, too, are evolving with Mellanox, Dell, Huawei and QLogic all offering 100Gb/s Ethernet connectivity. In fact, Mellanox has recently announced Connect X6 adapters which support 200GbE, although they are still to become generally available.

Data centre designers are also focusing on streamlining centres with lower carbon footprints and greater energy efficiency. Many are aiming for a PUE (power usage efficiency) rating of less than 1.5.

Clearly the winners in this information explosion will be those who facilitate the capture and collation, dissection and dissemination of data to the greatest effect. Hammer, the award-winning distributor with 25 years' experience in providing storage, server and networking solutions is well-placed to work with, and advise, those for whom data storage is mission critical.

Source: Storage Magazine
Published Date: 16/03/2017

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