Tuesday, February 19, 2008

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS AND ... DATA STORAGE? A prolonged and convoluted analogy.
Mad Dog 21/21: Recovering Lost Prophets

Published: February 18, 2008

by Hesh Wiener (IT Jungle)

If you ask computer professionals who they thought were the leaders in data storage, chances are you'll hear names like IBM, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Network Appliances, and Hitachi. If you asked these storage companies, you might get a different list that included some outfits that were largely unknown in the end user world. But end users probably don't have to worry that they will miss out on some important new vendors. The Storage Establishment is buying up many of the emerging suppliers. This high-profile interest in the new crop of vendors makes all the contenders a lot more visible.

Still, the computer business is huge. It's possible that some of the storage system developers with the very best ideas will still for the most part be overlooked for a considerable time, like the caves of Qumran. Data recorded on parchment and other media sat in these caves for a couple thousand years until 1947, when a shepherd stumbled on some of the documents, beginning a process of archeological discovery that lasted about nine years and yielded several hundred items.


However the market unfolds, it seems likely that old and new vendors will be pushing larger and less costly arrays to satisfy what for now seems to be an unquenchable appetite for storage capacity across every industry sector and in every geographic region.

It points to what will be a necessary future development, perhaps the next big opportunity for storage system vendors: creating archival technology that can keep pace with services using gobs of online and nearline storage. It would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of tomorrow's storage systems and the information they will house. Somewhere in Bebo, Facebook, MySpace, or another social networking site there might or might not be some Web pages belonging to prophets, but it's a safe bet that those sites and their huge file libraries of will generate plenty of profits. And that says nothing about a related business that is expected to become pretty big, pretty fast, storage as a service delivered via the Internet, a business in which the storage device makers might also be the vendors. What is less certain than the prospects for the storage business is whether the information stored on these sites will be around in 2,000 years, and whether it might be a good thing if it's not.