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Are Business Intelligence Efforts Resulting in Us Running Out of Data Storage Capacity?

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Nari Kannan: The Economist in its latest issue on Data Deluge, has a very interesting
graph on data created versus storage capability right here

So are Business Intelligence efforts resulting in us running out of Data Storage capacity? Or is this something that periodically pops up and new storage technologies rise to meet the challenge?

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  • I don't think we need to be worried about "peak storage". The need for more data storage capacity will encourage investments into new technologies. We've seen this movie before.

  • I agree that we may have seen this movie before, but I think there is increasing pressure in the opposite direction: get rid of the 30% or so redundancy factor and take advantage of existing technologies.

  • As we all know, business intelligence and analytics (whether IT, web, or mobile) are important imperatives for today’s businesses. BI initiatives in and of themselves are not necessarily taxing storage capacity, rather it’s the need to apply BI efforts across an ever increasing volume and diverse range of data sources. Businesses now have to collect and integrate more data into relational databases than ever before – everything from transaction and event data to information generated by mobile devices, online, etc. The data surge is not going to subside anytime soon, and will continue to put strains on storage capacity. To help this, database vendors are now adding deep compression capabilities, in some cases compressing data to be stored by a factor of 50 percent or more. These kinds of innovations can go a long way in helping companies extend the life of their available storage, and as a result, support BI initiatives that capitalize on numerous sources of data.

  • The Economist graph is very interesting - it is intriguing to see the quantification of 'Information created' in Exabytes of storage.

    Coming to the specific question, I don't think we need to worry about data storage capacity. It is a fact that data volumes are expanding at a rapid pace but so too are techniques to optimize storage - be it the cheap commodity hardware based server farms or the amazing compression techniques aided by new database architectures like columnar storage.

    What is scary though is the ability to exchange and interpret the vast amount of data / information present in these repositories. Any system throughput is solely dependent on the weakest link and storage capacity is definitely not the weakest link in the information delivery value chain.

    Let's flip channels and watch a new 'movie'.

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