Storage systems are working without a safety net

Say storage and people immediately think of a hard or flash drive…tape…optical media.

In other words, bit buckets to hold your digital stuff. Until that inevitable fateful day. Like ours…

First, the 2TB drive on your office server won’t boot up. It’s dead. Ten skilled people sit on their hands, wondering how they’re going to meet their deadlines. Then your daughter’s notebook hard drive dies with all of her music, photos, videos, school work and whatever. This IS a real crisis!

Suddenly, you’re really glad:

Storage products are downright cheap today

You have backup and extra backup for the backup and a backup…

You have a friend who knows systems inside and out who is willing to come to the office on a moment’s notice

You have a son who loves to open every system in the house to constantly “improve their performance”

Even with a big box store only three blocks away, it took two hours (and a $200 drive) to get the server unit spinning again. Reloading the OS, apps, settings and work files from the primary backup took another couple of hours. The time wasn’t totally wasted. While we put off upgrading most of the office systems and notebooks (sorry Intel), we had storage coming out of our ears”

HD in each computer

At least one encrypted portable HD

A load of USB drives (encrypted)

CD/DVD copies of static, archived material

Rapid Growth

IDC analysts aren’t kidding when they say the digital universe doubles every 18 months. They also estimate that 85 per cent of all data resides in the business domain. At home, the computer storage picture is similar. Of course, the kids also have storage on all of their other devices too … you know, iPhone, iPod, camera, game system.

IDC notes that over the next four years, information storage requirements will grow six-fold. Most of that volume will be captured, copied, mashed up, replicated and duplicated. Original content is probably even less than one-sixth of what is stored. The rest is like an iceberg.

To reduce storing copies you can link to a document, research, video, photos but why do it? Cripes, grabbing a copy and putting it on your own system, on your USB drive, on your other media and maybe even throwing it up into cloud storage – somewhere – is so much easier. And if you forget where you stored it … grab another copy. At home, the server is just as useful as it is in the office. Everyone has his/her storage plus the central 2TB unit (did we say drives are cheap today?).

Be a Hero

But when your daughter comes into your home office with her lower lip quivering and tears welling up in her eyes, you know multiple storage devices are worth the expense. Every dad wants to look like a hero to his little girl. Family storage requirements grow in leaps and bounds because of the volume of professional and amateur content that everyone is creating, producing and making available.

According to Parks Associates, just the family’s storage requirements alone for music, video, photos is going to double over the next two years … believe it.

The problem is, most people don’t have a safety net for their content storage device.

Will the storage be reliable and constantly available? You’re entitled to that, right?

Folks absolutely need the most compact storage size, highest capacity, best performance and the lowest price period for their computer storage.

Then, of course, they also want their storage to be feather-light, whisper-quiet, robust enough for “normal’ handling, very power conservative (green).

The challenge, according to TDG research, is that:

16.4 per cent of home system users never backup

37.8 per cent backup a couple of times a year

20.6 per cent backup once a month

11.3 per cent backup once a week

7.3 per cent back up several times a week or once a day

6.6 per cent didn’t have a clue

WXPNews studied back up and found that:

33.5 per cent backup everything including system files

28.6 per cent selected important files

37.9 per cent all user data

How and where do they save the data?

48.4 per cent use third-party programs

26.5 per cent backup manually

68.1 per cent backup to CD, DVD or external HD

3.5 per cent to somewhere in the cloud

Solution(s), Not Solution

There’s no single or right storage solution. In fact, the more options you use, the more certain you are that your content will survive to be shared with others–even after you’ve completed your bucket list.

If you project your family’s content storage requirements over the next couple of years, you can easily see you’re going to be adding devices on a pretty regular basis.

Since most of the stuff you store is really inactive data (you know the content you access once every three – six months. In fact, after 90 days, you probably won’t look at the content more than once a year — or so – no matter if it’s business data or personal files.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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