Subduing the data storage growth monster with object

future-dataHave you ever seen the movie, Pacific Rim? As a fan of Guillermo del Toro and of science fiction in general, the movie was right up my alley. And with a 72% from Rotten Tomatoes, I am not alone. But what does this movie have to do with information technology and/or enterprise data storage? Hang on a second and I will get to that, but first let me set the stage for any reader who hasn’t seen the movie.

In Pacific Rim, the Earth is under siege by giant monsters, like Godzilla’s-big-brother-sized monsters, and these monsters are emerging from a dimensional rift deep in the Pacific Ocean, hence the name. Humans of course have two competing strategies to stop the monsters: One faction wants to build a wall and hide, while another faction (the one of our heroes) wants to build technical monsters of their own to take the fight to these alien invaders. Hollywood fight scenes and special effects ensue with—spoiler alert—the good guys winning the end. 

Now, here is where I tie this back to enterprise storage. In the movie, the problem is that the monsters, despite being already huge, keep getting bigger, and bigger, after each wave to no end. The human faction that supports building the wall falls into the trap of architecting a solution to protect against the size of the monsters seen in the previous wave, planning for history not for the future. The challenge wasn’t recognizing that the monsters had grown; it was a disbelief in future growth. After seeing the massive sizes that the monsters had already achieved, individuals believed that they couldn’t possibly get any bigger. Now you might start see the data storage analogy.

The massive levels of data growth seen in information technology is not really news; however, a number of organizations still believe that the old way of storage technology can scale to meet their storage needs in the long term. When, in reality, the requirement to adopt a different solution to handle massive capacity storage is a “when,” rather than an “if.” Data storage growth is not going to stop. It wasn’t long ago that storage providers where talking about their first petabyte customer; now, organizations, such as EMC a few weeks ago at EMC World, are talking about their first exabyte customer. The content monsters of today are  orders of magnitude larger than the content monsters of just four or five years ago.

One technology, object storage, is designed to handle these massive content storage environments. Our research here at ESG, however, is still showing that many organizations are not educated on, or in some cases aware of, object storage. Some of the lack of education is due to who is doing the talking, as some of the larger storage vendors have only recently started talking object, but it doesn’t change the message. Data growth isn’t stopping or slowing down anytime soon. Design your data center to tame the data growth monster of the future, not just the one you are facing today.

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Topics: Storage