Industry trend: People plus data are aging and living longer

August 4, 2011 – 2:09 pm

Lets face it, people and information are living longer and thus there are more of each along with a strong interdependency by both.

People living and data being retained longer should not be a surprise, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. There is no such thing as an information recession with more data being generated, processed, moved and stored for longer periods of time not to mention that a data object is also getting larger.

Industry trend and performance

By data objects getting larger, think about a digital photo taken on a typical camera ten years ago which whose resolution was lower and thus its file size would have been measured in kilo bytes (thousands). Today megapixel resolutions are common from cell phones, smart phones, PDAs and even larger with more robust digital and high definition (HD) still and video cameras. This means that a photo of the same object that resulted in a file of hundreds of Kbytes ten years ago would be measured in Megabytes today. With three dimensional (3D) cameras appearing along with higher resolution, you do not need to be a rocket scientist or industry pundit to figure out what that growth trend trajectory looks like.

More people exist today than in the past

However it is not just the size of the data that is getting larger, there are also more instances along with copies of those files, photos, videos and other objects being created, stored and retained. Similar to data, there are more people now than ten years ago and some of those have also grown larger, or at least around the waistline. This means that more people are creating and relying on larger amounts of information being available or accessible when and where needed. As people grow older, the amount of data that they generate will naturally increase as will the information that they consume and rely upon.

Where things get interesting is that looking back in history, that is more than ten or even a hundred years, the trend is that there are more people, they are living longer, and they are generating larger amounts of data that is taking on new value or meaning. Heck you can even go back from hundreds to thousands of years and see early forms of data archiving and storage with drawings on walls of caves or other venues. I Wonder if had the cost (and ease of use) to store and keep data had been lower back than would there have been more information saved? Or was it a case of being too difficult to use the then state of art data and information storage medium combined with limited capacities so they simply ran out of storage and retention mediums (e.g. walls and ceilings)?

Lets come back to the current for a moment which is another trend of data that in the past would have been kept offline or best case near line due to cost and limits or constraints are finding their way online either in public or private venues (or clouds if you prefer).

Thus the trend of expanding data life cycles with some types of data being kept online or readily accessible as its value is discovered.

Evolving data life cycle and access patterns

Here is an easy test, think of something that you may have googled or searched for a year or two ago that either could not be found or was very difficult to find. Now take that same search or topic query and see if anything appears and if it does, how many instances of it appear. Now make a note to do the same test again in a year or even six months and compare the results.

Now back to the future however with an eye to the past and things get even more interesting in that some researchers are saying that in centuries to come, we should expect to see more people not only living into their hundreds, however even longer. This follows the trend of the average life expectancy of people continues to increase over decades and centuries.

What if people start to live hundreds of years or even longer, what about the information they will generate and rely upon and its later life cycle or span?

More information and data

Here is a link to a post where a researcher sees that very far down the road, people could live to be a thousand years old which brings up the question, what about all the data they generate and rely upon during their lifetime.

Ok, now back to the 21st century and it is safe to say that there will be more data and information to process, move, store and keep for longer periods of time in a cost effective way. This means applying data footprint reduction (DFR) such as archiving, backup and data protection modernization, compression, consolidation where possible, dedupe and data management including deletion where applicable along with other techniques and technologies combined with best practices.

Will you out live your data, or will your data survive you?

These are among other things to ponder while you enjoy your summer (northern hemisphere) vacation sitting on a beach or pool side enjoying a cool beverage perhaps gazing at the passing clouds reflecting on all things great and small.

Clouds: Dont be scared, however look before you leap and be prepared

Ok, nuff said for now.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

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