Life – at work and at home is all about risk. Risk based on information.

Problem is we have too much information – digital data, news, video and even analog.

Figure 1 — Your Data – Today you’re being asked to handle written/image data, analog content and digital information even more rapidly than ever. Selecting just the right information/data for the right decision is more of an art than science.
Source – IDC

There’s so much information available you grab it all figuring you’ll find the right kernel of brilliance… when you have the time. It’s getting worse instead of better.

Terrestrial Digital HDTV Antennas

The business solution has been network attached storage (NAS) and storage attached networks (SAN) to centralize data/content for internal sharing.

Great in theory, sucks in reality. We want to have the combined information stored somewhere so we can access the enterprise information but ours is unique, different, special. Trust it to storage somewhere else? No way!

At home it is worse.

People are increasingly installing networked storage for saving, using news, information, entertainment. In our household that means wired/wireless PCs (relatively easy) with NTI’s Shadow backup software installed on each, connection to the TV/stereo (real pain in the tush), and a pricey but big 1TB HD.

Four months ago we thought that would be the last home storage device we’d need.

Then the kid decided it was a cool idea to rip all of our CDs (about 1,000) and put them on the drive so he could rotate them through his MP3 player. Then he got a new highdef camcorder and combined the video with his smartphone stuff to produce content for MySpace and other social networking sites.

You have any idea how much storage 3 hours of worthless video eats up?

A lot!

His sister and mother are no better with their smartphones and TV shows they save… for later.

Over half of the 1TB has been sucked up with originals, HD movies they produced with the Ulead MovieFactory software and backups… lots of backups.

This is becoming the pattern, not the exception, in today’s digital home environment.

We’re producing data/content faster and throwing it into huge bit buckets… everywhere!

And our past is in danger of being left behind/lost because getting analog to digital is tough.

For example in the U.S. less than 10 percent of the records in the Library of Congress are digitized. Multiply that by content sitting in files in every country, every city/town, every business (including yours), every household and storage looks like a great business to be in.

It requires a little more than Dr. Emmett Brown’s (Christopher Lloyd) approach to bring together the past, present and future… “Unfortunately no, it requires something with a little more kick – plutonium.”

How big is the problem?

– the number of messages sent/received every day exceeds the population of the planet
– there are over 2.7 billion Google searches every month
– about 1.5 exabytes of unique new information will be generated worldwide this year
– more than 3000 new books are published daily
– new technical information is doubling every two years

The importance of data/content in our personal and professional lives is accelerating. As Dr. Brown said, “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious shit.”

We’re seeing it and it ain’t pretty.

Business and personal data/content creation (and copying) is increasing so rapidly according to IDC that by 2010 we’ll produce as much as 988 exabytes of information – all types. Put in perspective that’s a stack of papers that would reach to Pluto!

That means we’re (business and individuals) are going to be sucking up storage media of all types as fast as it can be produced.

Figure 2 –Storage Inflation – At home, at school, in the office or on the road personal and organizational data gathering, processing, saving, using is becoming job number one.
Source – IDC

This is a huge challenge for business people who are trying to find/use content to solve problems that don’t even exist yet with technologies that haven’t even been invented.

If that isn’t bad enough no one seems to be sweating the small stuff… you know security, privacy, data reliability, government compliance.

And that’s the good news…

Most of that stuff – according to IDC 70 percent – will be created by individuals.

To create all that stuff more and more people are using notebook rather than desktop systems.

And because people need to work hard and long at all of that creation – everywhere – SanDisk and others said a solid state drive (32GB) is the obvious answer.

Solid State Storage – You have to admit SanDisk’s little 32GB SSD unit that fits in a notebook’s HD slot has a lot of appeal. Rugged, low power consumption and sorta reminds you of your old Iomega Zip Discs. Only more expensive on the cost per GB basis.
Source — SanDisk

It’s more rugged, more power efficient, faster and heck just better than a HD.

Kinda reminds us of the old Iomega answer. We still have 20 Zip cartridges sitting on the shelf.

Using the SSD a road warrior will really be a warrior. With the notebook under his/her arm and a bandolier of SSDs they’ll look like Mexico’s Emiliano Zapata when they go through airport security.

Sounds like a good reason to wait for BD optical to get down to $10 for a 50GB disc. Safe, secure and cheaper than a $350 (OEM) SSD!

At home the problem is just as bad for the increasingly connected individual.

Men, women and kids alike are working the Internet. They’re creating, grabbing, sending/receiving and saving content.

Figure 3 — The Home Terabyte — People with 250GB HDs at home used to be real techies. Today 1TB NAS is almost becoming a starting point for storage of photos, records, videos, TV shows, music, etc.
Source – Coughlin Assoc

No wonder our kids have 500GB HD sitting by their notebooks as data buffers.

Tellywood shouldn’t be too worried. Most folks in the U.S. aren’t ready to download all of those ripped movies since the country ranks 20th in broadband deployment (behind Luxembourg)!

Instead folks are focusing on the personal content.

Figure 4 — It’s All About Me – While the MPAA and RIAA would like to paint every person with a computer as a major pirate, the truth is their stuff is almost of no importance to today’s home and family. It’s all about family moments, memories, contacts. If it’s on your HD and if it’s lost…big deal! Lose family photos or videos…huge loss!
Source – Harris Interactive

You know the stuff that is really important – photos, contacts, music, personal/family videos, family financial records and yes a little bit of office/school work.

A lot of younger folks like our kids have even abandon the “old” TV and radio. They’ve switched to what some call IPTV (it’s really video on demand) and online music. That not only sucks up more bandwidth but also storage.

People need to heed Emmett…”That reminds me, Marty. You better not hook up to the amplifier. There’s a slight possibility of overload.”

Fortunately, people are backing up/archiving the important stuff – family photos/videos.

Figure 5 — Digital Needs Storage – Digital content – photos, videos, documents, data – needs one thing…safe, reliable storage. Most people prefer storage they can manage, they can control rather than in “those data silos.”
Source – InfoTrends

CDs, DVDs, 2nd/3rd HDs are good solutions because you know where they are located… in your house!

People like Google, MS and a growing number of online service organizations are offering storage for hire as a smarter solution… somewhere! Sure like we’re going to trust they will protect our content from prying eyes and government subpoenas…

We’d rather give copies to our neighbor for safekeeping and we aren’t even on speaking terms.

The challenge is we’ve got a data/content time machine that has been build out of a DeLorean.

We’re producing original information – data and content – and storing it… somewhere, anywhere, everywhere without an efficient, effective filing/retrieval system.

Figure 6 — It’s There But – All digital content storage solutions change with time. They get bigger, faster, cheaper. The key is to understand where the specific data is at…and be able to access it. Intelligent Digital Asset Management (DAM) software should be a major concern.
Source – IDC

We’re not real worried because our HD, CD/DVD, USB flash drive storage is beyond help.

The kids are going to have to find information and content from both the past and the future when they are out there making decisions.

That’s going to require some serious metadata, automatic classification and structured access solutions.

But kids are terrifically creative and terribly optimistic. They believe Emmett when he says, “As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely 88mph the instant the lightning strikes the tower… everything will be fine”

Business and personal storage – all flavors – is going to be a huge business. Creating, sharing, enjoying content is no fun if you can’t save it… someplace.

The key is being able to access that stored information, data and content in a couple of years from yesterdays’ next generation storage solution.

Bet the kids that hacked the AACS keys in 6.5 days could do it. As Marty said… “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”