It’s Official: There’s Too Much Information
Posted by Ben Worthen
We’ve hit information overload: The amount of data people create now exceeds the amount of space available to store them.
Soon, this will be businesses.
People sent emails, took digital pictures, processed credit cards and generally did things that collectively created 281 exabytes of data by the end 2007, according to the research company IDC. (“Exabyte” sounds made up, but it’s a real term meaning 1,000,000,000,000 megabytes.) IDC also added up all the computer drives, backup tapes, CDs, DVDs, memory sticks and other devices that store data and estimated that their total capacity is only 264 exabtyes.
There aren’t data just drifting in the ether somewhere. A lot of the data that get created—say, an Internet phone call–never get stored. Other data get erased or recorded over. It’s the digital equivalent of a conversation going in one ear and out the other. But for the first time in human history, we couldn’t save all this information if we wanted to, according to IDC.
Businesses are contributing to the data crunch. Wal-Mart, for example, adds a billion rows of data to its data warehouse every hour. But IDC estimates that 70% of the world’s data are created by individuals, either in their role as workers or private citizens. The information is stored on their computers or on other devices they control, not in the company data center.
But don’t think that leaves businesses off the hook. Finding a way to store these data should be the last thing they are worried about, Dave Reinsel, an analyst at IDC tells the Business Technology Blog. The real concerns are liability, security, privacy and similar issues related to how the data get used. Just because data are on a worker’s computer doesn’t mean the company isn’t responsible if they are stolen or lost. In fact, the data are probably more at risk because they can’t be managed centrally. Furthermore, a business can be sued these days just because someone posts a YouTube video set in your subway system.
If businesses don’t start thinking about how they will manage all the data flowing in and out of their organizations “they could become large sink holes,” Reinsel says.
Photo: Hodgers via Flickr
Article printed from Business Technology: http://blogs.wsj.com/biztech
URL to article: http://blogs.wsj.com/biztech/2008/03...h-information/