The digital data revolution – top five storage predictions

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By Nik Stanbridge, VP Marketing, Arkivum.

The explosion of data isn't showing any signs of slowing down, so the need for more and more storage and archiving services just keeps growing. Here are our top five predictions for 2016:

1. Body cams are going to need a fair amount of storage. Oh yes.

Back in 1977 Junior Murvin sang about "Police and thieves in the street, oh yeah." Leaving aside the thieves for now, I think we will be seeing a lot more police on our streets in the coming year. And in this day and age they will more than likely be wearing a body camera and capturing hours and hours of video footage, which will need to be analysed and stored for a significant amount of time. Just in case.

The requirement will be for very large amounts of highly secure, incorruptible long-term storage. The judiciary will stand for nothing less. And of course because public money is involved, it will have to be economical.

2. Archiving as a Service (AaaS) - the benefits will become clear

In-house IT will 'let go' and realise that the benefits of outsourcing to specialty archive storage providers will far outweigh concerns about security, access and control. IT will be happy not to have to worry about buying too much storage too early, or being caught short with not enough. They'll realise that predictable costs and outsourcing resource-intensive headaches like upgrades and system migration will make a lot of sense. The clue is in the name... 'service'. Using a managed service, as in-house IT departments already do for so many other services, will be a burden removed.

3. Data archiving will cease to be confused with data backup

Only kidding. Some organisations will understand but many will continue to be confused. Inadequate backup and archive strategies will still be commonplace. And who can blame them? Old school backup is easy, it works and requires little thought. The problem is it's also hideously expensive. Organisations are backing up data that stopped changing months or even years ago. The real prediction here is that people will wake up to the fact that addressing the way they do backup is a way to save money. Reducing the amount of data in the backup window is a quick win. If you have data that's stopped changing, the golden rule is get it out of the backup window!

4. New kit is outstripping old storage capacities

Shiny new scientific kit, for example for digital pathology sample analysis, is getting cheaper which means that clinical testing is also becoming cheaper. The net result is that these tests are being used more and more frequently, which means that the volumes of data are increasing. Yes, we've heard this before... Big Data blah blah blah. However, mark my words, in 2016 existing storage infrastructure will burst at the seams. IT will wake up with the mother of all storage headaches and it will require some soul-searching to work out what to do. See my earlier points - they're going to have to let go and entrust the storage of vast amounts of data to specialist providers.

5. Digital preservation will require ultra-reliable storage

Digital preservation (especially in so-called 'memory institutions') is going to hit the big time and this will be good news for storage providers. Every file that has to be digitally preserved will be converted to a range of formats, including those that one hopes will still be in use for some time into the future. And each file format conversion creates another copy of the file that needs to be stored. I've written a lot about digital preservation and I support many digital preservation efforts and initiatives. Vendors will need to be ready to provide economical storage that scales and is designed for the long-term. One of the fundamental tenets of digital preservation is that it's for the long-term. Digital archivists are a choosy bunch and will know a good long-term storage solution when they see one.

Data has become an obsession for both the consumer and businesses alike, as we all work to understand how to make best use of it, and how to manage, analyse and store it. With the rise of the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything, big data and personal data, there will be a huge and fundamental shift. And as we start to make things intelligent, this will become a major engine for creating new products and new services. It will also create a hell of a lot of data, which in turn will need to be stored and archived. In fact, I would go so far as to say that data is set to create the next revolution, a revolution that will be even bigger than mobile, which has arguably been the biggest disrupter of the last decade.

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