Our data is growing exponentially. By 2015 an estimated total of 7.9ZB will be getting stored of which 2.37ZB will have been created by Enterprises but with a total of 6.32ZB of our data managed by the Enterprise. By 2020 35ZB of data will be in existence of which 28ZB will be managed by Enterprises and 10.5ZB of that data will have been created by Enterprises. But what is a Zettabyte? It’s 1,000,000,000,000 Gigabytes of data.
This growth of Enterprise data is coming from the billions of transactions we make in our everyday lives. Big data is building up a marketing profile of our lifestyles all in the name of selling us stuff. Of course it’s not all about sales; more information is being collected in other fields as we strive to increase our knowledge.
For some, it makes for interesting philosophical discussion on where will all this data gathering end and is it really of value and at what point do we start deleting it if we ever do. But there are more practical issues at hand for small and medium sized businesses. The cost of storing data has undoubtedly dropped but it is still a considerable cost buying storage kit from the likes of HP, Dell, IBM, EMC and Oracle. There are steps an organisation can take to tackle excessive data growth and minimise its costs.
Outsourcing email and messaging to a SaaS provider removes the burden of archiving company emails and the required storage and backup. When coupled with the reduced IT management requirements of having to administer mail servers it’s a very attractive cost proposition. Google Apps for Business has made serious in roads to this marketplace in recent years but there are other vendors out there with Zoho Mail worth a mention. Microsoft 365 is likely to make a big impact in this market with its early 2013 release, previously its reticence to deliver a SaaS offering for email was probably in part due to its fear of cannibalising its Microsoft Exchange server sales.
Often when a team works on a project they can generate a large number of files as they all contribute work. The finished project often combines the contents of those files into either a joint presentation or delivered product such as architectural plans. Staff on closing down a project should have protocols that allow them to look for duplicated files and non-essential files and delete them if unnecessary.
If you work with large images and video files review what needs to be kept for archiving purposes. If the images and video landed up on the cutting room floor metaphorically then it’s unlikely they will ever be used again and can be dumped.
Once a project has been cleared out of unnecessary files implement a compression and archiving procedure on the project folder. There are easy to use open source tools available to compress folders and files into a wide range of formats with 7-Zip being one of the best known and feature complete available.
If you’ve implemented a clear out policy and you are still running out of storage space consider the option of moving your storage into the cloud. There are excellent data storage plans available from cloud suppliers such as Memset, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Dropbox. The unit pricing of storage plans is falling, set against rising prices of electricity for running an in-house energy hungry data storage stack. The tools to allow you cloud management of your storage are rapidly evolving with more features than most small and medium sized businesses require.
Before jumping into the cloud review the small print of your potential suppliers. Work-out a strategy such as cloud mirroring to guarantee access you will always have access to your data. Estimate future usage so you can calculate estimated future prices. As suggested by Memset an important factor in planning for greater data storage efficiency is Analysis and Prediction of current usage and understanding future business development.