There's no question that the sudden death on June 25 of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, has caused the biggest Web traffic surge since the election of President Obama last November. It's truly a testament to the entertainer's great talent from people all over the world.
While all the surge talk has been about Web servers going nuts, not much has been written about the storage that has to handle all these new documents, most of which will be kept forever somewhere. We're not just talking about all the billions of text messages, e-mails, Facebook and Twitter messages, and the like. How about all the photos and YouTube videos of Jacko, plus all the affiliated videos being posted that he's not even in?
For example, videoposts of the "Origins of the Moonwalk" are becoming popular. Turns out the great Cab Calloway, Bill Bailey and other old-timers touched on doing a form of that dance move way back before television and the Web made such entertainment ubiquitous. (Thanks, Barbara Krasnoff.)
The point of this story: When a major news event happens, people who used to go directly to the radio or television are now first going to the Web to find out the facts and contact their friends and family members about it. We're a very interactive society; television offers only one-way communication, and only a minuscule amount of interaction (call-in talk shows) is available on radio. Everybody can speak and be heard on the Web; thus, it's now the news medium of choice.
Where in the past, television stations and networks and radio stations maintained their own storage files from program they created, everybody in the world who uses the Web is now creating content that needs to be stored.
Backstopping all of these newborn communication documents are millions of server and storage array clusters somewhere in the world that will keep most, if not all, of this in perpetuity. The biggest, busiest sites -- you know them as CNN, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, YouTube, MySpace, etc. -- are all probably ordering additional storage this weekend as a result of this one big news story. And if they are not, the colocation centers running their operations are on the phones to companies such as NetApp, 3PAR, Copan, EMC, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and many others.
The multiplication of all the world's stored digital documents is spiraling up at an incredible rate anyway; most industry analysts believe that a conservative estimate is about 60 percent per year.
There's no stopping this barrage of content. Our conclusion here today? Buy stock in data storage companies.