Adding Storage is Part
of the Game"> "My favorite new research number: Twenty-two percent of male Americans 18 to 49 play fantasy sports," Thomas said. Again, thats not counting a whole lot of boys in the 6-to-18-year age range. And dont forget women and girls; they also are getting involved.A ton of on-demand data to storeThats a lot of data to store and make available 24/7 on the Web, and sites like Yahoo and others are hesitant to say exactly how much it actually is. "Even if we knew how much fantasy football data we are storing, I dont know that I could tell you anyway," said Yahoo sports spokesman Dan Berger. "The amount of data per person entered into our system is an interesting question; I dont think Ive been asked that before." Web-only businesses face storage challenge. Click here to read more. Its not that much per userprobably only a few kilobytes. Pages with photos and logos (player profiles, team pages, etc.) that take up most of the digital storage are reused millions of times by the Web servers and not duplicated. Berger said that Yahoo has added features, leading to more data. "We have kept each players history in our serversall the games or matches, all the stats, everything theyve done online, so that they can have much more information available to them. Weve had all the back-end data kept in storage, but we didnt have a front-end use for it until now. "Now, for example, if you and I were in the same league, you could find out your personal record against my team, and against other guys were playing with, and so on. You can see how individual players performed against my team. It lets users go much deeper into the game," Berger said. Still, the amount of data flowing through the Web and into the Yahoo.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, and CBSSportsLine.com server farms is substantial. Adding storage a routine activity The farmspopulated with servers from EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Network Appliance, Rackable, BlueArc and othersapparently are up to the task, for the time being, anyway. Online sites like these often have to add to their storage server farms; the chief technology officer of eHarmony.com, for example, told eWEEK recently that the online matchmaking site has to buy additional storage about every 90 days for its 8 million registered members and the 9 million photos it keeps. Each of the sites noted in this story has at least hundreds of terabytes of data storage, spread out in locations all over the country [which are kept confidential] and made available by mostly Apache-run Web servers that grind away night and day, stacked in rackfarms in literally thousands of boxes. Google, for example, has been estimated to be using 450,000 Web servers located all over the worldincluding a new, super farm being built near Dalles, Ore., about equal to the size of two football fields. Yahoo, ESPN.com and the others have similar huge hardware investments. "We do know the traffic is huge," Berger said. "We had 6.5 million registered users in September 2005 for all fantasy sports4.5 million for football alone, the highest participation number in the business [according to Internet information provider comScore Networks of Reston, Va.]." The NCAA basketball championships and Major League Baseball are right behind the NFL in participatory online sports gaming. "Were finding that people cant get enough of this," said Aaron LaBerge, ESPNs vice president of technology. "People are getting with nine or 10 other people and spending an hour and practicing different draft strategies." LaBerge said ESPN is considering merging fantasy leagues with video games so that participants can use their TV remotes to start players, change lineups and make trades. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.