Can Business Continuity Handle Unfettered Data Growth?

Analysts believe that following the current recession, an unprecedented period of data growth is going to occur beginning in 2011. Can today's BC products and services handle the coming deluge? Indications are that the technology can do the job, but will people be able to shoulder the load?

Keeping an enterprise IT system running on a daily basis certainly has its multiple challenges. Ensuring that the enterprise can rebound quickly and resume business in the event of a natural disaster, power outage, terrorist or hacker attack, or other unplanned incident is equally important in this day of real-time Internet business.
But there's a new problem for IT managers that will be impacting enterprises in the near future. A deluge of new data -- much larger than most people realize -- is being created, and most of it will be business-oriented. Researchers IDC, Gartner Group, Forrester Research, The 451 Group and others have all predicted a huge glut of new digital data that will need to be stored and protected by BC systems.
We're talking about many exabytes [an exabyte is equal to 1,000 petabytes] of storage. Multiple thousands of exabytes are expected to be created by individuals and companies from every corner of the planet, thanks largely to the proliferation of inexpensive handheld digital devices and videocams.
This storm of data, in turn, is predicated on the swift growth and subsequent workload processing and storage of high-resolution video, surveillance video, financial and health records, scientific data, high-end video games, and high-resolution photos and graphics.
Can BC products and services handle this? Certainly the technology itself is improving almost daily, thanks largely to increasing use of virtualization, deduplication and thin-provisioning methods to keep only the important data and winnow out the chaff. Increased areal density of both hard disk drives and NAND flash solid-state memory are also playing important roles.
Better data center management tools and services also are coming into the market, from a slew of companies that include CA, BMC, Symantec, Dell MessageOne, Hewlett-Packard, Clearview, and Continuity Software.
Despite this, the main issues yet to be solved in the BC world are human-related, such as imagining what the problems might be, planning how to solve them, and implementing final deployments.
Author/researcher Michael Croy of the Forsythe Solutions Group consultancy noted the following:
--Nearly one-third of current businesses that suffer a major IT disaster go out of business within two to four months.
--Two-thirds of mid- to large-sized companies have experienced from one to 24 hours of unplanned down time, with an average cost per incident of $3 million.
--Two-thirds of U.S. companies say it would take days to weeks to recover from a significant business interruption.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...