Storage Breakthroughs Nip at -Digital Dark Age'

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Storage Breakthroughs Nip at -Digital Dark Age'

The volume of digital data will grow to 2.7 zettabytes in 2012, up 48 percent from 2011. Still, digital storage often can be more perishable than paper. Disks corrode, bits rot and hardware becomes obsolete, all of which could create a Digital Dark Age, where digital storage techniques and formats created today quickly become antiquated. The floppy disk is a good example. But storage mediums can be much denser, solid state disks offer more stable longer-term preservation of data, and the cloud allows access to data anywhere, anytime. Recently, IBM researchers unveiled Racetrack memory, which could lead to a new type of data-centric computing that allows massive amounts of stored data to be accessed in less than a billionth of a second.

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Data Curation

The world now can preserve the digital universe; the challenge is making it useful. The next step beyond data preservation is data curation-the ongoing management of data through its lifecycle, IBM officials say. This will add value to data that will help businesses glean new opportunities, improve information sharing and preserve data for reuse. IBM officials point to social media sites such as Facebook and Google+ as examples of the power of curated data, compiling the digital lives of users and giving them a platform to organize their content. But theres a lot of work involved in selecting, appraising and organizing data. If data can be stored in a way that provides context, organizations can find new and useful ways to use that data.

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Storage Analytics

Analytics will help turn curated data into intelligence and knowledge. Historical trending analytics and infrastructure analytics lets businesses index and search in a more intelligent way, and analytics on stored data can give businesses insight. IBM officials point to their Watson technology for health care as an example. Watson collects data from many sources and can analyze the meaning and context. By processing vast amounts of information and using analytics, it can suggest options targeted to a patient's circumstances, including giving doctors and nurses the most likely diagnosis and treatment options.

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Storage in the Spotlight

Hollywood is known for its big-budget blockbusters, but its the big storage demands required by new formats such as digital, CGI, 3D and high definition thats impacting the studios ability to produce these types of movies. Data sets for movies are at the petabyte level, and the popularity of such formats means studios are looking for new storage technologies. The health care industry is facing an even bigger data dilemma. A genetic study at The Institute University of Leipzig, in Germany, can generate multiple terabytes of data. A 300-bed hospital may generate 30 terabytes of data per year. Higher-resolution medical imaging and making electronic health care records available online will grow the demand.

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The Data Hoarder

In the era of big data, more is not always better, especially when every byte of data costs money. Businesses are becoming data hoarders, spending too much time and money collecting useless or bad data that can lead to misguided business decisions. Simple policy decisions and existing storage technologies can change this, but companies are hesitant to delete any data-or duplicate data-for fear of needing specific data down the line. Part of the solution is deleting copies, lowering costs. The outdated data can also be accessed for fraud.

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