Storage seen as next battleground for competitive edge

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While largely viewed as boring and ?unsexy? compared to other areas of ICT, storage is slowly becoming as the next frontier for building competitive advantage, according to analyst firm IDC and tech titan IBM.

Rajnish Arora, IDC associate vice president for enterprise computing

In a recent forum on storage trends and technologies at the Manila Peninsula Hotel, IDC associate vice president for enterprise computing Rajnish Arora said the emergence of so-called megatrends in ICT ? mobile, social media, cloud, and Big Data ? has made storage more important than ever.

?These mega-trends have caused the explosion of data for the mobile generation,? said Arora, noting that storage is the central area where the multi-billion opportunity for data analytics will be played out.

Arora said everything done by the do-it-yourself generation will revolve entirely on these megatrends, with data centers performing a crucial role in success or downfall of a business.

?Storage will be the cornerstone of all cloud and converged system discussions,? Arora pointed out.

The IDC exec said data growth in the past years has been ?mindboggling?, with data doubling every two years. In 2010, 2.8 zetabytes of data were created, he said. In 2020, it is expected that 40 zetabytes of data will be generated.

One factor that has driven the growth of data is process automation, according to Arora. However, he said it is important for the storage sector to give businesses the ability to leverage these data to build their competitive advantage.

?We always just add capacity for our storage needs. But this is just postponing problem and not actually solving the problem,? he said. ?Why don?t we just add capability instead? It seems that the storage market is growing, but not developing fast enough.?

However, IBM Asean business unit executive for storage Ong Chee Beng said Big Blue already offers ?smarter storage? solutions that have built-in mechanisms that analyze data patterns and leverage Big Data on the fly.

?But, in order to fully utilize these capabilities, the Philippines could perhaps develop more IT professionals with skills on data analytics,? said Ong, noting that businesses in other countries have already created the post of ?data scientist?.

The executive said IBM has a long history of storage innovations that has allowed the company to predict and address the demands of the industry.

In 1952, IBM designed and built the world?s first magnetic tape unit, enabling companies to migrate their data from punch cards to the magnetic tape. This was followed the invention of the world?s first computer disk storage system in 1956, and the world?s first floppy disk in 1971.

IBM said it is now focusing on new game-changing technologies ? Flash and Real-Time Compression (RTC).

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