There’s a radical transformation happening in information technology today, one that promises to be every bit as significant—and every bit as disruptive to existing business models—as were Web applications in the 1990s and virtualization in the first decade of the 21st century. It’s a foundational change in the way enterprises, their employees, and their customers manage, share, and secure the staggering amounts of data that pass through their hands every day. It will make data available at higher speeds, on more massive scales and at lower costs that anyone could have imagined even a few years ago. It’s Storage 3.0, and it’s happening right now.
The big story in IT today is “big data”—the almost inconceivable volumes of digital information created and delivered by sensors, financial transactions, video surveillance, Web logs, animation studios, genomics, online gaming networks and a literally unlimited number of other sources. It’s the inevitable but still breathtaking extension of Moore’s Law: There’s more of everything now, on corporate networks, on home computers and on mobile devices. More data is being produced by more endpoints, and the data that’s being produced, like high-definition video, is denser that would have been imaginable even a few years ago. All those ones and zeroes have to be stored somewhere—and, crucially, many enterprises want to keep their data forever—and IT systems worldwide are strained to the limit and beyond as they try to accommodate that demand.
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