Information overload: The new Y2K bug

The mishandling of too much information within storage systems can be worse than a disabling virus for a company, leading to hardware failure, staff inefficiencies and higher costs overall.

The new millennium "bug", according to industry players, is the mishandling of information within a company's storage systems, which can lead to hardware failure, staff inefficiencies and higher costs overall.

Data is increasing at a phenomenal rate, according to US-based storage provider Brocade, which says is becoming a challenge for technology departments to keep up with no matter what size the business is.

"It is said in the industry that it takes one IT person to manage about five terabytes of data, "Industry is predicting data will grow by several petabytes a year, one petabyte equating to 1000 terabytes of storage requirements," Brocade vice president James LaLonde said.

Brocade says replacing traditional storage methodologies with a networked infrastructure will enable greater efficiencies amongst staff members.

"One IT staff member can manage 35 terabytes of data compared to only five terabytes," LaLonde said.

In the past, companies have stored information on islands of storage switches, which don't talk to each other. Brocade says the next big growth area is in the open systems community where devices can be linked to store and manage data.

In the next two to three-years companies will take-up the next big thing, Storage Area Network (SAN) applications, at a rapid rate, trying to keep up with information overload, according to Brocade.

LaLonde says network storage systems are becoming the cause of a lot of discussion, however, not many companies have implemented them at present.

Although research company Gartner has estimated that by 2005, 72 percent of storage will be SAN-attached.

A KPMG report--which surveyed 311 IT executives in various industries--found that 28 percent of respondents have already implemented at least one SAN. Of the 224 that hadn't, 97 percent said they were planning to implement one SAN within the next year.

Of those that have already implemented SAN, 92 percent believe they have saved money compared to continuing with direct attached storage, according to statistics by KPMG.

Brocade claimed that SAN would enable IT staff to handle 3.2 times the storage they currently manage.

Users will be forced to implement these networks due to the ever-increasing amounts of storage they must manage, Brocade said.

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