Big data to dictate the future of IT infrastructure

Understanding what is driving changes in IT infrastructure today is essential to understanding the future of information infrastructure tomorrow

Futurist and IT strategy advisor, Ross Dawson.

Futurist and IT strategy advisor, Ross Dawson.

Understanding what is driving changes in IT infrastructure today is essential to understanding the future of information infrastructure tomorrow, according to technology futurist and strategic advisor, Ross Dawson.

Speaking ahead of his keynote speech at the Implementing Information Infrastructure Summit (IIIS) in August — hosted by Computerworld Australia and the Storage Networking Industry Association Australia (SNIA ANZ) — Dawson said ‘big data’ was a major driver dictating the future shape of infrastructure.

“One of the key thins is absolutely the continuing exponential growth in processing power, storage, bandwidth, and the explosion of data,” Dawson said. “This whole field of ‘big data’ is an issue because while storage and data are both growing they are not always aligned. There is the potential for the pace of data growth to outpace storage growth.”

Central to understanding data growth, Dawson says, is achieving a better understanding of the increase in the number and types of data generation points. And it’s not just about social media with its onslaught if tweets, posts, images and video. New data creation is occurring across many industry sectors thanks to increasingly sophisticated sensor networks.

“One of the spaces in monitoring people, such as in the health environment,” he said. “For example, the elderly people who are unwell can literally generate gigabytes or terabytes of data about their body and bodily functions every day.

“In a business context we have seen MIT do tracking of people in the work environment — everything from eye tracking, to the movement of their fingers to their bodily posture when they are talking to other people.”

“Clearly there are privacy issues, but all this kind of extraordinarily rich data allows organisations to design better interactions and collaboration and improved productivity.

Dawson also points to the potential of external networks which can monitor traffic and pedestrian flows as well as stresses on public transport infrastructure. Environmental networks able to assess everything from air quality to temperature, as well as networks to monitor power distribution and consumption were also major data creation sources.

Continued intense competition across the national and international economies would ensure that efficiency as well as the need for organisations to become more agile and flexible would continue as drivers for IT infrastructure change for some time, Dawson said.

“These are just some the creation points where the explosion of data is absolutely staggering,” he said. “Part if achieving those things is being able to get value from all this data being created, and that goes to the issue of how data is stored.”

The Implementing Information Infrastructure Symposium is being held on 2 - 3 August 2011 at the Hilton, Sydney.

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