When words fail

Words, said the White Rabbit (from the other side of Alice’s looking glass in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland), can mean whatever I want them to mean.

And perhaps it’s time a new word, words or term (but no acronyms, please,) was found to replace that least charismatic of all computing words: storage.

Apart from its connotations of dusty, dank cupboards and its fall into disrepute with IT execs (who are sick of dealing with it), CIOs (who are sick of asking for more money for it) and CFOs — whose only response is along the lines of: I gave for that last week/month/quarter/year, the word ‘storage’ is decidedly blah; it has no impact, no dynamism, no implied threat or business risk — like there is if it fails.

And for a host of (some very good) reasons, storage has hit both the headlines and hype heights in recent months. Alongside security, storage is rattling the hype meter like never before as vendors compete for mindshare with new buzz words like lifecycle management and latch onto new standards like iSCSI — a small acronym the reality of which is expected to open up a multimillion-dollar opportunity for vendors of — you got it: storage.

That’s assuming of course there are enough new arguments for you to put to the money minders to extract the funds for the budget.

At each turn, vendors loudly declare that the price of storage is dropping — and on one hand it is. But the rate of data being pumped out that needs to be kept — whether it’s newly created, business critical, or boring old information that only the Tax Man could love, is forcing you to invest more time, energy, personnel and yes, money, in its purchase and management.

So your challenge, gentle reader, is to come up with a new name or term (remember, acronyms forbidden) that is so exciting it will send the CFOs rushing for their pens to sign those purchase orders so that you can finally get the plans rolling that will give you the storage system of your dreams.

But before you can find the right words, it’s a matter of getting the message right. Why does your organisation want to store its data?

Data storage may once have covered just the wornout information that was fit only to archive. Now though it’s intimately connected with the operating lifeblood of enterprises and even quite small companies. And if you don’t get it right — in the lifecycle, in the risk management, recovery and regulatory stakes, all dire events will befall the company’s most valuable resource and create an adrenalin surge which comes real close to making ‘storage’ as sexy as it can get. Got a new name for an old technology? A white rabbit from Computerworld awaits the best effort.

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