E-business swamps the enterprise

To survive the data storage tsunami presented by the surging growth of enterprise and internet data, companies must build a tidal wave-proof infrastructure.

Poor handling of the data tsunami will, according to Jack Thompson, vice president, strategic planning for EMC Corporation, cripple the strongest of companies and kill the less robust.

Speaking at the third annual CIO Magazine Conference, Thompson presented startling statistics about the projected growth of corporate storage requirements, such as CIOs having to spend 50 per cent of their budget over the next few years on "smart storage".

In 1998, according to his figures, a typical large corporation would have about 40 terabytes of information storage capacity. This year, demand has grown to about 300 terabytes. And in only three years hence, the projection is for the same company to need a petabyte, which is 1000 times greater than a terabyte.

Large corporate storage requirements, Thompson noted, are doubling about every two years. Dotcom requirements, in contrast, are doubling about every three months.

Online outages and down time are catastrophic for an e-business, he said. E-Bay's two recent incidents immediately wiped 25 per cent off the market value of the firm. Thus infrastructure, with storage at its heart, "is no longer the basic 'commodity' it once was, but is now integral to the life of the enterprise. So it shouldn't be difficult to justify the spending required to ensure continuity of business."

Partnerships had a place in all this, Thompson added. He noted that EMC had joined Oracle and Cisco to establish a joint standards-setting laboratory. A conference delegate observed that many companies, when setting out to do business on the internet, chose to split off new companies with their own brands to do the e-commerce.

Asked what he thought of this trend, Thompson said: "If you look at the ones splitting off -- at least the ones we have worked with, and there are two or three good examples here in Australia -- the first thing they do is build a bridge back into the information infrastructure of the parent company."

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