Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Cloud Can Handle it

Hold onto your hats. Digital data will have grown by 44 fold by the end of the decade, according to IDC.

To size that up, it is a walloping 35 zettabytes. Yes, I had to look it up too - that's 35 BILLION terabytes. The bulk of this data will be contained in emails and website content - or unstructured data not retrievable by normal database querying methods, as the experts put it. In fact 90% of it will exist in this format.

Under normal circumstances, this incredible growth would be matched in by the growth in IT staff. Aha, this is where The Cloud comes into play. While data may grow by 44 fold, IT staff numbers will grow by a mere 47% - making enormous leaps in productivity.

Given SMEs will be contributing massively to this data growth, how on earth can they possibly keep pace with this growth in data in terms of cost of storage? This is where the scalability of The Cloud helps. By putting the data and its management into The Cloud, small firms can ditch legacy equipment and use the scalability of The Cloud to decrease the operating costs over time.

With disparate new tools like tablets and smartphones there will be a growing need to consolidate and synchronise data. Loads more Apps will mean staff will be creating more data in different places than ever before.

Let me give you a good example of a decent application for business. I use Evernote (right now, in fact). Similar but more flexible and easier to use than MS OneNote, Evernote allows me to create, amend and share documents across multiple platforms like my PC, IPad and smartphone by consolidating and synchronising data in The Cloud. It was the best £27 I have spent in ages.

Such applications are going to help keep that data growth in check but it will be clever companies who embrace The Cloud that can get similar approaches to help keep the cost of storage and management of data down over time.

Gartner reckon that that in 2011 some 65% of organisations will have started or completed moving their in-house data onto The Cloud, albeit what is known as The Private Cloud - secured private storage areas off premise and sharing in similar scalable benefits as The Public Cloud gives.

See, The Cloud doesn't mean you can't keep 'Blue Sky Thinking'.

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