Enterprising Developments

Big Data, Cheap Storage

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, June 13, 2011

When you think back to the Y2K issue, the main reason programmers didn't use four-digit year fields was to save a couple of bytes of valuable disk space. And rightly so – disk space cost about $200 a megabyte in 1980.

Now, many rightly worry about the onslaught of “Big Data” – unstructured files, graphics, audio, video, and social media data – that is threatening to overwhelm our data centers. Many organizations have databases supporting hundreds of terabytes of data.

If they had to pay 1980 prices for, say, 500 TBs of disk, that would amount to a $100 billion price tag, just for storage.

But that isn't the case. The cost for raw storage for a site with 500 TBs is about $41,050, or about 0.0004% of what it was three decades ago.

This information is culled from a simple but very busy website that documents the typical costs of storage, based on actual product retail pricing, from 1956 until the current day.

Moore's Law and economies of scale keep making storage cheaper and cheaper, down to about eight cents a gigabyte as of late summer 2010, the last entry on the site.

Of course, many enterprises are just as focused on storage costs with cloud services as they are with buying their own on-site storage.  Amazon Web Services, for example, charges just under 10 cents a gigabyte per month for storage, which is actually a bit more than buying your own disk for the long term – of course, you don't have to worry about servers, uptime, provisioning, and maintenance, either.

The bottom line is that nobody thinks about storage hardware in all the discussions about the challenges and opportunities in Big Data. Yet, without dirt cheap storage, there would be no Big Data. And no cloud for that matter, either.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

What Can Insurers Learn from Home Depot?

The latest cyber-attack highlights the importance of helping policy holders defend themselves.

Not Your Father’s Insurance Company

Carriers need to look at new and impactful ways to be there for their customers.

Watch Out. Apple with Mayo is Heading Your Way

From a health care, health insurance and Internet-of-things perspective, questions still remain.

How to Attract Top Tech Talent

When it comes to rankings of the best places to work, insurers are few and far between. Here’s what those who make the lists do to appeal to IT professionals.

New Generation of Data and Analytics in Cloud

Cloud-based data and analytics products are becoming more common among technology companies, small and midsize businesses and departments.

Aligning People, Processes and Technology for Successful Data Governance

Before your data governance project turns into a nightmare, create a data governance team to help people understand and manage the big data challenge, not just their respective pieces.