A bigger byte

A few decades ago data storage was discussed in terms of megabytes – now the exabyte looms large for vendors such as EMC. Duncan MacRae dropped in to the firm's Storage World to hear its plans for super-sized storage.

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By  Duncan MacRae Published  July 25, 2007

Back in the 1980s, 5MByte and 10MByte disks were impressive pieces of equipment, costing hundreds of US dollars each. However, those days are long gone. In the modern IT climate, a single desktop icon on a computer takes up about as much RAM as an entire video game console had back in the 1980s. And when it comes to storing company data, some enterprises have now entered the realms of the exabyte (1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes).

With that amount of data to handle and safeguard, companies face an ongoing battle to store it, let alone store it securely. The issue of storage is not a new one but it is one that becomes more and more problematic as the world becomes ever-more reliant on information.

At the recent EMC World 2007 conference in Orlando, USA, more than 7,000 EMC customers, partners and technologists rolled into town, testament to the increasing importance of data storage.

For the first time, the event brought together three industry-leading user conferences: EMC Technology Summit, focused on information infrastructure deployment and information management; Mome-ntum, the EMC Documentum user conference focused on management of unstructured content; and the EMC Software Developer Conference, focused on the skills needed to develop new applications for infrastructure and information management.

There was a wide range of attendees, each with a unique perspective on the most innovative approaches to storing, protecting, optimising and leveraging their information. The influential conference also boasted 600 education sessions covering 364 separate topics. More than 115 EMC partners, and there were demonstrations of more than 50 EMC solutions.

"Just as bringing information together enhances its value to an organisation, bringing together the disciplines and experts responsible for managing that information also results in a tremendous amount of value for them and for the industry," said Frank Hauck, EMC executive VP, global marketing and customer quality.

The conference kicked off on May 20 with a keynote presentation by EMC chairman, president and CEO, Joe Tucci, which focused on the theme of ‘Building Tomorrow's Information Infrastructure'. Another key presentation was ‘Making Life Easier in Your Exabyte World' by David Donatelli, EMC executive VP, storage product operations.

And these were themes very much hammered home during the course of the whole showpiece - moving forwards and looking ahead to how business will deal with data in the years to come.

EMC is very much looking to the future and the theme of ‘momentum', which the company directors took every opportunity to reiterate during the conference, was well received by EMC employees throughout the entire food chain. Despite this, there were murmurings among some EMEA staff that although plenty of money is being spent on the development of EMC products, not enough is being invested in marketing them. Not everyone was in agreement though.

"You can't market a great product before you've developed a great product," said Barry Ader, senior director of storage product marketing at EMC. "Coming from both the marketing and product sides I would love it if we could invest just as much in both areas. We do invest in marketing our products but it's vital that we primarily invest in product development, so that we can offer our customers what they need.

Barbara Robidoux, VP of product marketing and storage platforms is in agreement.

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