Telcos lead storage demand, claims Sun

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By  Published  September 15, 2006

New regulatory requirements and the increasing sophistication of mobile phone content has sparked a massive rise in demand for storage space by telcos in the region, a senior executive from Sun Microsystems told IT Weekly.

According to Chris Wood, chief technology officer for Sun’s data management group, the storage requirements of telcos in the Middle East are growing by around 500% year on year, pushed by a combination of new regulations requiring telcos to store customer data for up to 25 years and the explosion in availability of mobile phone content, including video streaming.

As a result of this increasing demand for storage space in the region, Sun Microsystems’ revenue from the Middle East market has grown by 35% year on year, executives said.

“To understand why it [demand] is so high here, you have to look at the adoption of a dramatically improved communications infrastructure, and that’s everything from more cell towers, to really getting into the GSM technology,” said Wood.

The Gulf region’s heavy usage of digital packet radio (DPR) technology, which allows for such applications as video streaming stock market quotes or downloading games means that it is extremely data intensive, Wood claimed.

“As soon as it’s a video picture or streaming audio or video, we're going from relatively trivial text messages to each message having 1,00 to 10,000 times as much data associated with it,” he said.

Graham Porter, marketing manager for Sun Middle East and Africa, said that banks in the Middle East are also facing growing pressure to store data: particularly those connected to the international Swift money transfer system.

“They have to follow the international money transfer rules,” he said, pointing out that this can mean keeping records for five, ten, even 20 years, depending on the type and scale of transaction.

This will lead to regional companies having to reassess their storage needs on a “quarterly basis” Porter claimed.

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