Originating Author: Fred Moore
In 1952, the world’s first successful tape drive was delivered, the IBM 726, with 12,500 bytes of capacity per reel. In 1956, the world’s first disk drive was delivered, the RAMAC 350, with 5 megabytes of capacity. Though no one knew it at the time, two key events in the storage industry had just occurred: 1) the first storage hierarchy was created with online disk and offline tape storage, and 2) the first storage management applications were born, namely backup and recovery.
The storage industry has experienced an evolution from a back office service to a mission-critical service at the heart of a company’s survival. The industry has progressed in waves through several dominant forces that began in the 1950s with a systems-centric world, and then became a single-user or PC-driven industry, then to a network-based model and has now taken many of the steps necessary to enable the information-centric model to become the dominant force in worldwide economics.
Reshaped by the collapse of the dot-coms and the deep ramifications of Sept. 11, 2001, the hardware-based storage industry of the past has given way to a new value system made up of software and the value of data itself. All data is not created equal and the value of data varies considerably inside a company and its applications. IT executives now list security, data classification, e-mail management, tiered storage, application and database archiving and virtual tape libraries as their top priorities. The next era for the storage industry will be a more mature industry that will become much more firmly grounded financially.
Action Item: Storage hierarchies and the need for data protection are constants in the storage business. Evolving technologies and external factors however make it necessary for organizations to revisit basic assumptions about which technologies and practices are most suitable for tiering and protecting storage. These assumptions should be revisited annually or at least every two years to avoid exposure to organizational risk and/or lack of competitiveness.