As computers and other digital technologies have grown in popularity over the last several decades, the volume of information stored in digital formats has grown. The growth of digital information is accelerating and information storage is a key challenge for businesses. The University of California at Berkeley’s (UCB) School of Information Management and Systems study, “How Much Information? 2003,” found that data growth per year by volume was 80% for magnetic media and 28% for optical media. (Lyman, et al., 2003) The UCB study also found that the Internet is the second largest channel for information flow, after telephony, and that the Internet is the fastest growing medium for information flow. (Lyman, et al., 2003) Unfortunately, data storage technologies are not providing capacity increases at a rate that matches the growth in information. The gap between information growth and storage technology growth presents a critical challenge to information systems managers and technologists. In the 2004 article, “The Data Tsunami: A Perspective on Data Storage,” Joe Straub reviews the data storage challenges facing businesses and examines important trends in storage technology research that may impact the information growth challenges. (Straub, 2004)
From a scholarly standpoint, Straub’s article needs improvement and revision. The Straub article’s primary weaknesses area a lack of common measures for comparing the emerging technologies that are reviewed and a lack of sufficient breadth.
From a technical standpoint, Straub provides a good introduction to the state of data storage technology in 2004. Straub utilizes the UCB study, “How Much Information? 2003,” as a primary source. (Lyman, et al., 2003; Straub, 2004) The UCB study provides an excellent source of material on the global creation and storage of data. (Lyman, et al., 2003) Straub also utilizes data from the National Storage Industry Consortium (NSIC), which is another excellent reference for current state data on information storage. The emerging technologies that Straub reviews have potential as solutions to the data storage challenges facing businesses and the information systems industry. In 2009, the emergence of solid-state disk (SSD) as a new storage platform has implications for the overall information storage market. Straub’s 2004 article failed to include SSD technologies. Information growth and the challenges associated with storing ever-increasing amounts of data continue to be a significant challenge.
The volume of information being created and stored is continuing to accelerate. In 2003, worldwide data across media types and channels totaled 17.9 Exabytes. (Lyman, et al., 2003) The gap between storage technologies and information growth is a key challenge for the information systems discipline. Research and review articles, like Straub’s 2004 technology review are an important component to understanding and solving the “data tsunami.” (Straub, 2004) While Straub’s article could be improved, it provides a good starting point for reviewing the nature of the data problem and a method for reviewing and comparing emerging technologies for their potential.
Ingram, R., Williams, M., & Holm, M. (2007). Ingram and Williams Literature Comparison Matrix. In cf_Ingrams_Wiliams_Matrix.doc (Ed.).
Lyman, P., Varian, H. R., Good, C., Good, N., Jordan, L. L., & Pal, J. (2003). How Much Information? 2003. Berkeley, CA: University of California at Berkeley.
Straub, J. (2004). The Digital Tsunami: A Perspective on Data Storage. Information Management Journal, 38(1), 42-50.