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Social Networks Present Storage Challenge

The last few years have seen a massive upswing in the use of social networking technologies, from blogs and wikis to complex interactive Websites and even virtual worlds such as Second Life.

As more and more businesses implement the types of interactive technology more traditionally associated with Facebook and YouTube, Web 2.0 is taking their IT pros into uncharted waters where many will be forced to rethink their approach to storage.

Storage vendors are starting to focus their efforts on developing technologies for social networking. EMC, for example, recently announced plans for its top-secret "Maui" software, which is rumored to be a clustered file system that will compete with products like Isilon's OneFS or NetApp's OnTap GX.

EMC, like IBM, is also talking about the opportunities presented by "cloud computing," where users access distributed storage systems via the Internet to develop Web 2.0 applications.

"Cloud storage is massive, very massive," wrote Chuck Hollis, EMC's vice president of alliances, on his blog today. "We're routinely encountering new requirements where terms like 'gigabyte' and 'terabyte' are not useful; the discussion starts at 'many petabytes' and goes up from there."

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