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Storage Pipeline: A Look at the Storage Professional

Networked storage has raised the level of responsibility for the storage manager. If one segment of your direct-attached storage infrastructure goes down, you lose access to a slice of your corporate data. But if you lose your SAN, most or all of your data becomes inaccessible.

In addition, new industry rules and government regulations have placed heavy demands on IT to ensure that business records are retrievable nearly on demand, even if the records are years old.

Meantime, data volumes are soaring. Just a few years ago, a 1-TB data store was considered big. Now, some 20 percent of the ASNP's 1,600 members manage data stores larger than 100 TB, and Fortune 500 companies, such as Best Buy, are said to be approaching 1 petabyte (1,024 TB) of data, putting their storage needs on a par with that of the Pentagon. The amount of disk storage system capacity shipped worldwide in the first quarter of 2004 hit 247 petabytes, up nearly 40 percent from the same period a year earlier, IDC said.

There are many reasons for the data explosion. E-mail messages are multiplying by the day, and IT organizations often must archive all of them to comply with business and government rules.

Along industry lines, health-care facilities are digitizing X-rays and other patient records to reduce errors and physical storage space, while the federal government is pressuring the industry to digitize nearly all patient records in the next decade. Financial services firms are reorganizing how they store and share customer records in light of new privacy and disclosure regulations. Automobile and aircraft manufacturers are collaborating more closely with their suppliers on product design, forcing them to swap and store huge engineering files. And the threat of terrorism has everyone preoccupied with disaster-recovery planning.

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