We are creating the Digital Universe – but who will manage it?

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in emc education | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

EMC World is happening this week down in Orlando. I’m helping out from sunny Franklin, Ma – facillitating video uploads into the Proven Professional Community, tweeting, and moderating a twitter chat tommorrow about my organization’s Information and Storage Management book.

That’s alot of digital content I am creating, without even being at the conference. Of course, now we have to add a blog post to that list as well. According to the 2009 IDC study these types of data creation are feuling the growth of the Digital Universe.

How much data are we creating?

The study found that last year alone, 468.522 billion gigabytes of information were created. To put that into perspective, that would be the same size as:

  • 237 billion fully-loaded Amazon Kindle wireless reading devices
  • 4.8 quadrillion online bank transactions
  • 3 quadrillion Twitter feeds
  • 162 trillion digital photos
  • 30 billion fully-loaded Apple iPod Touches
  • 19 billion fully-loaded Blu-ray DVDs

The estimation is that we will double the size of the digital universe every 18 months, and by 2012 it will be five times the size it is now. The expectations are that:

  • Mobile users will grow by a factor of 3.0.
  • Non-traditional IT devices will grow by a factor of 3.6.
  • Interactions between people via email, messaging, social networks, etc.¬† will grow by a factor of 8.0.

We’re going to use the clouds to grow this universe

George Siemens pondered earlier this year about how cloud computing will change the way we interact with our personal learning networks. George describes cloud computing this way:

In a technological sense, cloud computing refers to a service-view of computing, where technical details are largely hidden from end users. Which means, it is driven by financial considerations, as companies can extend their infrastructure without heavy investments in personnel or technology.

If you want a more detailed technical description, read through some of Chuck Hollis’ posts on the topic. But George does a good job of describing it – the cloud provides us (as users) some services, and we don’t have to worry about the nitty gritty of how this is all working from a technology point of view.

But someone does need to worry about that – and folks will need to be trained to manage the infrastructure that can support the creation of 5 x 468.522 billion gigabytes of information.

So who is going to manage the Digital Universe?

IDC makes the following recommendations to IT departments, so they can be ready for this onslaught of information:

  • Transform existing relationships with the business units. Leading-edge IT organizations are doing whatever they can to fuse their departmental DNA with that of the business units, from job rotation for employees in both camps and tying IT performance to business metrics, to sending IT staff out to meet customers and funding internal PR efforts.
  • Spearhead the development of organization-wide policies for information governance, including security, information retention, data access, and compliance.
  • Rush new tools and standards into the organization. For example, storage replication, deduplication, unstructured search, database analytics, ethical hacking, application virtualization, semantic web applications, and cloud computing.

All of these things will necessitate training people to handle the new job roles, procedures, policies, tools and technologies. Tomorrow at EMC World the Senior Director of EMC Ed Services’ Technical Education and Certification team will release his annual report on managing storage (Managing Storage: Trends, Challenges, and Options). It is a report on a study that is done annual with 1450 IT managers and storage professionals.

The study found¬† that IT managers would like to grow their staff by 17% this year to handle the increase in data that needs to be managed. The study also found that managers believe the readiness of their teams has gone down from 33+% (in last year’s study) to 30%.

This is actually a scary statistic when you think about accessing the cloud as a user. We just want to add our stuff to the digital universe, we don’t want to have to worry if that stuff will be available, if it is being backed up, if there is a plan in case something goes awry in the information infrastructure that supports the cloud.

If IT managers only think 30% of their folks are ready to support the cloud, we need to seriously look at how education can get people ready so they are 100% ready to support the digital universe.

I’ll post the link to the study once it has been officially released tomorrow. If you are at EMC World, Alok will be presenting his findings at 2:45 in a breakout session.

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