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A Peek at IBM's Storage Future

IBM has been on the cutting edge of IT for decades, and if their recent work on storage is any indication they’ll remain there for decades to come. Recently, IBM put the spotlight on two of the technologies they’re working on, each of which addresses a specific challenge of today’s data needs.

The first challenge is this: how do manufactures make primary data available faster? Their answer is something called “racetrack” storage. This is a storage design in which the data is stored via different magnetic regions, and where the data travels via short, nano-scale wires. This technology should hit the market in about five to seven years, and it should revolutionize the speed at which primary storage operates.

Racetrack storage will be a precursor to Storage Class Memory. This is memory that’s as fast as memory in use today, but that can scale up to provide enterprise-level storage capacity. This will cause the power and space needs for storage to drop. Today, the volume of storage that takes up 1,250 racks full of hard drives would be stored in a single rack – and use one third of the energy. Storage Class Memory will also be more durable, able to last longer than today’s solid state drives.

The second issue IBM intends to solve is one of space. How do we pack more and more archived date into a smaller footprint? IBM intends to use a magnetic technology that is expected to be able to store one petabyte of data all in a single 1U rack unit. That technology should be readily available within about three years.

This “petabyte storage device” is designed for long-term archival. It would be able to store data for five decades without needing to be migrated to a different medium. This greatly reduces hardware costs over the long-term, and it eliminates the potential for certain types of errors.

The potential applications for these technologies are staggering. Industries from Hollywood to the health care industry will benefit greatly both from faster primary storage and from greater capacity for long-term archival storage.

The future of storage looks pretty bright, thanks to IBM.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.