Saturday, 30 March 2013

The grass was greener

It is insightful, to note that the amount of generated this year will be equivalent to the amount of data generated over the last two years which was equivalent to the amount of data generated over the last ten. Big data, therefore, now follows an almost exponential curve, and will continue to do so for the next couple of years at least.

The question that I would put to you(not that you'd be interested much) is where would it stop? And lets take the Wikipedia as an example. Yes, articles measuring the size of Wikipedia abound, and indeed, if the whole of the pedia were to be printed and put in a library(and yes, no one would do this), it would not only occupy the whole library but probably spill out onto the streets as well.  The key thing here is to remember that it's not the growth in absolute terms that's important, but the rate of growth, and if you'd look at the nicely shaped graph alongside, you would know that the rate of growth has decreased over the past few years. Yes you could differentiate the damn thing over x, take tangents and do a belly rub on your snoring Persian cat. But the truth of the matter is, there's only so much knowledge that we can encompass. And only so much knowledge that we would be able to convert into data.

So, is the amount of user generated content going to dwindle in the next couple of years. Yes, and no. Now while the explosion is probably soon going to be behind us, it is the amount of storage space which is going to increase. And as it does, it is going to become cheaper and easier to access that storage. You see, once the storage space increases(nanotech, newer ways to store data, removal of limitations regarding magnetic devices) it would be a catalyst to greater file size. The same amount of information would then be packed into a much larger area, and thus while the amount of user generated content might hold steady for the next few years after the boom, the size of the same would surely go on increasing. And increasing. And yes, some more.

What this means is that we should see the golden age of the hardware and networking giants soon, as well as the user generated content aggregation apps of this world. If I had the money, I'd probably open up a huge datacenter somewhere in a country like ours, mostly a deserted location with plenty of electricity available. And then charge people by the hour to use it. Strangely enough, it wouldn't be of much use to me very soon, as all of the storage devices we currently use would be obsoleted in a couple of years anyhow. The easy thing is prediction and the tough part is the ability to act on that prediction.

So its probably not the datacenters you should bet on, but the people providing the infrastructure for that data center. Technology keeps changing, but the demand for storage can only keep rising. The grass will always be greener on the other side of the great technology divide.

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