Yottabytes: Storage and Disaster Recovery

May 28 2012   11:21PM GMT

Where’s the White House Going to Put All That Data?

Sharon Fisher Sharon Fisher Profile: Sharon Fisher

While the White House released its digital government plan last week, it appears to have left out one major factor: just where the heck all that data is going to be stored, especially when storage already appears to be an issue for federal agencies, according to a recent survey.

The Digital Government plan doesn’t even mention the word “storage,” even though open data accessible to everyone is one of the linchpins of the plan.

But a recent survey by MeriTalk of 151 federal government IT professionals about big data found that storage was already an issue.

Factors found in the survey indicate the following:

  • 87% of IT professionals say their stored data has grown in the last two years (by an average of 61%)
  • 96% expect their data to grow in the next two years (by an average of 64%)
  • 31% of data is unstructured, and that amount is increasing
  • Agencies estimate they have just 49% of the data storage/access they need to leverage big data and drive mission results
  • 40% of respondents pointed to storage capacity as one of the most significant challenges their agency faced when it came to managing large amounts of data
  • Agencies currently store an average of 1.61 petabytes of data, but expect to get to 2.63 petabytes in just the next two years
  • 57% of agencies say they have at least one dataset that’s grown too big to work with using their current data management tools and/or infrastructure
  • While 64% of IT professionals say their agency’s data management system can be easily expanded/upgraded on demand, they estimate10 months as the average time they could double their short-to medium-term capacity
  • The #1 step that agencies say they are taking to improve their ability to manage and make decisions with big data is to invest in IT infrastructure to optimize data storage (39%)
Exactly how the federal government is going to manage this (other than “blah blah cloud”) is not clear, but the government is going to need to find a place for its stuff before it can figure out how to save it or leverage it.

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