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Vol. 2 No. 7 September 2003

Keeping more useless data online

You run around with your head on fire long enough, and sooner or later you forget about the guy throwing matches at you and look for a hose. We are tactical devils, us storage people, looking to fix the result as opposed to correcting the cause. We worry about backing stuff up, but not recovering it. Worse, we worry about disks--and not data. The data is our raison d'etre. It's why we're employed, or at least should be. I was at the Immigration and Naturalization Service a few weeks ago--we are in process of adopting a Chinese baby girl. They now take digital pictures of your fingerprints--each becomes a unique object, and is stored in the mega-super data bank somewhere down south. That got me to thinking: How do they get real-time info when that database must contain millions and millions of objects? I bet the government has much more smart people spending their time thinking about how to house the fingerprints than how to use the information contained in those fingerprints. Illogical, maybe, but it does sound like the norm. We...

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