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Hot Spots: Web 2.0 storage: Challenges and choices

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Storage managers need to anticipate the demands of Web 2.0 applications as they take their place in enterprise environments.


If you need evidence that Web 2.0 has gained widespread acceptance, look no further than eBay, Facebook and YouTube. These successful business models frame how we typically think of Web 2.0. They're highly collaborative, interactive and strive to reach a broad audience with mostly user-generated content.

These days, Web 2.0 isn't limited to twenty-somethings building an application in the basement; traditional brick-and-mortar organizations should also consider this new way of doing business. At the enterprise level, internal applications like instant messaging, Microsoft SharePoint and wikis all enable improved communication and information sharing. In many cases this extends to trusted partners and suppliers. Now consider the amount of storage this content (RSS feeds, wikis, blogs and more) creates, as nearly all Web 2.0 models require storage on some level.

Web 2.0 tools and strategies hold many potential benefits for those businesses that deploy them, but they also pose significant challenges for the information technology staffs that need to build and manage the infrastructure. IT managers are struggling with the cost and complexity of managing multiple interfaces to meet the demands of their business. Much of the current infrastructure

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wasn't designed to handle Web 2.0 application requirements at a price point that enables a company to deliver a profitable service. Web 2.0 applications will only further stress the system as they require the following:

Rapidly scalable storage and access. User-generated content grows at an unchecked rate--just consider the success of YouTube. Think how that infrastructure will be further impacted when high-definition video becomes prevalent. How about growing from zero storage to petabytes (PBs) of storage in just a few months? At the same time, hundreds of thousands (and potentially millions) of users will attempt to access that information. The combination makes for a complex IT equation.

This was first published in November 2007

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