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RFID May Strain Storage

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Did you know that RFID stands for Really Freaking Immense Datasets? Just kidding. RFID actually stands for Radio Frequency ID, and refers to small transponders that retailers such as Wal-Mart and Tesco are requiring some suppliers to put on expensive retail items for more efficient warehouse and supply chain management.

Analysts predict that RFID technology will be pervasive in the next couple of years. Will RFID technology create a new glut of data for storage managers to contend with? "In a word, yes," says Erik Michielsen, senior analyst with ABI Research in Oyster Bay, NY.

But for most organizations, RFID will probably only slightly affect storage systems, predicts Greg Gilbert, product manager for RFID at Manhattan Associates, a supply chain execution software provider in Atlanta, GA. "What it will come down to is the expansion of your database tables and models," he says.

Furthermore, most of the middleware used to log RFID events will probably summarize the transactions before sending them to the data center.

Still, being that RFID events are highly transactional, Gilbert says, some RFID adopters may need to rethink their storage and choose new arrays that are "better suited to real-time retrieval than is currently the case."

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This was first published in February 2004

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