The BBC is developing a 3.2TB personal video recorder in conjunction with Promise TV. It should be able to hold a week's worth of ordinary TV programmes or a few high definition TV programmes. It uses commodity hardware including a 'bank of hard drives'. I wonder if it has a RAID array in there? There's a photo of it available.
A gigapixel digital camera is being developed. Images of the space shuttle can be seen here. The people behind this project state: "The information content of a gigapixel print can be compared to that available in a real-world scene which is viewed through a pair of binoculars." The point of these pictures is the fantastic zooming ability. Imagine mobile phones with 5 megapixel cameras in them using a development of this technology.
Many people already have gigabytes of accumulated digital photos. It's a quick thought to transform this to terabytes with higher resolution cameras. High definition DVD and more capable digital video recorders will means we ordinary consumers will need storage systems capable of holding terabytes of image data - probably inside our PC cabinet, possibly in a separate little storage cabinet. It means we'll need a high-speed path for the image processing and stored video viewing work we'll do. It also means we need to protect the information.
That means RAID for the primary store and separate media for the secondary store. Can you see domestic tape drives coming? Not a chance. Too, too slow. Backup software is a nightmare to use. We'll burn the data to DVD or HD-DVD/Blu-ray optical disks for the secondary store and use RAID for the primary store. RAID software will have to become much easier and more automated to use.
So what? So an ordinary home can expect to store more data than a small business or branch office server. Some possibly already do. As soon as PCs for personal use get multiple drives in them then domestic data protection moves rapidly up the PC supplier's priority scale. They'll be looking ahead to the tens of terabytes home system.
At this point business will start to benefit because personal/domestic data storage systems will be superior in capacity, access speed and data protection capabilities to today's average small business/remote office servers.
Look at the looming flood of personal data as a catalyst that could kick-start a new round of storage-related developments. They could even relegate tape - finally - to the place where punched card machines and paper tape readers are to be found - the museum.
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