Digital growth drives developments in data storage

July 6, 2001

The growth in digital video is creating new challenges for computer networks - especially regarding their data storage capacities.

DV has underlined the need for secure back-up solutions. The main issue is the size of the files it creates: one second of uncompressed video captured to a fast hard drive can weigh in at up to 20MB. The process of editing a short movie can quickly fill a 10GB disc.

Storage and back-up challenges are being addressed by academic-led projects such as Vidos (see above). Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have designed the OceanStore system, which breaks data into parts and stores them on internet servers around the world. Each fragment of data file contains a unique identification tag that enables the system to retrieve the whole document. The retrieval process is designed to leave a data trail each time a specific document is accessed so that successive searches for that document will take less time. OceanStore will be especially useful in preventing a catastrophic loss of data because not every fragment of a document will be needed to retrieve the complete document.

But while the pressure on individual computer hard drives should be eased by projects such as OceanStore, long-term back-up solutions are even more crucial, as Stanford Graduate School of Business discovered when it lost years of irreplaceable research data when two servers were erased. It has since replaced its storage systems.

George Leptos, UK manager of storage solutions company La Cie, said: "We have seen a phenomenal growth in requirements from business and learning institutions for data storage space."

Details: The Oceanstore Project

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