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Terabyte home impacting online storage industry

Tue Jan 20 2009, 19:46

UK CONSUMERS' voracious appetite for digital media has apparently led to the phenomenon of "the terabyte home" and the resulting quest to back up all that data is having a massive impact on the online storage industry, says a new survey.

UK-based market research outfit, Red Shift, carried out the survey on 1,050 UK consumers in August 2008 at the behest of Hitachi Data Systems.

According to the survey results, digitised Britons now have the capacity to store approximately 1,000 gigabytes of digital media ranging from photo albums and music to videos and emails.

The survey notes 51 per cent of those polled said they stored digital files on five or more types of devices including digital cameras, computers, video recorders and USB sticks. Results also indicate that the majority of people also use more than one of each device, leading to some 30 per cent fessing up to having their digital wares spread across at least 20 individual devices.

But with their digital bits and bobs scattered throughout their ‘terabyte homes', consumers are purportedly finding it increasingly difficult and time-consuming to keep up, especially when it comes to finding and securing specific digital files. This has apparently driven many into the arms of online storage services.

It seems people are finally realising the importance of data backup and security, with Red Shift discovering 64 per cent of those polled regularly backed up data, with a full fifth (21 per cent) using online storage services to do so. An impressive 69 per cent of respondents said they backed up their digi-data at least every month.

Interestingly, for those people who chose to back things up online, 64 per cent most trusted Internet providers whilst a resounding 36 per cent put their trust in online storage services offered by banks. For instance, US-based Wells Fargo & Company offers an online storage service allowing users to store digital files and documents on the bank's enterprise infrastructure, and it's proving wildly popular.

Alec Bruce, a Global Storage Consultant at Hitachi Data Systems noted that "As these millions of households shift their terabytes of data from their home to online storage, we're going to see an unprecedented explosion of digital data which will send shockwaves through the online storage industry."

He added recent high-profile data losses by online storage providers made trust an issue for consumers and emphasised providers needed to make sure the storage platforms underpinning their services were robust enough to meet rising expectations and exponential growth.

Bruce reckoned the next obvious step would be the introduction of policy-based storage in which a person's most valuable data was backed up most frequently. He added people might also benefit from better search and retrieval tools, to easily locate individual files. µ


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