Storage Isn't Much Of An Issue Anymore

from the is-that-the-library-of-congress-in-your-pocket-or... dept

The trade group behind the SD memory card format today announced a new standard, called SDXC, that will support memory cards of up to 2 terabytes for devices like digital cameras and cell phones. While the amount of storage that can be crammed into smaller and smaller physical formats continues to grow, the idea of being able to carry around 2 terabytes of data in a device like a smartphone still seems pretty amazing. Combined with the growth of broadband networks, particularly wireless ones, are we nearing a point where the accessibility of data will no longer be a concern? Between being able to easily carry around most, if not all, of your data and always-on broadband networks making the rest of it constantly accessible, the point at which we can easily access any of our information from any location looks to be just over the horizon. That’s not to say that plenty of obstacles remain, including our ever-growing demand for more and more storage space, and the need for more pervasive (and less restrictive) wireless broadband networks, but those obstacles are becoming less and less formidable all the time.

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Comments on “Storage Isn't Much Of An Issue Anymore”

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chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: re: 2TB in your pocket..

–it’s even more fun when you lose that 2TB…

Just use encryption and backups, problem solved.

as the price of storage drops, so too does the cost of redundancy.

i use a few USB hard drives as backup devices. i keep one in a fireproof box at home, and one at a relative’s house. i rotate them from time to time to keep them current.

if i had a 2TB sd card, you could probably snail mail them with a single stamp.

Dav says:

not convinced

I doubt this will be the end to storage limitations in the longer term.

As we create larger and larger storage devices we also begin to use larger and larger files.

I think we will see a big shift in media, even on the mobile market with devices like the HTC touch HD, sony X1 and other HD devices to higher definition video.

Also bigger storage is likely to mean people using higher bitrate MP3 or even less compressed formats.

Whilst media alone wont fill 2 TB, couple this with larger programs and 2 TB wont be as much as it is today.

We also need to remember that it will be years before we see the 2 TB cards and with the explosion on mobile technology the increased memory requirements will likely run parallel to the larger cards.

today we simply laugh at this famous bill gates quote “640 kb ought to be enough for everybody.”

hegemon13 says:

Re: not convinced

I don’t know. I really think technology might start to outpace demand here. I mean, back in the 90s, people had the same mantra, that as computers got faster, the programs would become more demanding, and faster computers would not mean a longer period to obsolescence.

That turned out to be wrong. Most people can operate just fine on a 5-or-6-year-old machine, even for business purposes. Sure, if you are using high-end 3D or modeling applications (or a ridiculously bloated OS like Vista), that is not the case. But, for the average user, computers are WAY overpowered, hence the booming popularity of netbooks and value desktops.

I think storage will end up the same way. If they can fit 2 terabytes on a memory card, just how much can they fit on a hard-drive-sized device? 100TB? 1000TB? I don’t know, but it’s a whole lot. And, with the continually plummeting cost of online storage, I think it’s clear that supply is ALREADY outpacing demand on the storage side. This can only help.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: not convinced

You know, Bill Gates didn’t actually say that.

who cares?

i remember in the early 90’s when a friend of mine bought a 1GB hard drive and saying to him something to the effect of “you’ll never fill it, there isn’t enough data in the world to justify a whole gigabyte.”

i also remember a few short years later, marvelling at the first 10gb seagate barracuda which was several hundred dollars at the time and laughing at myself for saying that 1gb was superfluous.

James (profile) says:

For UK Audiences

WOW 2TB that means that our MP Jackie Smith can have all of our personal data from driving licences, medical history and banking details all stored on one chip that she can personal ensure gets lost on the train to work… and she will not have to rely upon CDs and DVDs. Think of the benefits, smaller, easier to drop, can carry even more copies of everything in unencrypted ways, and a government must- costing more than the previous tech. This is great news for her.

Anonymous Coward says:

With 2TB I will finally be able to download and carry with me the first two chapters of the Internal Revenue Code…you know, the ones that tell me how to fill in my name, SSN, and asks if I want to donate $3 to the Presidential Election Fund. If I want in addition to carry some music, I should have some room left over for about 5 MP3s sampled at 8KB/sec.

Susabelle says:

Yeah, but...

How many laptops have we seen stolen with “sensitive information” on them. How many unreported stolen/lost USB or other portable drives do we NOT hear about?

Carrying 2 TB of my info on a SD card sounds fabo, until I consider how easily someone could get their hands on that. I still leave my most important data on a server behind all the appropriate security. What’s left wouldn’t need 2 TB of space…

Carl says:

Control and Ownership is worth something

I like to be able to have my data (pictures, music) on a device that I control – where no one can charge me rent or bandwidth fees, or can go out of business.

Isn’t it nice when Walmart or Microsoft or AOL say they are going to discontinue your storage service? Do you want to pay ATT or Comcast or Verizon to access your media?

hegemon13 says:

Missing the point

Everyone who says “I wouldn’t want to carry 2TB of data” is missing what this means for memory in general. That is, if 2TB fits on a memory card, how much can fit in a hard-drive-sized device? What would be cool is a device that runs, effectively, like a RAID 5 array of 10+ memory cards. If a card goes bad, the “drive” lets you know, and you replace it, then let the parity rebuild it. Data loss from hard drive failures would be a thing of the past, and storage memory performance could really take a leap to the next level.

Joe Schmoe says:

“…What would be cool is a device that runs, effectively, like a RAID 5 array of 10+ memory cards. If a card goes bad, the “drive” lets you know, and you replace it, then let the parity rebuild it. Data loss from hard drive failures would be a thing of the past…”

Carefull there. A Raid drive is not a built-in backup solution. It’s an efficient but dumb device. It does what it’s told to do. And if that is to delete or munge your data, it will do so across all of the drives consistently – “that” is what a Raid drive does…

Oooops! Journalspace is no more. Data unrecovereable…

Josh says:

The problem is bandwidth...

Storage isn’t an issue and really hasn’t been for years. The problem is bandwidth and access to (high capacity) data that you don’t already have in your possession.

A very quick search found the following advertised bandwidth rates for mobile broadband (downloads):
Verizon – 400-700 kbps up to 2.0 Mbps
Altel – Up to 2.4 Mbps
Sprint – 400-700 Kbps up to 2.4 Mbps

That’s mobile. Even fixed location “landlines” aren’t outstanding on speed (FIOS not available in my area – which is the 20th largest city in the US) with DSL typically getting maximum of 1.5 Mbps and cable in the 6 Mbps ranges.

Sure, I can get a 2TB card – but unless I fill it beforehand I still don’t have easy access to significant amounts of data.

The current bottleneck of so many new technologies is still the “last mile” problem of getting the data where it needs to go.

Hulser says:

Re: The problem is bandwidth...

The current bottleneck of so many new technologies is still the “last mile” problem of getting the data where it needs to go.

Yes and no. For up-to-the-minute data, bandwidth is very important. But vast storage space can outweigh bottlenecks caused by limited bandwidth for older data. For example, when I first entered the professional IT world, the term “SneakerNet” was used to describe transferring a file by walking a floppy disk from one location to another. Imagine how the SneakerNet would work when you have massive flash drives…

Friend A: “Hey, do you have the MP3 of the latest song by XYZ?”

Friend B: “Sure. I also have every song ever recorded since 1962. Want those too?”

Sure, we may be a ways away from this, but as storage gets bigger, I personally think you’ll see more of this kind of transfer, especially with the focus on P2P networks. Yes, bandwidth is an issue, but much can be countered by massive, portable storage devices.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: The problem is bandwidth...

when I first entered the professional IT world, the term “SneakerNet” was used to describe transferring a file by walking a floppy disk from one location to another. Imagine how the SneakerNet would work when you have massive flash drives…

they’re called hard drive parties. in the old days of the warez scene, that’s how you got rare stuff, by trading floppies. copying files via removable media is really the whole point of removable media.

today they’re called hard drive parties or cd swaps. it’s a natural extension of darknet culture.

Hulser says:

Re: Re: Re: The problem is bandwidth...

today they’re called hard drive parties or cd swaps.

Right, so file trading has been happening since long before the Internet and it’s still happening today. So, as portable drives reach 2 TB and beyond, instead of SneakerNet or hard drive parties, you’ll have two people connecting their phones to exchange their entire music/movie/TV show collection. This is nothing new, but personally, I think that bandwidth limitations will be less of a concern as portable drive space grows.

Ronnie says:

Re: Re: The problem is bandwidth...


A couple of years back I anticipated the enormous potential of storage technology when the first TB hard disks started coming out. Since then I have been working on a music library. I’ve downloaded a tonne, about 100 gigs or so. I have also pilfered my friends’ collections and added it to my omni-database. Owing to duplicates and orphaned mp3s and rubbish tags and such, I can’t really give an accurate estimate as to how big my collection is. It’s spread out over a series of 500 and 750 GB disks, but I think I have about 800 gigs of stuff, give or take. I’ve had friends come over with their disks to make mirror images of the things, or just to grab albums from their favourite artists. The sneakernet you speak of it my primary goal. A library or tunes for everybody, and all of it free. I’ve been working on a database programme to get rid of the duplicates based on keeping the highest quality tracks, and to seperate the orphans from the main stuff. In a perfect world they’d all be flac files, but alas.

It’d take ages to transfer my collection over any network, and I’d most likely go to jail for it. It’s this bottleneck that stops me from doing what I really want to do, which is give my collection to the world. I really doubt I am alone in making such a library, though.

Anon2 says:

great development

I think it’s a great development. With something like that, I could load plenty of media when I’m about to travel somewhere. I don’t need that much capacity for work, and see no possibility of carrying around the last seven years of my tax returns, all my credit card bills, and pretty much everything else about me on any portable device. I don’t even keep that stuff on my laptop unless I’m working with it, and as soon as I’m done, it goes back on my file server and/or on CDs locked away in a safe location.

Anyone who keeps sensitive data on any portable device — laptop, smartphone, whatever — and doesn’t take adequate precautions to hide and encrypt those files, is a fool. If the device doesn’t have those capabilities, or if you don’t know how to do it, don’t put the stuff on there! These days, if you really have a need to access such things, you can access your file server remotely (and obviously the file server should be firewalled and accessible only via a strong security key).

These days, with pretty much no legal limits anymore on the strength of encryption private citizens can use, there are plenty of ways to secure your sensitive data out the wazoo — including double-key encryption locks that automatically run the files through a seven to ten pass overwrite if on the xth try, the wrong password is still entered. Overkill for most, and not cheap, but I know lawyers who do that when they are working on bet-the-company high stakes matters if they have to travel with the data and won’t be able to access it remotely or forward it separately to their destination.

Meanwhile, I look forward to the day when I can put a truly massive flash card in a smartphone, and expect that with that much storage, hard drives may go the way of horse and buggy.

ChimpBush McHitlerBurton says:

2TB? - Oh, the HUMANITY!

Look, I’m completely in favor of being able to access 2TB on an SD Card. Sounds great, sign me up…

…Oh, wait… You mean I will STILL have the PITIFULLY SLOW access speed that I have today? Nah, thanks anyway, I’ll just use smaller cards until you get that fixed.

I really don’t want anything over, oh, let’s say 100 gigs until the access speed issued gets addressed. Can you imagine the wait time even for that (small?) amount of data?

Transferring 2TB onto an SD card would be a weekend-long exercise at today’s speeds.

Who needs that? Not me.

james braselton says:



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