Packing it all away

Packing it all away

In a perfect world, email inboxes would be no more than a megabyte, important attachments would be immediately archived in an appropriate location and there wouldn't be a copy of the 'sexiest swimwear 2006' PowerPoint presentation on just about every company computer.

But, thankfully for the storage channel, the world isn't perfect and email inboxes are usually treated as cavernous repositories of unstructured data, leaving even the most committed mid-level IT managers battling against entropy on company servers.

And that isn't all that is adding to the storage channel's workload.

Often running a small internal IT team compared to larger counterparts, small-to-medium businesses rely fairly heavily on technology partners.

Such companies are also increasingly dependant on technologies that require increasingly large amounts of digital storage.

While email and e-commerce packages are perhaps the most obvious contributors, applications associated with research, post-production, finance and healthcare often need large quantities of rapidly accessible storage in order to function effectively.

Working at the coalface of storage implementations in the mid-sector, principal of IT reseller and integrator, Computer Information Agency, Robert Crane, has no doubt what's driving the market for storage.

"The biggest issue all these companies face is that we all now live by our email," he said. "These days, companies would rather loose access to their telephone than loose access to their email servers. At the same time, most users are very reticent to prune the data generated by their emails. They want to keep as much as they can for as long as they can."

Then there are increasing regulatory requirements, which impact the length of time certain information needs to be kept, and mandating for disaster recovery plans.

"In the future, how companies store emails will become a significant compliance issue," Crane said. "There are now some companies in the mid-sector which keep data in some kind of regular fashion because they are suppliers to larger listed companies that insist on accountability. Eventually it will be mandated by law and everyone will have to comply."

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