Can the Internet Run Out of Space?

The world is increasingly dependent on technology to function. Laptops, cell phones, and the growing IoT make our everyday lives easier. But whenever we send a text, share a tweet, or search Google, we’re creating massive amounts of data.

Data is what makes the world go round—without it, entire industries could cease to function. While global internet failure is unlikely, the longevity of our data creation speed is a cause for concern. Is the world creating more data than the internet can hold?

Can the Internet Run Out of Space?

Technically, no. The internet in the way most people understand it cannot run out of space. The internet simply refers to the network of connections between other computers. The amount of data storage on the internet is as limitless as its connections around the world. Still, all that data needs to be stored somewhere. And that’s where our current data storage technology is facing an impending problem. The world’s data storage systems have evolved drastically over the past decades. Today, personal hard drives, large data storage centers, and the cloud are the data storage options of choice for the majority of internet users. But with over 1,700 terabytes of data created every minute, those storage options will soon run out of space. That’s why technology companies are rushing to be the storage option the world will soon desperately need. Here are five emerging technologies hoping to fix our data storage crisis.

Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording

Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) may be the next step in hard-drive focused data storage. HAMR uses lasers to spot-heat small sections of the computer’s internal disk platters to 400 degrees Celsius (or 750 degrees Fahrenheit) before writing data. Heating the disk changes the magnetic coercivity of that section long enough to write that data in a much smaller section than traditional methods. Once the disk cools down, the data becomes secure until heated back up again.By decreasing the disk’s magnetic fields just long enough to write the data, HAMR can store much more information on a single disk than before. In order to record all of the books ever written (approximately 400 TB), you would only need to store it on 20 HAMR devices. This data storage option is close to being commercially available and can hold 20 TB of memory.

Helium Disk Drives

Helium disk drives

Other high-capacity disk drives are vying to beat the cloud’s growing reign on data storage. Helium disk drives are already commercially available. By hermetically sealing helium gas (which is about one-seventh the density of air) inside the hard drive, it drastically reduces the internal friction from the drive’s spinning disks. That decreased internal friction lowers the electrical power needed to maintain a stable temperature, allowing more disks to be safely stored in the drive. Their cooler running temperature, high-efficiency, and easy integration make helium disk drives a technology to watch.

DNA Data Storage

Every piece of data today can be distilled into strings of one ones and zeros, or the binary system. DNA storage encodes data in a similar way. Rather than using the binary system, scientists have found a way to encode data using DNA’s quaternary system made up of the body’s four base nucleotides: A, T, C, and G. Since one gram of DNA has the ability to store up to 215 petabytes of data, scientists are hopeful that this system can help fix the world’s data storage concerns. There are a few issues scientists need to work out before DNA data storage becomes universally adopted. The process of encoding and decoding data into a readable format is a painstaking process that requires scientists for every step. Since DNA storage has only been used in lab settings and using relatively small amounts of data (like an OK Go music video and Project Gutenberg’s Top 100 Books), they’re nowhere near the amount of storage the world will need. The manpower and cost of this extremely hands-on process need to be figured out before this storage system is adopted on a global scale.

5D Nanotechnology Glass

Glass etching has been around as an art form for hundreds of years. But scientists have figured out how to store data in glass etchings using a method called five-dimensional data storage. Rather than store data on flat surfaces like CDs, lasers can create tiny physical 5D structures inside the glass called “nanogratings”. Computers read this data by looking at the nanograting’s orientation, its location on the x, y, and z axes, and the strength of the nanograting’s light refraction. One standard-sized glass disk can store up to 360 terabytes of data, won’t degrade for 13.8 billion years, and can withstand temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius. While 5D glass may not work for simple hot data retrieval, it’s a solid solution for cold data and archival storage.

Quantum Data Storage

Quantum data storage

Another technology hoping to become the next step in data storage seems like it came straight from a sci-fi novel: quantum computing. Quantum computers could use the properties of quantum physics to go through data in real-time. Computers today use the binary system with “bits” of data stored as strings of ones and zeroes. Quantum computing uses quantum bits, or “qubits” which are stored in a superpositioned state where they can be simultaneously both one and zero. Being in an infinite number of states at once allows quantum computers to perform exponentially more calculations at a faster speed. The problem is that quantum physics, in essence, is about particles behaving in unstable and unpredictable ways. Scientists at this point have only been able to store qubits for less than a second before they become unstable. This form of data storage is still in its infancy and has only been tested within lab settings. It may take decades before any quantum memory becomes available to the public sector. But if it does work, it has the ability to hold massive amounts of data.

What’s Next?

Woman looking at her phone

While the world isn’t at a point yet where it needs to be worried about a “Datageddon”, or an overload of data that causes the internet to collapse, it does need to be concerned about what the next widely-adopted evolution of data storage will be. Data creation is growing exponentially. It’s clear to scientists and the general public that the current model of massive data storage centers is not sustainable. Some of the above options may be more applicable to a global market than others—but right now, the race to find the next data storage solution is anyone’s game.

Hot Storage vs Cold Data Storage

What’s the difference? Hot and Cold Data Storage

“Hot storage” and “cold storage” are common data management terms, however, their exact definitions can often be ambiguous.

There’s no hard and fast definition for each term. And while companies use the terms differently, the general meaning tends to stay the same.

What is hot storage?

Hot data storage refers to stored data that’s delivered quickly and is readily available for immediate use in day-to-day business activities. Hot storage holds data that needs to be available right away.

What is cold storage?

Cold storage refers to stored data that’s seldom accessed and typically has slow retrieval times. This data isn’t accessible at a moment’s notice from the provider.

Using temperature to describe the different types of data storage likely came from how data used to be stored. Data that was used right away was held on spinning hard drives, while data that wasn’t often needed was kept physically on tapes and disks away from daily activities in storage. The actual temperature of these storage mediums would have been hot and cold, respectively.

Seeing where the temperature terminology may have started can give us an insight into why there’s ambiguity today on the usage of the terms. Both hot and cold data storage have dramatically evolved in the past decades. All types of data storage have “warmed up” and even cold storage today is significantly more accessible than in the days of tape. But, the terminology remains.

While uncommon for major data storage providers to store your data on tape; the hot and cold terminology remains a common way to describe different storage tiers, speeds, and offerings. Understanding more about these terms can be helpful in understanding and comparing various storage providers.

Hot Storage

Today, hot storage refers to the “hot data” you and your business need immediately. This data is vital to daily operations and actions. There can be little to no delay, and it often needs to be accessed by many people, sometimes simultaneously.

Providing this kind of availability and access requires expensive, high-grade storage technology, both in software and hardware. Hot storage requires costly and powerful servers. Many businesses choose to outsource this server management due to the cost, upkeep, and maintenance of such systems.

Examples of modern hot storage solutions include Microsoft’s Azure Blob Storage, Amazon S3, and Google Cloud Storage. These platforms are famously expensive.

Regardless of what kind of hardware is chosen, be it solid-state drives, or traditional hard drives, hot data storage demands lightning-fast and consistent response times.

Cold Storage

Not all data needs to be accessed with regularity. Old financial records, legal and HR documents, and other historical data needs to be maintained but are seldom – if ever – accessed. For this “cold data,” cold storage is the recommended course of action.

Cold storage prices are usually much lower than active, hot storage. It’s typically retrieved so infrequently that users have monthly costs for storage and an additional retrieval cost per set of requests. Often, uploading is free.

For example, if you were trying to store ten terabytes of data, Amazon Glacier will allow you to upload data for free. The stored data rate currently sits at 0.4 cents per gigabyte per month and will run you $40 a month. If you were trying to store the same amount of data in Amazon S3 Standard, you would pay $230 a month. This means that Amazon Glacier storage is 82.6% cheaper than their comparable hot storage. But, if you wanted an expedited export of all ten terabytes, it would cost $300 in expedited retrieval fees alone.

With the distance and inaccessibility of cold storage data, the term is sometimes used to describe storage models that are purely offline. Physical hard drives and disks that are stored in an offsite data center and require physical retrieval to access.

Warming Up

It’s important to remember that not every data storage platform sits squarely into a hot/cold comparison. In fact, most data storage systems are somewhere in between.

As newer technologies, hardware, and software are adopted, the baseline performance for “inexpensive data storage” rises. Today, there are many storage solutions that offer partial higher-end, hot storage features at a lower cost. These “warm data storage” options are becoming increasingly popular, and many businesses are choosing to move away from cold, archival storage altogether in favor of low cost, mid-tier, options from cloud data storage providers.

Unique Businesses, Unique Solutions

Every business today creates data, and every business will need to address how to store its data. Exactly which solution is the best fit for you depends on your cost limits, data needs, and complexity.

If you’d like to learn more about our low-cost hot-storage option, Polycloud Standard, or our cold storage option, Polycloud Archive, you can learn more here.

Have questions? Reach out, and we’ll get in touch!

Data Created Every Minute

How much data does the world create every minute?

Data usage and creation are on the rise. When trying to understand just how much data exists in the world, the numbers quickly become unhelpfully large.

This is because data creation is growing exponentially. 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years alone! And it’s expected that moving forward, our volume of data created will double every two years.

To better understand how much data we create, we’ve made an infographic showing just how much some of the largest companies are handling every minute of the day.

Multicloud

Multi-Provider. Multi-Benefit.

Here at CrowdStorage, we employ a cutting edge mutlicloud storage strategy through our distributed data storage solution, Polycloud.

What is a Multicloud Strategy?

Multicloud is the use of multiple cloud computing or storage technologies (such as Amazon S3, Google Cloud Services, and Microsoft Azure) simultaneously to better meet your cloud service needs. This approach can help reduce dependence on any single cloud provider and help deliver the benefits of each platform to the user.

Exactly how multicloud is implemented is often as unique as the businesses that use it. You may be considering multicloud as a way to optimize your cloud computing — or you might want to improve the privacy and reliability of your data storage. Both cases can benefit from multicloud but will differ in implementation, complexity, and outcomes.

Here at CrowdStorage, we’re focused on cutting-edge storage solutions. This article will give an overview of multicloud in general but will make a note where the strategy may differ by use case.

What is the difference between a hybrid cloud and multicloud?

Multicloud is often confused with hybrid cloud. They are similar concepts, but they both have unique and distinct definitions.

Hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud refers to the combination of a private and public cloud. A private cloud is a computing or storage service hosted on the internet or a private internal network available to approved users. A public cloud is a computing or storage service hosted by a third party like Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure. Using a combination of these two cloud types (private and public) would be a hybrid cloud.

Multicloud

Multicloud consists of using multiple public clouds for computing or storage services. If a company is using a combination of Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud Platform, it would be using a multicloud approach.

Multi/Hybrid cloud

Using multiple public cloud services and a private cloud together constitutes a multi/hybrid cloud approach.

What are the key multicloud benefits?

There’s a variety of benefits available to using this approach. Here are some of the benefits that are common to multicloud architectures.

Choice

Using multiple cloud providers allows users to take advantage of the best that each platform has to offer. Cloud provider feature sets, with their pros and cons, are unique. With this approach, you can meet the needs of your particular situation. This benefit is most noticeable in computing use cases.

Durability

With your data distributed among multiple regions and cloud providers, it’s safer than ever before. In the event of a significant provider outage, your data can be accessed, and downtime can be minimized.

Privacy

Your data is distributed among multiple public clouds. Usually, no single provider holds all your data. Polycloud by CrowdStorage offers additional privacy protections where your data is encrypted, fragmented, and distributed among public clouds.

Compliance

Multicloud architectures can help companies meet their risk management, compliance, and governance regulations. Maybe you need your data stored in or excluded from a specific region. With a multicloud, meeting those requirements is easier.

Region Support

Most providers only commit to 99.9% uptime—which equates to roughly 40 minutes of downtime a month. By storing data redundantly across multiple providers, a multicloud method can deliver much better uptime.

Multicloud Downsides

Multicloud is a powerful cloud strategy. But can introduce new challenges, especially if you’re using the architecture for computing purposes. Your use case and its accompanying problems must be considered.

Complexity

A multicloud computing deployment, by definition, increases the complexity of a cloud computing system. The increase in system complexity will require additional management efforts both in terms of system deployment and administration.

Cost

An in-house multicloud deployment can sometimes lead to increased costs. The approach uses two or more cloud service providers instead of one, so the benefits must be considered and weighed with the increased costs.

Performance

Having multiple services interact and rely on another can increase latency. Balancing loads among different clouds can be difficult, especially when, geographically, they’re far apart.

Polycloud – Multicloud by CrowdStorage

As you can see, multicloud can be a powerful option that businesses should consider when evaluating their computing and storage needs. Polycloud by CrowdStorage, with its multicloud strategy, offers multi-region support, enhanced privacy, higher availability, and improved durability, at a significantly lower cost than a traditional cloud provider.

Polycloud uses multicloud alongside a unique distributed storage methodology to provide an affordable, premium storage solution. Our distributed technology stores fractions of your files to multiple cloud providers resulting in more security, privacy, availability, built-in data redundancy, and geographic distribution.

With CrowdStorage, your data is safe. You get increased protection from events that disrupt traditional data centers and more robust storage for critical information without the weaknesses inherent to a conventional cloud-based system.

Through Polycloud, the downsides that often accompany multicloud are addressed. Polycloud storage uses one architecture (addressing complexity), delivers higher levels of privacy and availability (addressing performance) all for a fraction of the cost of large name brands.

If you’d like to see how Polycloud can help you, join our beta today!

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