Monthly Archive for October, 2008

CLARiiON co-stars in Body of Lies

Last week I saw the new Ridley Scott spy thriller Body of Lies. Scott has made a number of movies in recent years starring Academy Award winner Russell Crowe, including Gladiator, A Good Year, and American Gangster. In this film Crowe co-stars with Leonardo DiCaprio, and additional co-stars who are even more flashy.

EMC loaned Warner Brothers six Symmetrix DMX-3 and nine CLARiiON systems. These were featured in a particularly intense negotiation scene in the film, situated in the US Embassy in Amman, Jordan. The arrays were originally configured to be be fully working, but proved to be too loud for the sound man on the set. So instead, the systems were “powered” with LEDs behind their bezels to light up the display and drop lights to illuminate the fronts. Ridley Scott liked to look of the EMC systems and in the scene above, during a very tense phone conversation you can see the colorful systems, the co-stars behind the stars.

Information Growing Exponentially

Exponential GrowthWhy Info Exponential? Because information is growing faster right now than it ever has in history.

Much of it is coming from so called “end users” like you and me. IDC estimates 70% will come from individual creation by 2010. Personally, I create a data wake, or digital footprint of about 10 gigabytes a day — including all my emails, digital photos, TV DVR recordings, cell phone usage, Internet use and “click stream”, even pictures of me by airport surveillance cameras. That can add up. How fast? This counter below shows how much information I’ve created directly or indirectly since the beginning of the year:

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But this is just me. Consider the wider population and their contribution to the “digital shadow.” What if you add all of them up? IDC calculated that in 2007 the digital shadow was about 281 exabytes or 281 billion gigabytes. This counter shows the current results:

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Would you like to calculate your digital shadow? Check out the personal digital footprint calculator at EMC’s website here.

But this growth is not just incremental, it’s accelerating. There is a group of people who Gartner Research calls “Generation Virtual.” Unlike previous generations, who are usually defined by age, Generation V, regardless of:

gender, social demographic or geography … demonstrated achievement, accomplishments and an increasing preference for the use of digital media channels to discover information, build knowledge and share insights.

This generation is growing, and changing. My own use, consumption, and generation of information has changed, even over the last few years.

2003I recall a research project conducted at the University of California, Berkeley and sponsored by EMC Corporation — just five years ago — that concluded the following:

  • The amount of new information stored on paper, film, optical and magnetic media reached about five exabytes – or 5 million terabytes – in 2002, compared to about half that in 1999.
  • Some 92 percent of new information is stored on magnetic media, primarily hard drives.
  • New information flowing electronically on radio, television and the Internet in 2002 totaled nearly 18 exabytes.
  • The phone accounts for the largest percentage of information flow, with e-mail placing second.
  • While original information on paper continues to grow, most comes in the form of office documents and mail – not books, newspapers and journals.
  • Worldwide production of books increased by 2 percent in the last year.
  • Production of newspapers in the last year decreased by 2 percent.
  • The United States produces 35 percent of all print material, 40 percent of the images and more than half of the digitally stored material.
  • Peer-to-peer file sharing has exploded, and MP3 music files and digital video accounted for 70 percent of the files on the hard disks of users who participate in online file exchanges.
  • Globally, the average Internet user spends 11.5 hours online per month, but the average Internet user in the United States spends more than twice that amount.

Remember, this information is 5 years old!

This blog intends to cover subjects that address the phenomenon of exponentially explosive information growth, and EMC‘s leadership role in addressing it.

Welcome aboard, and fasten your seat belt low and tight across your lap.




Eagle Eye on EMC DMX

EMC on the Set of This weekend, I saw producer Steven Spielberg’s latest #1 blockbuster Eagle Eye. In a particularly exciting scene, the cameras flashed to the front of a some impressive looking information processing equipment. When they needed equipment to represent the super-computer named ARIA, they used EMC’s DMX arrays. The “Direct Matrix” Symmetrix storage systems are indeed the most powerful platforms one would think of, and an outstanding visual selection for the movie as well. As you can see along the left wall in the picture, they have a next generation look that fits in well with the sophistication of the set used to represent the super-computer complex.

In the movie, ARIA is located far below the Pentagon and contains a phenomenal amount of surveillance information. What better platform than the DMX to store, manage and protect this information? So, how much information storage are we talking about? If these DMX arrays were filled and powered on, they would represent multiple petabytes of information. What’s a petabyte? If we put it in perspective, according to Wikipedia:

  • The Internet Archive contains almost 2 petabytes of data.
  • Google processes about 20 petabytes of data a day
  • The 4 experiments in the Large Hadron Collider will produce about 15 petabytes of data per year, which will be distributed over the LHC Computing Grid
  • 88 petabytes is the storage capacity of Star Trek’s android “Data”

The movie production company got 30 DMX arrays which were lifted by crane into the massive set, situated inside large airplane hangers that once housed Howard Hughes’ airplane The Spruce Goose in Playa Vista, Southern California. You can see all the photos on Flickr here.

Eagle Eye (2008) PosterEagle Eye is a dramatic techno-thriller that opened in late September as a standard film as well as an IMAX movie. And, as the subject of the movie is concerned with mobile devices, there is a mobile version of the Eagle Eye: the Mobile Game available on a variety of BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Java powered devices.

B2D and TiVo

image While giving a talk to a group of sales reps in New York, we were discussing the concepts of Backup to Disk (B2D) and Virtual Tape Libraries (EMC Disk Library). Some of these folks were quite experienced as sales reps, but didn’t quite understand the value proposition of the Disk Library.

At one point, the conversation got around to the Yankees, as I imagine often happens in NYC, and the Sales Manager said,

“Yeah, I’m going to TiVoTM the game tonight so I don’t miss it while I am taking the train home.”

I asked the group, knowingly,

“How many of you use TiVo or other Digital Video Recorders?”

Most of the hands went up.

“Would you ever go back to using VCR tape recording?”

Universal “No’s” came back.

I continued,

“That’s what backing up to disk is all about. You get the benefits of speed, faster seeking, instant playback, etc…”

You could see the lights going on in their eyes.

I love it when that happens.