Archive for the 'Information' Category

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Obama Inauguration: Info Extravaganza


This was not your grandfather’s Inauguration.

Grandpa might have listened over the radio, your parents viewed it on television, but this generation viewed/participated in it through so many different media.

In my article on the History of Inauguration Day, I said that:

…the event will be covered simultaneously by networks, live Internet streaming video, as well as coverage via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, blogs, and Hulu… It will not be just the number of people who are physically present at the Inauguration, many times the 30K at Lincoln’s swearing in. Consider the amount of information that will be generated, distributed, replicated, commented upon, redistributed, and repurposed — much of it in real-time for those “virtually” attending. From high-resolution video to low-bandwidth text messages, from long webcasts to short SMS messages, the cables and airwaves will be lit up. As the first “wired” — or is it wireless — President Barack Obama gives his inauguration speech, American’s heads will be in the Internet cloud.

Personally, I was watching it on TV, while on my iPhone tracking Twitter and Let’s look at some of the statistics of the online information available.

On Inauguration Day, by early afternoon:


  • Claimed it served almost 19 million live video streams, almost four times the feeds of Election Day
  • Obama’s Facebook Fan Page has more than 4 million fans and in excess of 500,000 wall posts
  • CNN had served 13.9 million live video streams globally since 6am
  • CNN had broken its all time total daily streaming record (from Election Day) of 5.3 million live streams.


  • Had a partnership with CNN, as well as a number of “applications” enabling participation with the event. They claimed:
  • 600,000 status updates posted through the Live Facebook feed
  • Averaged 4,000 status updates per minute during the broadcast
  • 8,500 status updates were posted during the first minute of Obama’s speech
  • “Millions” of people logged into Facebook during the broadcast



  • Had a variety of feeds, available in different formats


  • Did a PhotoSynth of the Inauguration inviting anyone to send in their photos which would be stiched into a virtual 3D representation of the The Moment. Scores of people sent in multi-megabyte files.

How did you participate in the Inauguration?

Thanks for coming along.

Cloud Optimized Storage: Atmos

In 1969 during the original Star Trek TV show, The Cloud Minders episode featured Stratos, a city in the clouds. Today, EMC launches Atmos, cloud optimized storage. This is not science fiction, but the realization of much work on managing very large amounts of data “in the cloud.” Having been in the hands of customers since early Summer, this offering is intended to manage massive amounts of Internet-based information. How massive? Petabytes to begin with.

Forecast: Cloudy?

“Cloud computing” is a very popular topic right now, and there is often more heat than light shed on the subject. EMC releases Atmos at a time when many others are still debating over cloud computing and arguing whether it is or is not grid computing, software as a service, outsourcing, or Web 2.0-based data.

The Atmos sphere

What does Atmos encompass? First, it is different than simply block-based Storage Area Networks (SAN), file-based Network Accessed Storage (NAS), or even object-based Content Addressed Storage (CAS). EMC introduced CAS in the Spring of 2002 with the launch of Centera, part of an object-based archiving and compliance solution. As revolutionary as this was half a decade ago, so too is COS today.

  • Massive Scalability

Global manageability through a namespace, regardless of geographical location. Multi-tenancy means that different tenants could store their unique information objects in their own private namespace under the Atmos namespace.

  • Policy Based Information Management

Information can be managed by policy, and automatically acted upon by business rules for the metadata that defines the policy. For example, if an object conforms to a policy of “popular”, it could be replicated appropriately to deliver better service levels to users. When demand drops off and it becomes less “popular” the number of copies could be automatically pruned.

  • Operational Efficiency

Whether it’s a drive, server, or network — all of this can be seen and managed from a single console.


There are many excellent articles available already that explain this in greater detail. Check out Chuck Hollis at Chuck’s Blog, Mark Twomey at Storagezilla, Steve Todd at Information Playground, Dave Spencer at Dave Talks Shop, Dave Graham at Dave Graham’s Weblog, and Len Devanna’s summary.

Thanks for coming along.

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.