Climbing Mobile Data Rates Reveal Future Storage Capacity Problems...

Mobile data traffic

Posted on Wednesday, July 1, 2015

An ABI Research report released this week estimates that global annual 4G mobile data traffic will reach nearly 225 exabytes by 2020, making up 79% of all data consumption in the process. 4G bandwidth increases are allowing mobile users to be connected and productive more of the time, even as the volume of actual voice calls falls.

But the increase in mobile activity will undoubtedly correspond with a matching demand for more data storage. Corporations, especially those bound by stringent regulatory and compliance frameworks, will be called upon to store vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, and provide a mechanism for backing it all up.

A frustrating, expensive challenge

Perhaps most frustrating is the fact that much of this unstructured data will never be used profitably, retained instead for peripheral Big Data operations, or to satisfy the demands of auditors and regulators. The CTO will be charged with implementing new capacity that can cope with increasing storage needs and makes information available “just in case”.

Factor in the OEM-mandated product and maintenance lifecycles however, and the rising cost of keeping storage hardware up-to-date quickly becomes unsustainable. Instead the CTO will need to segment corporate datasets so that frequently used data is served via the newest hardware, and less important, archive-like information is retained on the oldest.

How to increase capacity more cost-effectively

The only affordable way to achieve this is by extending the product lifecycle, using third party post-warranty maintenance services to keep legacy hardware in operation. Businesses will then able to reduce capital expenditure on new hardware, and to take advantage of lower cost spares, helping increase “legacy” capacity for far less than the newest equivalent.

One other observation

Although the surge in data traffic is a positive, profitable outcome for 4G telecoms providers, they too will face new storage challenges. Responsible for recording details of every call and message passing through their network, telcos will need to rapidly expand their storage capacity to cope.

Fortunately the same advice applies – post-warranty hardware can be pushed back into service to provide cost-effective archiving and backup, freeing up cash for investment elsewhere.

The future may be mobile, but End of Service Life (EoSL) hardware may be about to become an important business asset.