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Can There Really Be Such a Thing as “Unlimited” Email Archiving?

June 7, 2010

I was inspired to write this post by two things:

  1. A user on the Novell Cool Solutions forums named FlyingGuy, who has made his dislike of cloud computing very clear in his comments to these two posts: 5 Advantages of Archiving and Archiving Saved my IT Department
  2. I found some really cool infographics that I wanted to share.

Let’s get to it then: The post on Novell Cool Solutions entitled, 5 Advantages to Hosted GroupWise Archiving, lists “Unlimited Storage” as one of the advantages. FlyingGuy commented by saying, yeah “and I have some beach front property to sell you in Florida just as soon as the tide goes out.” I’ll give the guy some credit; the comment made me laugh. However, I would like to address his comment by explaining that, while the use of the word “unlimited” may be technically limited by laws of physics, when put into perspective, the cloud can “relatively” allow Sonian to offer “unlimited” email archiving storage… and not only “when the tide goes out.”

World Population ExplosionI am going to use the analogy of the earth and its population to try and illustrate my point. The year 1400 AD was the last time the earth’s population actually declined. Since then, the world population has shown exponential growth. In 1804, the world population was estimated at 1 Billion, and when you read the history books, you get the impression that the people believed the world had so much to offer, with so many untapped, seemingly unlimited resources. But the population has EXPLODED, and by 2011 the world population is expected to reach 7 BILLION! All these people are making our “unlimited” resources suddenly seem limited. As a result, our society has very recently moved from a consumption society, to a conservation society, with the advent of the “go green” movement. Is this a case where “unlimited” reached its limits? Hardly. Earth is a big place, but let’s put it in perspective: [insert awesome infographic #1]

Earth is small

That is just one image from this infographic that shows just how infinite space really is. Furthermore, since we should only assume that there are more resources out there for us in the infinitum of space, then we are really only limited by our technology, and our ability to adapt to the adage “the sky is the limit” at a rate that matches our physical growth.

Now let’s look at computing. Compare our computer usage to world population. It is growing exponentially. Just two weeks ago I presented a statistic from December 2009 that said we tweet more than 5 Million times a day. In the comments, somebody argued that number was far too small. I did some research and found that number to have increased to roughly 50 Million tweets per day. There is a lot of information being produced, can technology keep up with this trend better than it has with population growth? Can cloud computing?

1985 hard driveWell, the CEO of Microsoft is seeing exponential growth in the cloud, but that is just one man’s opinion, so let’s look at in by the numbers. In 1985, a 40 MB hard drive cost $40,000 and was the size of an engine block. Now you can purchase a 1 Terabyte hard drive the size of a shoe for less than $80. FYI, 1 TB is over 1,000,000 MB. That is a good improvement I’d say. Furthermore – according to Awesome Infographic #3 entitled “How Big is a Yottabyte?” – a petabyte (Awesome Infographic #4) can fit into two data center cabinets. Each cabinet is 16 servers. CloudScaling.com estimates Amazon’s cloud to be roughly 40,000 servers. That is roughly 2,500 Petabytes. 2,500 Petabytes is 2.56 Million Terrabytes, that is 2.62 Billion GB.

Sonian’s average user takes up about 1-to-4 GB of storage space depending on vertical. That means that, on average, users use less than 1/1,048,000,000th of Amazon’s current (but ever growing, and VERY roughly estimated) storage capacity. So when Sonian offers “Unlimited” storage – we mean it, because when the average user’s data usage is put into perspective, Sonian’s data storage capabilities for email, social media, IM, and SMS can seem truly limitless.

Market Report: SaaS Email Archiving Gains Momentum

ESG Market Report on Email ArchivingDownload the Free ESG Market Report: SaaS-based Email Archiving Momentum Continues.

“Recent ESG research suggests e-mail archiving is becoming a “must have” technology and all indicators point to SaaS-based solutions growing in popularity for companies of all sizes…”

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