Server TMI: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Information?

Erin E. Harrison's picture

Just how much information, is too much information? Try this on for size: It is estimated that by 2024, enterprise servers worldwide will annually process the digital equivalent of a stack of books extending more than 4.37 light-years to Alpha Centauri, according to a report recently released by a group of scientists.

Researchers at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, authors of the “How Much Information” report, define “enterprise server information” as the flows of data processed by servers as inputs plus the flows delivered by servers as outputs. A single chunk of information, such as an email message, may flow through multiple servers and be counted multiple times.

The goal of the “How Much Information?” program is to create a census of the world’s data and information, according to the research team.

Computerworld reported that Roger Bohn, one of the report’s co-authors, compared the world’s business servers to the underwater portion of an iceberg that runs the world that we see.

“Most of this information is incredibly transient: it is created, used and discarded in a few seconds without ever being seen by a person,” Bohn, a professor of technology management at UC San Diego, told Computerworld’s Lucas Mearian.

The latest server capacity figures available, however, are nearly three years old, and don’t necessarily reflect today’s astounding, almost incomprehensible, data growth.

A few more figures for your digestion: Combined, world servers processed 9.57 zettabytes (9.57 × 10 bytes) of information in 2008, according to the report. The majority of this information (6.31 zettabytes) was processed by “entry-level” servers. “Midrange” servers processed 2.8 zettabytes, and “high-end” servers processed 451 exabytes of information. This translates to 12 gigabytes of information daily for the average worker, or about 3 terabytes of information per worker per year.

But we all know it’s not an option for managers to issue a data “last call” warning to their employees. It simply isn’t conducive to business growth.

As such, capacity planning has become an ongoing task for data center managers, as they need to evaluate whether the server, storage and network resources will be in place to handle an increasing number of requests as the number of users and transactions increase.

As a result, a growing trend for data center managers is outsourcing server needs – from small and medium companies to enterprises with thousands of servers. According to the report, Google reportedly has the largest installed base of servers in the world, estimated to be over one million.

Vernon Computer Source, for example, offers a flexible server rental option that allows you to switch your server rentals from a daily to weekly rental on a broad range of computer and peripheral equipment suitable for trade shows, events and conventions. To find out more Find out Vernon can remove your company’s technology roadblocks, fill out its FlexQuote and get a quote in one hour or call (800) 827-0352.

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