Belfast Telegraph

Dell takes a $67bn punt on our reliance on data storage

By Adrian Weckler

How often do you use your phone for online stuff? Facebook? Email? Looking things up on Google? The answer is probably more and more.

This is one reason why Dell is paying $67bn (£43.7bn) to buy EMC. Michael Dell is taking an almighty punt on the future being a zillion times more data-intensive than it is now. He's had a good look at the rollout of fibre broadband and 4G networks and reckons all this data needs somewhere to live.

On this point, he's right.

In Ireland, the average person's mobile data usage in Ireland is now over 2GB per month and doubling every year. We've stopped capping home wi-fi services for things like Netflix, YouTube and anything else that we and our kids now do, but usage here is soaring too. At the last count, UPC's (now Virgin Media) average customer monthly data level was coming in at about 30GB. It has probably risen significantly since then.

And at work, more and more of the stuff we do every day needs greater data flow management capacity. It's not just email and documents - the underlying basis of everything your computer now does simply needs more power and storage.

And every time Intel comes out with a new chip (which is every year) or Apple boosts its iPhone screen and camera (which is every year) or movie networks increase their speeds and geographical reach (which is every year), it results in all of us pinging bigger, more sophisticated files around the place.

So where does all this data go? Who's managing it? Who's paying for it?

Few of us think about this. We all imagine it's like air - it just happens. But any time there's a glitch or a problem - often caused by 'old' (maybe only three or four years old) systems being overwhelmed by our daily datagasms - it disrupts our lives in a pretty big way.

This is partly why Michael Dell is grabbing the chance to seize one of the world's top data storage companies. He reckons we're only waking up to the fact that our lives are becoming vast data-consuming engines. And someone needs to take charge of arranging it all.

Belfast Telegraph