How Social Networking is affecting storage

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Social media research
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The past few years have seen a huge increase in the use of social networking technologies, from Facebook and Twitter to blogs and wikis. In fact, market research company, Nielsen carried out a study and found that US-based Internet users had spent an average of more than six hours on sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter during May 2010 alone. This increasing trend is set to hit the East Africa. The Nielsen research also showed that 75 percent of all active US Internet households visited a social networking site at some point during the month of May and that around one-fifth of American adults publish online or own a blog, and 55 percent have at least one or more social net working profiles. At the same time, both organisations and government entities worldwide are also increasingly turning to social networking to facilitate communication and collaboration among individuals and groups. Unfortunately, while there are clear benefits to this greater communication, social networks also present a number of challenges. As businesses become increasingly involved in implementing these types of interactive technologies, they have to completely rethink their approaches to storage. This rapid growth in online demands is fuelling the need for storage, particularly in light of the fact that the data generated is not transactional in nature, but rather fixed content, as people include photos, videos and audio. The organisations running these networking sites must ensure that they can offer constant business availability to meet the demands of users – who want access and want it now. It really boils down to availability, be it on a business or a social level, where the applications are hosted and what type of disaster recovery plans are in place. The key to redefining storage strategy is for companies to ensure that their IT infrastructure doesn’t become crippled through the downloading and storage of this type of data and that capacity planning is always kept in mind. An integral part of this is looking at the factors that aid business continuity, from power and cooling to software management, and making certain that measures have been taken to maintain availability from these perspectives. After all, something as simple as a power outage or an overheating data centre could cause downtime and, ultimately, unhappy users. By Jonathan Duncan, director for the Central and North East Africa region at APC by Schneider Electric

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