Aston University researchers to tackle global data storage crisis

As the data space grows, data storage solutions struggle to keep up. Experts are looking for ways to address this global data storage crisis.

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According to scientists at Aston University, the data sphere, defined by the Datasphere Initiative as the complex system encompassing all types of data and their dynamic interactions with human groups and norms, is expected to grow 300% in the next three years. Trying to find new solutions for data storage, Aston experts assure that the situation has reached global crisis levels. There’s too much information and too many storage challenges.

SEE: Cloud data storage policy (TechRepublic Premium)

To combat this upcoming data storage challenge, Aston University has received funding to explore new storage solutions. Here, we’ll cover some of the challenges they’re working to alleviate and the solutions they’ve created for their growing big data storage needs.


Data area: Challenges and opportunities

“Simply building new data centers without developing data storage technologies is not a viable solution,” said Matt Derry, a chemistry lecturer in the university’s School of Engineering and Physical Sciences. “The next three years will be crucial. The global data globe is predicted to increase to 175 zettabytes, with one zettabyte equaling approximately one billion terabytes.”

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Data storage concerns include on-premises and digital security, data loss, strained budgets, downtime, limited storage resources, poor scalability, physical and environmental damage, and energy consumption. Currently, few data storage solutions can balance the budget, capacity, and other functional requirements businesses have today.

How Aston University experts are transforming data storage

Derry and other experts at Aston University have embarked on a research program to develop a new technology that provides data storage surfaces with channels smaller than five nanometers, about 10,000 times the width of a human hair. The new format and structure is expected to increase the capacity of storage devices to cope with the amount of data the world produces every day.

Derry will work closely with materials chemistry researcher Amit Kumar Sarkar, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

“We will leverage advanced polymer chemistry as a way to increase the amount of data that can be housed in storage,” Sarkar said. “Improving the efficiency of existing technologies will significantly reduce the need to build new ‘megadata centers’ that are costly and environmentally damaging.”

SEE: Folio Photonics innovates in optical data storage for enterprise data centers (TechRepublic)

While Derry has not revealed whether the new system will be optical or magnetic, experimental devices have already created hybrid systems; polymer chemistry is fundamental to both types of devices. Polymer chemistry can increase surfaces by creating new layers, enabling systems to achieve higher data density levels.

Data storage market and trends

The Digital Storage Devices Market Size and Forecast report by Verified Market Research reveals that the industry, which was valued at $3.4 billion in 2021, is projected to reach $9.8 billion in 2030.

Digital storage devices include any medium used to store and exchange data. They are a critical component of every computing system. Digital storage devices in this market include hard disk drives, solid state drives, memory cards, floppy disks, optical disk drives such as CDs and DVDs, and USB flash drives.

Industrial sectors such as finance and banking, healthcare and genetics, information technology and manufacturing are among the fastest growing users of data storage, especially as these sectors move to new frontiers. Providers in the cloud, big data, artificial intelligence, supercomputers, business intelligence analytics, IoT, and industrial IoT and 5G technologies are also driving the industry.

SEE: Ravi Pendekanti: How Western Digital’s HDD innovation lowers total cost of ownership (TechRepublic)

Market leaders Western Digital, Transcend Information, Toshiba, Teradata Corporation, Sony, Samsung, Intel, SanDisk and Lenovo are investing heavily in research and development for new storage solutions.

The growing need for enhanced data governance and security in storage systems

The Datasphere Initiative says that despite the amount of research done into data storage product development, more than new products are needed to solve and manage the global data crisis. The organization explains that policies, governance, compliance and regulations are essential for the new data age.

Additionally, new data technologies will inevitably need to be resistant to data security. The complex global cyber threat landscape, increasing data and privacy regulations, and consumers demanding that businesses and organizations manage data professionally and ethically are key factors that cannot be ignored by the data storage industry.

Read next: Best data recovery software (TechRepublic)

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