Corporate users of storage systems should join industry standards bodies or risk not being able to retrieve archived data in five to 10 years.
That was the warning from Bob Plumridge, chairman of the storage management initiative at the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Europe, speaking at the Triple i user conference last week.
"We are under-represented by end-users and we will fail if we are setting standards without user input," he told delegates.
User organisations face proliferating regulation and legislation that requires data to be kept for increasing periods of time, he added.
"Storage suppliers are less able to guarantee long-term archiving as there is no common metadata format in the storage community.
"Therefore, in five to 10 years, when there may be a demand to retrieve today's e-mails, they may not be able to provide them."
SNIA Europe is trying to address this problem by building a standard for common metadata across all information lifecycle management products.
"We need most help from users here because this is a complex area," said Plumridge.
He added that recently introduced European legislation requiring telecoms companies to keep their core billing data for two years has increased firms' storage requirements by 23 petabytes in the past six months.
"The acquisition cost of storage may be going down by 20% a year but the implementation cost, which is hidden, is rising at the rate of 60% a year," said Plumridge.
"Where do you put the extra boxes, some of which are enormous, and which use a lot of power and cooling?"
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