Economics of Information Storage: The Value in Storing the Long Tail
James Hughes, Apple
We have witnessed a 50 million-fold increase in hard disk drive density without a similar increase in performance. How can this unbalanced growth be possible? Can it continue? Can similar unbalanced growth happen in other media? To answer these questions we contrast the value of information storage services with the value of physical storage services. We describe a methodology that separates the costs of capturing, storing and accessing information, and we will show that these aspects of storage systems are independent of each other. We provide arguments for what can happen if the cost of storage continues to decrease. The conclusions are three-fold. First, as capacity of any storage media grows, there is no inherent requirement that performance increase at the same rate. Second, the value of increased capacity devices can be quantified. Third, as the cost of storing information approaches zero, the quantity of information stored will grow without limit.
James has 40 years of experience working at companies that include Apple, Seagate, Sun Microsystems, and StorageTek during which time he had over 50 patents issued. He is a recognized industry expert in the areas of storage, networking, information security and cryptography and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at UC Santa Cruz.