What is data proliferation?

“Data proliferation” is an umbrella term that concerns itself with the sheer number of files and the amount of data stored by entities such as governments and companies. The massive amount of data arriving daily means these entities need more space and hardware, but the proliferation of data is moving faster than computer advances in 2011. It doesn’t matter what kind of information is stored – whether it’s structured or no; all that matters is that the computer’s memory is being occupied. Storing all this data can be difficult, leading to extra costs. Another problem with data proliferation is that the network on which the data is stored and all associated programs tend to slow down.

When a large entity needs more memory, it should typically get more servers.

The problem of data proliferation does not readily concern consumers and average computer users. While average computer users have demanded more memory over time, computers have been able to advance at a rate that satisfies those needs. When it comes to companies, governments and other entities that collect massive data on a daily basis, however, the problem of data proliferation can manifest itself.

If an average computer user needs more memory, they usually get a larger hard drive. When a large entity needs more memory, it should typically get more servers. At a normal rate this shouldn’t present a problem, but many large entities in 2011 are storing increasing amounts of data at rates that surpass technology, and large numbers of servers may be needed to maintain everything the entity needs to store. That’s because computer technology is not yet capable of making a device capable of containing all the information, which means that a large entity must continue to buy and use more and more hardware.

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Some data terms or issues pertain to only one type of information. When it comes to data proliferation, however, it doesn’t matter what kind of data is involved. As long as the computer’s memory is occupied at a fast rate, data proliferation will become a problem.

One of the many problems with data proliferation is cost. In addition to the cost of extra storage hardware, there are also physical storage and human resource costs. Servers must be placed somewhere and people must be hired to operate them, resulting in costs that could theoretically become too much for an entity to sustain and lead to drastically reduced profits. Another issue concerns network speed, because clogging up data can cause programs to move much slower, which means employees can work less during a workday.

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