N+I: EMC's Ruettgers foresees a 'Big Bang'

Within the walls of the Georgia World Congress Center, storage is finally getting its due. Storage is being described as "the heart of the network," "the key to the kingdom in the Internet age," and as "the magic word."

EMC Corp.'s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Ruettgers, foretold of some magic of his own in his keynote address on Tuesday at the Networld+Interop Conference in Atlanta, Ga. He believes that the marriage of storage and optical networking will create a 'content Big Bang,' that will generate more wealth than the world has ever seen.

"We are at the threshold of the Big Bang," he said. "It will create more wealth and value than has ever been created in the history of this planet." Ruettgers prophesied the storage market would explode to $80 trillion..

Ruettgers likened storage and networking to two ships passing in the night, but says that that's all about to change.

"Recently we've seen a tremendous increase in storage capacity," he said. "We haven't seen that in networking capacities until now. We're finally matched up." Ruettgers added that storage and bandwidth will grow and feed off each other in a cyclical motion.

"Soon, we think we'll have a nationwide environment where we can stretch [storage] 1,000kms," said Ruettgers. He looked even further toward the ultimate creation of a global storage network. "For the first time, all information will be available all around the world," via storage and optical networks.

But first the requirements of perpetual availability, scalability, and performance; interoperability; a flexible architecture and automated, centralized management must be filled. Ruettgers said that to reach that goal, EMC will invest $2.5 billion in research and development this year and the next. "75% of that will go into software."

Ruettgers says that storage and optical networks will become one as abundant, cheap storage becomes more readily available the closer it gets to 2005. "There will be a price drop per megabyte from $.30 today to about a penny in 2005. The opportunity for EMC from a dollar standpoint goes from $44 billion to about a $100 billion."

Adding to the new list of storage catch phrases, Ruettgers predicts the advent of something called "Tommy's Terabyte". "We believe that more and more information will be stored on a personal basis." He said that personal storage by individuals and not just businesses is about to explode and that most of that individual data will not be stored on personal PCs, but rather by large companies and service providers.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

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