Am I the only one to notice that the two big trends of the day, cloud computing and mobile tech, seem to have so little to do with the core issues that concern IT professionals?
While the guys at Gartner and Forrester dream of other things, at InfoWorld we've given a name to the most pervasive underlying trend in all of IT: the enterprise data explosion.
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You've heard the basic IDC stat, which sounds like a malign inversion of Moore's Law: Data doubles every 18 months. And the explosion shows no sign of abating. New compliance regulations in the wake of the global financial meltdown will likely mandate even more data retention, while the imperative to digitize health care records in the United States will prompt a fresh set of storage requirements. With the cost of disk space at an all-time low and the vagaries of compliance laws compelling businesses to "save everything" as a brute force method to reduce risk, enterprises are adding capacity at an astounding rate.
IDC analysts predict that unstructured data will grow at twice the rate of conventional structured data held in databases. By 2010, this "dark matter," so named due to the challenge of extracting useful information from raw data, will make up the majority of all enterprise data stored.
Most of that dark matter comes in the form of security, network, and system event logs. Almost everything that happens in a business is recorded in a log file, making the search and analysis of that data an essential part of managing, securing, and auditing how a company's technology infrastructure is used. Logs are key to many forms of regulatory compliance (PCI, SOX, FISMA, HIPAA) and are a source business intelligence just waiting to be tapped -- think Web servers and CRM systems.
A number of tools now help IT search and analyze log files, including products from AlertLogic, ArcSight, LogLogic, LogRhythm, RSA Security, Sensage, and splunk. ArcSight and RSA also sell leading SEM (security event management) systems, which collect event log data across network and security devices, correlating network events in real time to identify security threats as they happen. SEM solutions collect vast amounts of event data and provide reporting tools for mining it.