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Social Networking sites to give Storage headaches

Paul Strong, research scientist at online retail giant eBay, acknowledges that social networking requires a whole new storage paradigm.

"The big difference with respect to social networking is that it is not transactional in nature, rather it is more like fixed content as people include pictures, audio, video, and so forth," explains Paul Strong, research scientist at online retail giant eBay, in an email to Byte and Switch.

With the demand for fixed content expected to rise, firms will be confronted with a different set of challenges, he warns. "This type of storage is essentially cheaper, i.e. commodity, but you end up with a lot more of it to manage," writes the exec. "You care less about the performance and robustness of your individual storage components because you want capacity."

Essentially, firms will end up mirroring recent trends in servers, where lots of cheap, commodity components are connected together, Strong thinks. "This shifts the emphasis to how you manage very large volumes of files and the meta-data associated with them," explains Strong.

Currently, most of eBay's 3.6 Pbytes of storage is transactional, but like many other organizations, the retailer is looking to jump on the social networking bandwagon. Last October, for example, eBay launched its "Neighborhoods" initiative, which aims to create hundreds of "mini-communities" for eBay members based around specific products or interests, from Audi automobiles to the Bon Jovi rock band.

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