R. Fink | Storage: The currency of the realm

The Packet Rat

Michael J. Bechetti

Tax time is always a sensitive time at the Rat household. It's when, in the process of filing his returns, the wirebiter gets to see in cold, hard numbers exactly how much the government values his services and how much of that value he has to give back. So it is at this time of year that the Rat is least ready to hear about the wretched excesses of private-sector executive pay.

It was almost inevitable that some news item would come along to set him off. And when the inevitable happened, the Rat almost needed his wife to administer the Heimlich maneuver one recent morning at breakfast as he read the business pages of the paper. When he read how much EMC Chief Executive Officer Joe Tucci had pulled down last year in compensation, some of his generic breakfast cereal got sucked down the wrong pipe.

It's not that Tucci doesn't deserve his ill-gotten gains, er, fairly structured compensation, of $2.53 million plus $3.1 million from the vesting of stock awards, even though the company's performance for the a year was, as he put it, 'fairly disappointing.' It was disappointing because, although EMC is practically in the money-printing business ' with 14 straight quarters of double-digit growth in revenues ' its stock price went nowhere.

No, the Rat's seizure came from his firmly held belief that the federal government is largely responsible for the thing driving EMC's bottom line ' an unquenchable demand for more storage. And as a government employee, the whiskered one figures he should be getting some piece of that action.

'I'm probably due a personal commission on at least a terabyte from somebody,' the cyberrodent seethed after coughing up the offending corn flake. 'And that's just from my tax returns.'

By some estimates, storage requirements are growing at a rate of 50 percent a year. A lot of that is because of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which has increased the need for large companies to retain and manage data to comply with its regulations.

And then there was the ruling that the administrative branch of the Supreme Court made on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding e-discovery, which affects every business that could potentially find itself in court. And that would be'well, everyone.

But all those regulations are almost incidental, considering the way the Rat's agency is going through storage for its archiving and disaster recovery requirements.

With backup windows shrinking and recovery snapshots getting huge, storage is eating up more and more of the whiskered one's annual budget. Virtual tape libraries, disk-to-disk backup, multiple recovery snapshots'it all adds up to some serious storage requirements.

So the way the Rat sees it, Tucci owes him big time. Of course, he could never directly accept compensation from a vendor, so the whiskered one is willing to settle for something a little more fungible, such as a petabyte or two of storage for his sons' digital music and movie collection.

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@postnewsweektech.com.

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