S TOR AGE
KLEIMAN In my case, I still have a copy. I didn’t mean to
imply that the archive is in one location and that there’s
only one copy of that data in the archive. It’s a distributed archive, which has better replication properties
because you want that higher long-term reliability. From
the user’s point, it’s a cloud that you can pull documents
RIEDEL The general trend for the past several years is for
more distribution, not less. People use a lot of high-capacity portable devices of all sorts, such as BlackBerrys,
portable USB devices, and laptops. For a system administrator, the ability to capture data is much more threatening today. Five or 10 years ago all you had to worry about
were tightly controlled desktops. Today things are a great
deal more complicated.
I was at a meeting where someone predicted that
within two or three years, corporations were going to
allow you to buy your own equipment. You’d buy your
own laptop, bring it to work, and they’d add a little bit of
software to it. But even in the age in which corporate IT
departments control your laptop and desktop, certainly
the train has left the station on BlackBerrys, USBs, and
iPods. So for a significant segment of what the administrator is responsible for, pulling data back into a central
store is not going to work.
CREEGER That flies in the face of Steve’s original
KLEIMAN I don’t think so. I do think that a lot of distributed data will be on the laptops. There will be some
control of that data, perhaps with DRM (digital rights
management) mechanisms. Remember, in an enterprise
the family jewels are really two things: the bits on the
disks and the brain cells in the people. Both are incredibly
important, and for the stuff that the enterprise owns—
that it pays its employees to produce—it’s going to want
to make sure those bits exist in a secure place and not just
on somebody’s laptop. There may be a copy encrypted on
somebody’s laptop and the enterprise may have the key,
but in order for the company to assert intellectual
property rights on those bits, you are going to have to
centrally manage and secure them in some way, shape, or
BREWER I agree that’s what corporations want, but the
practice may be quite different.
KLEIMAN That’s the part I disagree with because part of
the employee contract is that when employees generate
bits that are important to the company, the company has
to have copies of them.
GANGER Let’s be careful. There are two interrelated
things going on here: does the company have a copy of
the information, and can a company control who else
gets a copy? What Erik just brought up is an example of
the latter. What Steve has been talking about is more of
KLEIMAN Margo has been saying that a company may
not have a copy. I fundamentally disagree with that.
That’s what it pays its employees to generate. The question is, can the company control the copy? My working
assumption is that this is beyond the scope of any storage
system. DRM systems are going to have to come into play,
and then it’s key management on top of that.
SELTZER I’m not sure I buy this. Yes, companies care
that employees do their jobs, but very few companies
tell their employees how to do their jobs. If my job is to
produce some information and data, I may be traveling
for a week and it may take some time for that to happen.
In the meantime, I may be producing valuable corporate
data on my laptop that is not yet on any corporate server.
Whether it gets there or not is a process issue, and process
issues don’t always get resolved in the way we intend.
CREEGER You’re both right. Margo wants to create value
for her company in whatever way she is comfortable—
on a laptop while she’s traveling, at home—whichever
way works that produces the highest value for her
employment contract. If the company values Margo’s
work, it will be willing to live, within reason, with
Margo’s work style.
38 November/December 2008 ACM QUEUE