When you think back to the Y2K issue, the main reason programmers didn't use four-digit year fields was to save a couple of bytes of valuable disk space. And rightly so – disk space cost about $200 a megabyte in 1980.

Now, many rightly worry about the onslaught of “Big Data” – unstructured files, graphics, audio, video, and social media data – that is threatening to overwhelm our data centers. Many organizations have databases supporting hundreds of terabytes of data.

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