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What if the Cloud Fills Up?

The CIO of the UK’s national weather service has issued a dire forecast for the future of big data.

At the Cloud World Forum, held in London this week, Met Office’s Charles Ewen warned that the rapidly increasing amount of data being stored in the cloud by companies and governments will soon mean it won’t be technologically possible for these data to be shared.

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In short order, he cautioned, the concept of “open data” will be an impossible promise to see through. There will simply be too much stuff for the cloud to accommodate and no one will have the infrastructure to oversee the kind of grand-scale information sharing to which we’ve grown accustomed.

As such, truly open data strategies will go the way of the dodo.

“The future will be bigger and bigger data,” Ewen predicted. “Right now we’re talking about petabytes. In the near future, it will be tens of petabytes. Then, soon after, it’ll be hundreds of petabytes. And then we’ll be off into imaginary figure titles.”

In response, he speculated that keepers of vast amounts of data will shift their roles to become digital “curators” of information, undertaking acts of purposeful selection and distribution in ways they deem most useful to end-users. That, he adds, would require a reorganization of companies’ processes such that a thoughtful selectivity functionality is introduced.

Ewen concluded by saying that the world’s current expectations of endlessly open data are based on “misguided views” about cloud technology’s capabilities to host and provide access to huge amounts of data.

Put too much faith in the capacity of the cloud, in other words, and the truth will eventually rain down.

Canadians Not Keen on Moving for Work

The employment scene may be tough for a good chunk of the Canadian population, but most of us are still not willing to pull up roots, even if it means certain employment.

According to research by Ipsos Reid conducted for the Canadian Employee Relocation Council, just 10 percent of Canadians would relocate for work.

movingThe survey asked more than 2,000 Canadians whether they’d move either within their provinces or to other parts of the country to accept a job offer. A third of them conceded that they could be persuaded for the right job and sweet enough enticements.

The incentive most often singled out by those respondents who said they would consider moving was a 20 percent pay hike, an employer’s offer to pay for all moving expenses (the average cost to relocate a homeowner within Canada is $53,500) and a guarantee that they could return to their current role after two years. Spousal job-finding assistance also ranked high among desirable inducements.

It’s a different scene than in the United States where, after years of staying put, the percentage of workers who moved house for work climbed 35 percent in 2013 over the year prior. According to research from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, about 13 percent of Americans who got a new job in 2013 relocated to take it, up from 9.8 percent in 2012.

The Canadian Employee Relocation Council, a non-profit organization that represents employers and employment relocation services, identifies the “typical” relocating employee as male, aged 28-40.

In commentary released with its research, Council president and CEO Stephen Cryne called the Canadian findings “troubling” and said they go some distance in explaining why some businesses face the staffing challenges they do.

The study, he says, underscores the need for a more enthusiastic promotion of the benefits of labour mobility in this country.

The upshot of this research is an interesting one: it might explain corporate Canada’s recent preoccupation with temporary foreign workers.