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(Coming late to this.)

I don't think the cost of storing data increases over time.

You're correct to note that there are costs associated with keeping data online and securely backed up. For example, a 1TB drive costs less than $100 today. However, to keep 1TB of data online 24x7, and backed up securely (including offsite copies, disaster recovery) etc is considerably more than $100. I'm not sure how much it costs. Maybe $1000. Call this the "fully burdened" cost of storing the data. IT departments have always been concerned and aware of these issues.

Now consider, say five years ago. I doubt that the fully burdened cost of storing 1TB was any less then than it is today. I'm certain it was more, and indeed going back a few years it would have been unthinkable for a business to consider keeping 1TB of data online.

I think the reason for IT's ever-increasing cost is the *demand* for keeping and manipulating more data. The cost per GB or per TB has fallen over time, I'm sure, but the demand for storing and processing data has quite possibly outstripped this reduction in cost.

I think it's a fair question as to whether aggregate IT expenditures have really improved productivity. Certainly there have been some improvements; the question is whether the improvements have justified the costs.

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