David Kirkpatrick

May 5, 2010

There’s a whole lot of digital information out there

Via KurzweilAI.net — Wow.

Digital information will grow to 1.2 zettabytes this year: IDC study
KurzweilAI.net, May 5, 2010

Last year, the Digital Universe (the amount of digital information created and replicated in the world) grew by 62% to nearly 800,000 petabytes (a petabyte is a million gigabytes, or a quintillion bytes), and this year, the Digital Universe will grow almost as fast to 1.2 million petabytes, or 1.2 zettabytes, according to IDC’s annual report, “The Digital Universe Decade – Are You Ready?” May 2010, which monitors the amount of digital information created and replicated in a year.

“Between now and 2020, the amount of digital information created and replicated in the world will grow to an almost inconceivable 35 trillion gigabytes, as all major forms of media — voice, TV, radio, print — complete the journey from analog to digital…. This explosive growth means that by 2020, our Digital Universe will be 44 times as big as it was in 2009.”

By 2020, more than a third of all the information in the Digital Universe will either live in or pass through the centrally hosted, managed, or stored in public or private repositories that today we call “cloud services.”

IDC estimates that in 2009, if people had wanted to store every gigabyte of digital content created, they would have had a shortfall of around 35%. This gap is expected to grow to more than 60% (that is, more than 60% of the petabytes created could not be stored) over the next several years.

“The greatest challenges are related not to how to store the information we want to keep, but rather to reducing the cost to store all of this content” (75% of which is a copy), “reducing the risk (and even greater cost) of losing all of this content, and extracting all of the value out of the content that we save.”

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