Digital data will increase 44-fold from 2009 to 2020, according to IDC. The research firm joined forces with EMC to produce the new report

Global storage demands to rocket in next decade

The amount of information in the world is set to rise 44-fold in the next decade according to IDC Corp., with much of that increase coming from the rise in cloud computing.

IDC has teamed up with EMC Corp. for their annual Digital Universe report, which focuses solely on the amount of digital information created within a year. Last year’s volume of data, 0.8 Zettabytes (or 800 billion gigabytes) was an increase of 62 percent on the previous year. But the report claimed that by 2020, the amount of data in the world would reach 35 zettabytes – if contained on DVDs, that would mean that they could be stacked halfway to Mars.

Two years ago, the report caused a stir when it was revealed that the amount of data created outstripped the available global storage capacity. 


Commenting on the increase in capacity last year, IDC’s chief research officer John Gantz said that “we ain’t seen nothing yet.” He pointed out that if employees suffered from information overload now there was worse to come as companies tried to keep up with the various media streams.

The survey also pointed out a staffing issue, this increase in information would be accompanied by a much smaller rise in IT staff – an estimated increase of 1.4-fold, about a fortieth of the increase in data. This in itself could cause a management headache. The other headache will be growing requirement on security: at the moment, 30 percent of data needs more than baseline security, by 2020, this will reach 50 percent.

There is also set to be a massive increase in information held in the cloud. IDC estimates that a third of all information by 2020 will reside in or pass through the cloud.

Gantz said that the growth in data would require new tools to access the data. “We will need new search and discovery tools. Most of the Digital Universe is unstructured data. We will need new ways to add data to unstructured data, to look inside information containers and recognise a face in a video.”

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