Internet data heads for 500bn gigabytes
Posted in: Internet Use/New Technologies at 20/05/2009 09:42
The world's store of digital content is now the equivalent of one full top-of-the-range iPod for every two people on the planet, following the explosion of social networking sites, internet-enabled mobile phones and government surveillance.
At 487bn gigabytes (GB), if the world's rapidly expanding digital content were printed and bound into books it would form a stack that would stretch from Earth to Pluto 10 times. As more people join the digital tribe - increasingly through internet-enabled mobile phones - the world's digital output is increasing at such a rate that those stacks of books are rising quicker than Nasa's fastest space rocket.
Digital Information Growth Outpaces Projections, Despite Down Economy [news release]
EMC Corporation, the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, today announced the number 3,892,179,868,480,350,000,000. John Gantz, Chief Research Officer for IDC, explained, "That's the number of new digital information bits created in 2008. Contrary to popular belief, as the economy deteriorated in late 2008, the pace of digital information created and transmitted over the Internet, phone networks, and airwaves actually increased."
According to the new EMC-sponsored IDC study titled "As the Economy Contracts, the Digital Universe Expands," the amount of digital information created in 2008 grew 3% faster than IDC's prior projection. Looking forward, the Digital Universe is expected to double in size every 18 months. In 2012, five times as much digital information will be created versus 2008.
The new findings highlight the third update to the groundbreaking Digital Universe study, which measures and forecasts the vast amounts and diverse types of digital information created and copied annually. Calculated to be 487 billion gigabytes in size, the amount of information created in 2008 is the equivalent of more than:
- 237 billion fully-loaded Amazon Kindle wireless reading devices
- 4.8 quadrillion online bank transactions
- 3 quadrillion Twitter feeds
- 162 trillion digital photos
- 30 billion fully-loaded Apple iPod Touches
- 19 billion fully-loaded Blu-ray DVDs
Information Management Implications
While the pace of digital information increased in 2008, IT budgets declined, thus creating an even larger divide between the amount of information generated and the amount of IT resources purchased and deployed to manage it. This dynamic further validates the demand for tools and techniques (e.g. virtualization, deduplication and other data reduction technologies, etc) geared specifically to managing more with less.
Joe Tucci, Chairman, President and CEO of EMC Corporation, said, "Whether you're a student, senior executive, stay-at-home parent or surgeon, the growth of digital information collides with every-day business and every-day life. Those who use information growth to their advantage are seeking out new and creative ways to manage, secure and protect the rapidly-growing volumes."
Key findings from the 2009 IDC Digital Universe study signal fundamental shifts in the areas of information growth, security, compliance and management.
- Over the next four years, the number of information-generation technologies and interactions will increase dramatically:
- o Mobile users will grow by a factor of 3.0. Over the next four years, 600 million more people will become Internet users. Nearly two-thirds of all Internet users will use mobile devices at least some of the time.
- o Non-traditional IT devices such as wireless meters, automobile navigation systems, industrial machines, RFID readers, and intelligent sensor controllers - will grow by a factor of 3.6.
- o Interactions between people via email, messaging, social networks, etc. - will grow by a factor of 8.0.
- Most of the world's economic stimulus efforts will also increase the amount of digital information created, the result of increased access to broadband communications, electronic patient records, smart electric grids, smart buildings and autos, etc.
- By 2012, 850 million people will buy and sell products and services on the Internet and twice as much Internet commerce will take place versus 2008. By 2012, Internet commerce will be a $13 trillion industry, mostly involving sensitive business-to-business commerce.³
- More than 30% of information created today is "security-intensive," thus requiring high standards of protection. That number will grow to roughly 45% by the end of 2012.
- Most of the information IT organizations will need to keep secure is created outside the data center, often outside the company. More and more of that information originates from mobile users - workers, customers, suppliers, partners - which adds an additional layer of management and security complexity to the equation.
- Examples of security-intensive includes patient medical records and images, credit card and social security numbers, Internet commerce and other transaction data, video surveillance, sensitive legal documents and corporate intellectual property.
- The amount of information considered "compliance-intensive," or subject to rules that govern what information must be stored and accessible to regulating authorities and auditors, will grow from 25% of the Digital Universe in 2008 to 35% of the Digital Universe in 2012.
- The financial collapse will clearly lead to more regulation and government oversight, which will drive more mandated record-keeping compliance, and hence, more digital information.
- Examples of compliance-intensive information include personally identifiable information, employee email archives, financial and human resources records and litigation documents.