According to IDC
, we are creating digital information at a pace that exceeds the world’s current ability to provide storage space for this information. In 2007 the quantity of information created, captured and replicated was 281 exabytes (281 billion gigabytes), which is more than 264 exabytes of storage available on CDs, DVDs, memory, hard drives and tapes. Compare the 281 exabytes number to 2006’s quantity of information created, which is 161 exabytes.
The amount of permanent physical storage space is not ‘actually’ being exceeded, considering that some of it is discarded and does not need to be archived (TV programs and radio broadcasts that do not need to be saved or prerecorded, voice call packets that can be deleted and standard daily surveillance video that is not saved). That said the amount of digital information being generated is rising at a much higher rate than the IT storage capacity will be able to store the information needed in the future.
IDC predicts almost 1,800 exabytes of information will be created in 2011, which will be more than twice the amount of then available storage. However, according to Mark Lewis, President of Content Management for EMC, the price of storage will continue to decline with renewed demand, and because supply responds to demand he does not believe we will hit a wall where there is not available storage for information that must be stored.
Various businesses and industries are accumulating data in huge quantities daily. Wal-Mart, Inc. refreshes its customer databases every hour, adding 1 billion new rows per hour of data to its data warehouse with a 600-terabyte capability; Chevron and others in this industry are developing a digital oilfield to monitor exploration, and Chevron’s system itself adds 2 terabytes of new data per day; YouTube users (almost 100,000,000) create almost as much digital information as the medical imaging industry does.
Let’s hope these industries are also putting someone in charge of purging obsolete data as well as collecting it.
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