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Global data doubling every two years: study

EMC today announced results of the EMC-sponsored IDC Digital Universe study, “Extracting Value from Chaos”—which found the world’s information is more than doubling every two years—with a colossal 1.8 zettabytes to be created and replicated in 2011, which is growing faster than Moore’s Law.

The study’s fifth anniversary, measuring and forecasting the amount of digital information created and copied annually—analysing the implications for individuals, enterprises, and IT professionals—has huge economical, social and technology implications for big data and other opportunities.

According to IDC, the forces behind this relentless growth are driven by technology and money. New “information taming” technologies are driving the cost of creating, capturing, managing and storing information down to one-sixth of what it was in 2005. Additionally, since 2005 annual enterprise investments in the Digital Universe—cloud, hardware, software, services, and staff to create, manage, store and generate revenue from the information—have increased 50% to $4 trillion (USD).

IDC notes that the skills, experience, and resources to manage the deluge of data and resources simply isn’t keeping pace with all areas of growth and predicts that organisations worldwide will experience  10 times the number of servers (virtual and physical), 50 times the amount of information to be managed, 75 times the number of files or containers that encapsulate the information in the digital universe, which is growing even faster than the information itself as more and more embedded systems, such as sensors in clothing, in bridges, or medical devices and 1.5 times the number of IT professionals available to manage it all.

While cloud computing accounts for less than 2% of IT spending today, IDC estimates that by 2015 nearly 20% of the information will be “touched” by cloud computing service providers — meaning that somewhere in a byte’s journey from originator to disposal it will be stored or processed in a cloud. Perhaps as much as 10% will be maintained in a cloud.

The findings reported that the amount of information individuals create themselves—writing documents, taking pictures, downloading music, etc.—is far less than the amount of information being created about them in the digital universe.

While 75% of the information in the digital universe is generated by individuals, enterprises have some liability for 80% of information in the digital universe at some point in its digital life, the analyst firm said.

“The chaotic volume of information that continues growing relentlessly presents an endless amount of opportunity—driving transformational societal, technological, scientific, and economic changes,” said Jeremy Burton, CMO, EMC. “Big Data is forcing change in the way businesses manage and extract value from their most important asset – information. EMC is at an ideal crossroad to help our customers—from the world’s largest enterprises to governments to small businesses—exploit the hidden value in the digital universe as they continue on their journey to the cloud.”

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