Is the Australian Digital Universe keeping up with the world?

By clive Gold, CTO marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand.

For the fifth year in a row IDC has released their count of the Digital Universe.  You might not be aware but this is actually the sixth survey, the first one was done by UC Berkley in 2003. The finding at that time was…

Print, film, magnetic, and optical storage media produced about 5
exabytes of new information in 2002. Ninety-two percent of the new information was stored on magnetic media, mostly in hard disks.”

Consider that against the current expectation that the world will generate and move 1.8Zetabytes in 2011. Also interesting is that in 2006, just four years later it was estimated that Google had an Exabyte of information.

The other headline that caught my eye is that IDC estimates that the cost of creating, capturing, managing and storing this information is one sixth of the 2005 cost. IDC also coins the term “information taming”, which is kind of cute, isn’t it?

Now for the other big number, since 2005 they estimate that the investment in the digital universe increased 50% to $4 trillion USD.  I think as an industry we could be proud of this, to have the cost rise just 50% at the same time as the volume has grown from 150Exabytes to 1.8Zetabytes! How many other industries can show a productivity improvement of about six times in six years?

Now for the bad news, you ain’t seen nothing yet!  By 2020 IDC is predicting 10x more servers, 50x data growth, 75x growth in the number of objects. This last one is the scare piece as for traditional file systems the object limits are being stretched, that is why we are seeing the rise of ‘cloud optimised storage’ such as EMC Atmos.

So the big question for us in ANZ is, “are we growing as fast?”  Well IDC does count the market and release quarterly figures on the amount of storage that has been sold.  Well if I compare the amount of disk sold world wide in 2006 vs 2010 it shows that ANZ is growing 15% faster than the world! So if we assume that ANZ is on par with adopting new technologies such as compression, data deduplication etc, we can say that we are contributing more than our fair share to this universe.

Wow I think I need a coffee to digest all this.. and maybe my son ripping all his DVD’s into 1GB files is really not that bad..


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