The world’s information is more than doubling every two years, with 1.8 zettabytes (or 1.8 trillion gigabytes) to be created and replicated in 2011 according to a new study, which says the growth of the digital universe is outpacing growth of storage capacity.
The EMC sponsored IDC Digital Universe study, Extracting Value from Chaos, also notes that data about data, or metadata, is growing twice as fast as the digital universe as a whole, with new capture, search, discovery and analysis tools helping organisations gain insights from unstructured data, which accounts for more than 90% of the digital universe. EMC says these tools can create data about data automatically, much like facial recognition routines that help tag Facebook photos.
The company says 1.8 zettabytes of data is equivalent to more than 200 billion two-hour HD movies or everyone in New Zealand tweeting three tweets per minute for 1,909,490 years.
The study says the growth of the digital universe continues to outpace the growth of storage capacity, and notes that a gigbyte of stored content can generate a petabyte or more of transient data that we typically don’t store – such as digital television signals we watch, but don’t record and voice calls that are made digital in the network backbone for the duration of a call.
The report also notes that less than a third of the information in the digital universe can be said to have at least minimal security or protection, and only about half the information that should be protected actually is.
EMC chief marketing officer Jeremy Burton says the chaotic volume of relentlessly growing information ‘presents an endless amount of opportunity – driving transformational societal, technological, scientific and economic changes’. "Big data is forcing change in the way businesses manage and extract value from their most important asset – information. "
Other findings in the study included that business intelligence tools are increasingly dealing with real-time data, whether it’s charging auto insurance premiums based on where people drive, routing power through the intelligent grid, or changing marketing messages on the fly, based on social networking responses.