Amount of Digital Information = 800B GB or 0.8 Zettabytes

May 4, 2010

The EMC-sponsored IDC study titled " The Digital Universe Decade - Are You Ready?" This study measures and forecasts the vast amount of digital information created and copied annually and its implications for individuals and Information Technology professionals worldwide.

2010 Tally Equals 100 Years of Tweets, 75 Billion iPads

In 2009, amid the “Great Recession,” the amount of digital information grew 62% over 2008 to 800 billion gigabytes (0.8 Zettabytes). One Zettabyte equals one trillion gigabytes. The amount of digital information created in 2010 (1.2 Zettabytes) will equal:

  • The digital information created by every man, woman and child on Earth “Tweeting” continuously for 100 years  
  • 75 billion fully-loaded 16 GB Apple iPads, which would fill the entire area of Wembley Stadium to the brim 41 times, the Mont Blanc Tunnel 84 times, CERN's Large Hadron Collider tunnel 151 times, Beijing National Stadium 15.5 times or the Taipei 101 Tower 23 times
  • A full-length episode of FOX TV’s hit series "24" running continuously for 125 million years
  • 707 trillion copies of the more than 2,000-page U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into Law in March 2010. Stacked end to end, the documents would stretch from Earth to Pluto and back 16 times or cover every inch of the United States in paper 3 feet deep.

Moreover, the number of files, images, records and other digital information containers will grow by a factor of 67, each needing to be managed, secured and protected. Despite this growth, the number of IT professionals globally will grow only by a factor of 1.4. The cumulative effect is driving CIOs to seek out new levels of agility, efficiency and control by moving quickly toward private cloud computing environments.

One-Third of All Digital Information to Live In, Pass Through the Cloud

  • The amount of digital information created annually will grow by a factor of 44 from 2009 to 2020, as all major forms of media – voice, TV, radio, print – complete the journey from analog to digital.  
  • By 2020, more than 1/3rd of all digital information created annually will either live in or pass through the cloud.
  • Based on the use of cloud computing services by companies to reduce the portion of their IT budget devoted to legacy system maintenance, IDC estimates that the increase in IT dollars spent on innovation could drive more than $1 trillion in increased business revenues between now and the end of 2014. This projection will increase substantially as private cloud and other cloud computing models move into mainstream adoption.
  • By 2020, the percent of digital information requiring security beyond baseline levels will grow from 30% to 50%.  
  • 35% more digital information is created today than the capacity exists to store it. This number will jump to over 60% over the next several years.
  • More than 70% of the Digital Universe is generated by individuals. But enterprises have responsibility for the storage, protection, and management of 80% of the Digital Universe. This enterprise liability will only increase as social networking and Web 2.0

The data growth rate study is available for download. The EMC Digital Universe page also features previous versions of the study as well as the worldwide Information Growth Ticker, which is constantly updated to reflect the data growth rate so far this year, and the Digital Footprint Calculator, providing an up-to-the-minute view of how fast an individual’s personal digital universe is expanding.

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