As our digitally-defined world continues to churn out boundless amounts of data, the storage industry is challenged to understand how much data will need to be stored, and where.

According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide installed raw storage capacity (byte density) will climb from 2 596 Exabytes (EB) in 2012 to a staggering 7 235 EB in 2017.

The usefulness of this rising flood of ones and zeros hinges on the ability of organisations to prioritize, store, and retrieve data easily as they look to leverage vast amounts of new social data in new business models.
Traditional, low-cost tape and optical storage solutions for long-term archiving and content delivery are being displaced as businesses place more data online and as consumers stream and store more data from and in the cloud.

The incessant requests for data coming from billions of mobile devices around the world demand that data be centralized and available at all times. On top of this, each country differs on how prepared it is to capitalise on the value of its own strategic data based on its raw installed base of storage, especially enterprise storage, which continues to grow in strategic importance.

“Technology is a moving target, but the desire to store more data is insatiable,” says David Reinsel, group vice-president: storage, semiconductors, security, GRC and pricing at IDC.

“IT managers, and even government officials, should view data as a precious resource like water, oil, or gold. Increasingly, data will be critical to govern and grow businesses, it will be mined for hidden nuggets of strategic insight using analytics, and it will be traded and sold, just like other commodities.”

Businesses must be aware of these big data/analytic discoveries because they will drive optimization within existing businesses, offer new vectors of growth for mature businesses, and birth new businesses altogether. In addition, these discoveries will drive new sources of revenue for those that own the data.