Worldwide Data Will Surge to 163 Zettabytes by 2025

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The emergence of cognitive systems and the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) will give new meaning to big data in the coming years and have major implications for the storage industry.

In 2016, the world tucked 16 zettabytes (ZB) worth of data into its devices, storage systems and data centers. By 2025, that number will reach a whopping 163ZB, according to a new study from analyst firm IDC and hard drive maker Seagate. A ZB is the equivalent of one trillion gigabytes for the sake of this study.

Much of that data will be produced by the IoT and embedded systems. IDC expects the average connected person to somehow interact with a connected device every 18 seconds, or nearly 4,800 times each day, by 2025. And those interactions, many of which occur in the background with little to no deliberate prompting on behalf of users, will flood enterprises with data.

That same year, IDC predicts that more than a quarter of all data will be created in real-time. The bulk of that data (95 percent) will come from IoT systems.

Machine learning and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will also have an effect on how businesses manage data. IDC expects that “the amount of analyzed data that is ‘touched’ by cognitive systems will grow by a factor of 100 to 1.4ZB in 2025,” stated the report. The research group market for cognitive solutions will reach $40 billion in 2025, predicts the research group.

Over the next several years, enterprises will emerge as the stewards of people’s digital lives. Whereas 30 percent of the world’s data was created by enterprises in 2015, by 2025 that figure will reach 60 percent.

Within these ballooning repositories of data are new, potentially lucrative business models. “From autonomous cars to intelligent personal assistants, data is the lifeblood of a rapidly growing digital existence – opening up opportunities previously unimagined by businesses,” remarked IDC senior vice president Dave Reinsel in a statement.

“Technology innovation will be vitally important to evaluate and fully activate the intricacies of what’s contained within this large volume of data – and storage in particular will continue to grow in importance, as it provides the foundation from which so many of these emerging technologies will be served,” continued.

Naturally, data security will remain a challenge for the industry. Ninety percent of the data created by 2025 will require safeguarding, at least on some level. Worryingly, IDC predicts that less than half of all data will be adequately secured.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Pedro Hernandez
Pedro Hernandez
Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to Datamation, eWEEK, and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro.
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