'Digital Universe' Now 487 Billion Gigabytes update from May 2009

How much digital stuff are we creating? According to IDC, the global volume of digital content has reached 487 billion gigaybtes.

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The PetaBox infrastructure used by the Internet Archive, circa 2007.

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The PetaBox infrastructure used by the Internet Archive, circa 2007.

How much digital stuff are we creating? According to IDC, the global volume of digital content has reached 487 billion gigabytes - that's 487 exabytes, for those who can get their heads around that large a number. It's a lot of stuff.

  • Expressed numerically, it's 487,000,000,000 gigabytes

  • If converted to paper, it could wrap the entire earth eight times over.

  • If that paper were stacked, the pile would stretch to Pluto and back 10 times   

A closer look at the Digital Universe report reveals that up to 95 percent of that digital deluge is unstructured data described as "packets, RFID, sensors and messages," with the remainder being computer files and images.

Should we care about this big-ass number? The IDC study is sponsored by EMC, a leading storage vendor who figures to be a major beneficiary of this data explosion. But when that data is saved to storage devices (EMC or otherwise) it goes to live in data centers. What does this data explosion mean for the data center industry? In a word, business.

For those who EMC has a handy Worldwide Information Growth Ticker to help you visualize how fast data is growing. It tracks the estimated volume of data created since Jan. 1, 2009.

Image of Internet Archive infrastructure by MysteryBee.

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Data Center Knowledge

Data Center Knowledge, a sister site to ITPro Today, is a leading online source of daily news and analysis about the data center industry. Areas of coverage include power and cooling technology, processor and server architecture, networks, storage, the colocation industry, data center company stocks, cloud, the modern hyper-scale data center space, edge computing, infrastructure for machine learning, and virtual and augmented reality. Each month, hundreds of thousands of data center professionals (C-level, business, IT and facilities decision-makers) turn to DCK to help them develop data center strategies and/or design, build and manage world-class data centers. These buyers and decision-makers rely on DCK as a trusted source of breaking news and expertise on these specialized facilities.

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