Amount of data in 2011 equal to 57.5bn 32GB Apple iPads

28 Jun 2011

Some 1.8 zettabytes of data will be created in 2011, according to a new IDC Digital Universe study, equal to 57.5bn 32GB Apple iPads. This means data volumes are doubling every two years – faster than Moore’s Law.

IDC says the amount of digital information being created, copied and shared annually will have huge economical, social and technology implications.

The amount of data in the world today is equal to:

·         Every person in the US tweeting three tweets per minute for 26,976 years

·         Every person in the world having more than 215m high-resolution MRI scans a day

·         More than 200bn HD movies – which would take a person 47m years to watch

·         Fill 57.5bn 32GB iPads

“IT departments will see the amount of data they have to manage grow at a rate of 50 times,” warned EMC Ireland country manager Jason Ward. “If you think about it – you could build the Great Wall of China twice as high with 57bn iPad computers.”

Ward said that despite the rise in the volumes of data, the amount of IT professionals available to manage all this data will grow at a rate of 1.5 times. “Automation will be key.”

If each person in Ireland was able to assist in downloading all the data that was created in the 2011 digital universe, then it would take 8,205 days.

IDC says that if 1.8 zettabytes of data is needed to fill 57.5bn 32GB iPads, with that many iPads it would be possible to:

·         Create a wall of iPads, 6,444 kilometres long and 61 feet high, extending from Anchorage, Alaska, to Miami, Florida

·         Build the Great iPad Wall of China – at twice the average height of the original

·         Build a 20-foot high wall around South America

·         Cover 86pc of Mexico City

·         Build a mountain 25 times higher than Mt Fuji

One unforeseen consequence is the creation of a digital shadow. The amount of information individuals create themselves – writing documents, taking pictures, downloading music, etc – is far less than the amount of information being created about them in the digital universe.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years