Researcher IDC, EMC Total Up the 'Digital Universe'

For the third year, researcher IDC and storage infrastructure provider EMC have attempted to quantify all things digital: that is, to find and account for all the digital data in the world, no matter where it resides. This study includes everything: e-mail, instant messages, voice recordings, documents, photos, video, graphics, data logs, TiVO recordings, business transaction data -- everything. EMC and IDC claim to have accounted for it all; at least this is what they tell eWEEK.

In a report released May 18 that ostensibly takes roll of everything digital-up to and including the calendar year ending at midnight, Dec. 31, 2008-IDC and EMC estimate the so-called digital universe to be 487 billion gigabytes in size, give or take a few bytes.
Apparently to get a head start on next year's universal digital roundup, EMC, one of the world's major data storage companies, is keeping track in public of all the new bytes coming into the world. Check out this Web page, which includes a rather fast-moving "Worldwide Information Growth Ticket."
For the third straight year, researcher IDC and EMC have attempted to quantify all things digital-that is, to find and account for all the digital data in the world, wherever it resides.
This study includes everything: e-mail, instant messages, voice recordings, telephone answering machines, plain old documents, photos, video, graphics, data logs, TiVO recordings, business transaction data-everything. EMC and IDC claim to have accounted for it all; at least this is what they tell eWEEK.
There are obvious commercial reasons for spending the time, money and effort to try to come up with such an accounting. EMC certainly wants to sell you storage capacity, data security and control over all your data so you can master your own part of that ever-growing digital universe; rocket science it is not.
On the other side, IDC wants to get its arms around how much data it is researching- along with the trends involved-so it can resell all this information. Both are perfectly reasonable motivations.
But the real questions are these: How accurate is it all? Do we look at this story and shrug, roll our eyes or what? How does this affect you and me, if at all?
"You have to realize that we [IDC] cover the IT from a very broad perspective," Dave Reinsel, group vice president of storage and semiconductors at IDC, told eWEEK.
"We have all this data we can leverage, whether it's from digital surveillance cameras, digital TVs, servers, storage ... we cover pictures, megapixels, resolution, everything. So why not try to get a handle on it all?"

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...