Data Storage Requirements Grow More Complex: IDC

Worldwide installed raw storage capacity (byte density) will climb from 2,596 exabytes (EB) in 2012 to a staggering 7,235EB in 2017.

The incessant requests for data coming from billions of mobile devices around the world will demand that data be centralized and available at all times, and businesses should be aware of big data and analytic discoveries because they will drive optimization within existing businesses, according to a report from IT research firm IDC.

These discoveries will also provide new vectors of growth for mature businesses and birth additional businesses altogether. The report noted that in addition to accelerated growth, these discoveries will drive new sources of revenue for those that own the data.

"Technology is a moving target, but the desire to store more data is insatiable," David Reinsel, group vice president of storage, semiconductors, security, GRC and pricing at IDC, said in a statement. "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."

The report also found that 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.

Worldwide installed raw storage capacity (byte density) will climb from 2,596 exabytes (EB) in 2012 to a staggering 7,235EB in 2017. An exabyte is equal to one billion gigabytes of storage--the 64-bit microprocessors found in many computers can address 16EBs of memory.

Meanwhile, each country differs on how prepared it is to capitalize 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.

Moreover, IDC analysts said the usefulness of this rising flood of ones and zeros hinges on the ability of organizations to prioritize, store and retrieve data easily as they look to leverage vast amounts of new social data in new business models.

A recently released IDC study called "Where in the World is Storage: A Look at Byte Density Across the Globe" assessed and estimated the worldwide total of installed base of raw storage capacity by five major media types, including hard disk drives, optical, tape, flash (NAND) and dynamic random access memory (DRAM).

Storage was measured in a variety of ways through annual shipments, raw installed base and by media type. This report was designed to help businesses drive data-based decisions in the future.

Through this study, IDC also leveraged the type of device the storage is integrated into, such as enterprise solutions, PCs, mobile devices and other categories, to see which areas will experience continued future growth.