Research firm IDC claims the world will produce 18 zettabytes of data in 2011, that's 1,800,000,000 terabytes.
The digital world is stretching by the seams as more data is being archived than ever before. Consumers are storing their lives on to hard drives at home in the form of digital pictures, digital video and everything in between while the enterprise domain is converting all of its paper file cabinets into digital file cabinets, eating up storage server after storage server and the size of this archived data isn't getting any smaller.
A recent study done by the IDC puts the total amount of data stored throughout the world today in numbers. Last years total data weighed in at approximately 281 exabytes, or 281,000,000 terabytes, which is about a 56% increase over the previous year's 180 exabyte data count.
However, according to IDC, the world's data will reach an astounding 1.80 zettabytes in 2011, about 10 times the data stored in 2006.
For consumers and IT professionals today it is difficult to even envision 1.8 zettabytes of data as we're still just reaching capacities in the terabyte and petabyte range. To get a better visualization 1.8 zettabytes, remember that the current highest capacity desktop and enterprise hard drives top out at one terabyte. One thousand of these terabyte hard drives would come out to one petabyte. One million terabyte hard drives would add up to be one exabyte. Finally, one billion terabyte hard drives would equal a zettabyte of storage space.
So how can the world's digital data reach the 1.8 zettabyte mark so quickly? The answer is that the world is converting pretty much everything into digital data including photographs, home videos, surveillance videos -- but even then IDC says this is not the main drive for increased storage.