Imagine lining up 57.5 billion Apple iPads to build a wall measuring about 4000 miles long and 60 feet high. To put that into perspective, think of the Great Wall of China cloned and stacked on one top of the other, that's how big we are talking here folks. Now imagine all of those iPads stuffed choc-a-bloc with data. 1.8 zettabytes (or 1 billion terabytes if you prefer) of it to be precise.

That, somewhat incredulously, is the amount of data that will be created globally just this year according to the new IDC Digital Universe study ' Extracting Value from Chaos '.

The study suggests that the quantity of data being produced is now actually growing faster than Moore's Law, and yes I know Moore's Law does not apply to data but it's an interesting analogy nonetheless. The amount of data being produced around the world is now more than doubling every two years, which is really quite a frightening statistic.

Need more help visualising just how much data 1.8 zettabytes actually is? OK, how about if everyone, including you dear reader, were to Tweet consistently at a rate of 3 Tweets-per-minute for 26,976 years without stopping at all.

Other interesting things to note from the report include:
Data growth is outpacing the growth of data storage capacity (as a single gigabyte of data can generate a further petabyte of data that is transient in nature such as streaming audio for example)
Less than a third of this data has even minimal protection in terms of being secure
75 percent of the data is generated by individuals rather than corporates

and perhaps most intriguingly:

The number of files in which to encapsulate that data is growing at faster rate than the data itself. The study predicts that files will increase by a factor of eight over the next five years.

jingda commented: Like the thought of comparing data storage with Moore's Law. Its just bad that i have nothing useful to contribute to this forum +9
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About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to Forbes.com, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

Imagine lining up 57.5 billion Apple iPads to build a wall measuring about 4000 miles long and 60 feet high. To put that into perspective, think of the Great Wall of China cloned and stacked on one top of the other, that's how big we are talking here folks. Now imagine all of those iPads stuffed choc-a-bloc with data. 1.8 zettabytes (or 1 billion terabytes if you prefer) of it to be precise.

Amazing stats these ones. Weren't we just at 12 Petabytes at the beginning of this year?
So I think cloud services are a good idea if offered with good security and at fair prices.

This is really very stunning .

the facts and figures provided are quite amazing

"Data growth is outpacing the growth of data storage capacity (as a single gigabyte of data can generate a further petabyte of data that is transient in nature such as streaming audio for example)"

This tells me that the rate of data production is limited by the space available