Digital Universe Projected to Reach 40ZB by 2020

Dec 13, 2012

Machine-generated data is a major factor behind the expansion of the digital Universe.

The recent EMC2-sponsored IDC study anticipates that the digital universe – a measure of all the digital data created, replicated, and consumed in a single year – will reach 40ZB by 2020, which is equivalent to 5,247 GB per person worldwide.

In just the past two years, the digital universe has doubled to 2.8 zettabytes – a zettabyte (ZB) equals a trillion gigabytes. And, the IDC survey, titled “Big Data, Bigger Digital Shadows, and Biggest Growth in the Far East,” projects that the digital universe will continue to double every two years between now and 2020. According to the study, a major factor behind the expansion of the digital universe is the growth of machine-generated data, which is expected to increase from 11% as recorded in 2005 to more than 40% in 2020.

Emerging markets will be another big factor in the the coming years. Whereas emerging markets accounted for 23% of the digital universe in 2010, their share has increased to 36% in 2012. And, IDC predicts that 62% of the digital universe will be attributable to emerging markets by 2020.

The current global breakdown of the digital universe is: United States – 32%, Western Europe – 19%, China – 13%, India – 4%, rest of the world – 32%. According to IDC, by 2020, China alone is expected to generate 22% of the world’s data.

“This is the sixth year EMC2 has sponsored IDC in this study. Each year, the previous forecasts prove to be far too conservative, and all the numbers are significantly revised upwards,” said Chuck Hollis, Global Marketing CTO at EMC2.

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