In order to grasp the nature of the upcoming concept discussed here, it is first necessary to demonstrate the sheer size of the numbers that these paragraphs will illustrate. Readers should know that only recently have consumer hard drives begun to reach the terabyte size. That is 1,000 gigabytes. Businesses, on the other hand, may now be used to having petabyte-size drives – 1,000 terabytes. What lies beyond that realm is an exabyte, which is 1,000 petabyes, and the zettabyte, which is 1,000 exabytes. The amount of data consumed in a zettabyte is arguably impossible to fathom from any common vantage point.
Cisco’s fourth annual Global Cloud Index study makes it known that the era of zettabytes is upon the world and is not likely to slow. By 2018, the company says, the data generated by devices connected to the Internet, through the Internet of Things, will reach 403 zettabytes a year. This is up from the 113.4 zetabytes generated by the IoT in 2013.
How is such growth possible? Well, businesses that analyze their daily operations will likely generate an already-unprecedented amount of data each day. A commercial aircraft, for instance, will produce about 40 terabytes of data for every hour of flight, and a mining operation can create about 2.4 terabytes of data a minute. Multiply those figures by the number of hours the thousands of aircraft are in flight and the number of mining operations operating around the in countries worldwide. The data associated with those two types of enterprises alone is, in a word, staggering.
The takeaway from Cisco’s report is not just that there will be a large amount of data circulating throughout wired and wireless lines in every corner of the globe. Readers should also know that businesses are not expected to use all that data. In fact, they may only analyze a small portion of it. Cisco predicts that the amount of data sent to data centers will only increase from 3.1 zetabytes in 2013 to 8.6 zetabytes in 2018. Furthermore, Cisco predicts that cloud services will generate 76 percent of that data center data – from 54 percent in 2013.
On the whole, the study reveals an amount of data that, at least, is visually stunning when represented as an infographic and, at most, an important display of what is to come. Businesses will undoubtedly create a lot of potential with their data. Likely the only place they can go from here, other than creating more data, is finding additional methods of using that data. The disparity between data created and data used will continue to be miles apart. Some of that data may end up as extraneous or unnecessary, but there is likely much that could help businesses extend their operations for the better.