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Data Storage The Internet Hardware

"Digital Universe" Enters the Zettabyte Era 137

miller60 writes "In 2010 the volume of digital information created and duplicated in a year will reach 1.2 zettabytes, according to new data from IDC and EMC. The annual Digital Universe report is an effort to visualize the enormous amount of data being generated by our increasingly digital lives. The report's big numbers — a zettabyte is roughly a million petabytes — pose interesting questions about how the IT community will store and manage this firehose of data. Perhaps the biggest challenge isn't how much data we're creating — it's all the copies of it. Seventy-five percent of all the data in the Digital Universe is a copy, according to IDC. See additional analysis from TG Daily, The Guardian, and Search Storage."
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"Digital Universe" Enters the Zettabyte Era

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  • Hmm - thinking that I'd like to pop over to cnet or tigerdirect or fry's and pick up a zettabyte drive. I'm sure that's "more than enough storage" for all my digital files...

    Are they on sale for $149.00 yet?
  • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:05AM (#32085400)

    "In 2010 the volume of digital information created and duplicated in a year will reach 1.2 zettabytes, according to new data from IDC and EMC. The annual Digital Universe report is an effort to visualize the enormous amount of data being generated by our increasingly digital lives. The report's big numbers -- a zettabyte is roughly a million petabytes -- pose interesting questions about how the IT community will store and manage this firehose of data. Perhaps the biggest challenge isn't how much data we're creating -- it's all the copies of it. Seventy-five percent of all the data in the Digital Universe is a copy, according to IDC."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cgenman ( 325138 )

      Only 75%? Considering that all DVD's are copies, all local caches are copies, I wouldn't be surprised if that number was much larger.

      Also, cutting out all the copies would only reduce the problem to .3 zettabytes. For day-to-day IT purposes, that's about the same number.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rockoon ( 1252108 )
        In the world of home storage, 75% is definitely way too low. The average personal desktop probably has 20 to 40 gigabytes of used storage, with far less than 1 gigabyte being original content. If they also back up this data, the fraction grows even lower.

        Everything on their DVR is also not original.

        Now, in the business world things are a bit different. Here you can expect the same 20 to 40 gigabytes of used storage on the median machine, but backed by a massive networked database of original uptime-crit
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by iamhassi ( 659463 )
          HD home movies and photographs are far more than 1gb
          • The average person doesnt have the ability to take HD home movies because they dont even own the equipment necessary.

            I've seen you project your geek lifestyle onto the world before.
            • Where have you been, stuck in 2000? I said HD home movies and photographs. First, average joe can't hardly find a camera that's not digital since walmart only sells 2 cameras that still use film. []

              Second, you can't buy a camcorder that's not flash or hard disk. Yep, you heard me: Walmart only sells 2 camcorders that record directly to DVD, the other 150+ are all flash and hard drive []. The camcorder offering the smallest hard drive capacity is still 80gb for a paltry sum of $350 [] and HD camcorders start []
              • Average Joe does not even LOOK for a camera, let alone buy one.

                You are projecting your own lifestyle onto others. The average person does not own a digital camera, and most of the ones that do are sporting one integrated into their pay-as-you-go $30 cell phone.

                The average person does not have a smart phone. The average person does not have a camcorder. The average person does not have a digital camera. The average person doesnt even have a game console. They have a laptop which they send email with. Tha
                • by grrrl ( 110084 )

                  You know people who don't own a digital camera? Really? I don't know anyone who _doesn't_!

                  • LOL he's joking, obviously. Average Joe does not have a digital camera, smartphone, camcorder, game console... all they own is a laptop for email
                • I dunno, my anecdote agrees with the other guy. My dad had a digital camcorder and was looking into upgrading. This is the man who screw up a mostly locked down laptop he only used for web browsing and email (o.k. mostly instead of entirely locked down was my mistake.)
                  I have a 20 year old sub $10/hour employee with a mid-range blackberry, and the rest of them probably average $200 phones (a couple of geezers like me and two single moms bring that average way down).
          • by Jenming ( 37265 )

            HD home movies and photographs are copies, even if only one digital copy exists.

    • by PlusFiveTroll ( 754249 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:31AM (#32085850) Homepage

      If every piece of digital data doesn't have a copy made of it, it is one hardware failure away from non-existence. Most of the storage space used in businesses that I administrate is not for the original data, but for multiple backup copies. Copies are not a bad thing, in the business we call them redundancy.

      # Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)
              * Torvalds, Linus (1996-07-20).

    • by basso ( 230632 )

      The comment about all the duplication of storage makes me think of the current pop culture obsession with hoarding.

      I'd guess that all slashdotters have known someone who obsessively downloads music - to the point that they've got more music stored than they could possibly listen to.

      • My dads probably got more music (excluding the stuff he downloads) than he will ever get round to listening to. He is almost 50 and I seriously doubt he will double that and his entire basement manages to fit 2x chair + HI-FI + 90% record collection + 75% CD collection. If I go stay the rest of the records and some CDs make it impossible to get into my bed without knocking a stack over.

        This is all after getting rid of tapes/MD and quite a lot of the vinyl/CD sometime I think he hold up the entire UK mus
    • So when this is duped in a few hours will that be irony or just funny?

    • by d474 ( 695126 )
      Someone please Mod parent +Funny - Did no one get the irony?
  • With Z already in place and with [not so] recent inline deduplication []feature, I think ZFS should do it.
  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:09AM (#32085476)

    Since this is EMC, let me tell you...

    EMC loves to tell you to use RAID1. - 2 copies of your data
    If it's important, you should use timefinder (snapshots), 1 more copy of the data.
    If you want DR, then you should implement SRDF, 1 more copy of the data (this one is remote)
    If you want to do data warehousing on what you just replicated, you run timefinder on the remote copy, 1 more copy.

    So that makes it 5 copies of my data on disk.

    Oh, and to protect myself from data corruption (or a deleted file) being replicated to all these copies, it's still recommended that I backup to tape/VTL/MAID.

    Total of 6 copies of data. That is if I'm using dedup on my VTL or TSM (which stores versions of a given file). If i'm using a traditional (daily incrementals plus weekly fulls) I could have lots of duplications within my tape infrastructure.

    Ever wonder why EMC stands for Endless Mirroring Company.

  • by ltning ( 143862 ) <> on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:20AM (#32085672) Homepage

    That we have all become good citizens, backing up all our data. I presume the data recovery firms are all panicking now that all their potebtial customers have backups of everything, and thus no longer need their services.

    Not bad to have a global backup ratio of >1:1

    Personally I use RAIM (Redundant Array of Instant Messages) to back up all my important notes and communications. It only works as long as all my friends log everything too, of course.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by natehoy ( 1608657 )

      Dude, that's so old-school. I use RAT (Redundant Array of Tweets). My data is backed up... 140 characters at a time.

      I'm thinking of upgrading to a system with a larger packet size. RASC (Redundant Array of Slashdot Comments) might work, but I'm afraid of having my pr0n collection marked "insightful".

  • What is the data? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sadtrev ( 61519 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:20AM (#32085674) Homepage

    I was told about 10 years ago that "70% of the world's digital data is stored under MVS" which surprised me a bit, even then.
    After some thought when you consider that almost all commercial transactions (banks, telcos etc) whould have been running MVS then it may have been true.
    SETI and CERN and other large scientific endeavours are small fry in comparison.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      10 years ago MVS [] carts were considered huge compared to the other gaming systems of the era.

  • Challenge? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by O('_')O_Bush ( 1162487 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:21AM (#32085676)
    " Perhaps the biggest challenge isn't how much data we're creating &mdash; it's all the copies of it. "

    Why is that a challenge? Digital media is somewhat unique in that you can carefully craft media or information (reports, programs, videos much in the same way you'd carve a chair) but risk instantly and nearly irrecoverably lose it (much unlike a chair).

    Copies of data are a safeguard by redundancy. A website gets taken offline, well good thing there is a mirror. My camera breaks or my hard drive disk fails, well good thing I have an external backup or copies on my DVDs.
    • by Menkhaf ( 627996 )

      " Perhaps the biggest challenge isn't how much data we're creating &mdash; it's all the copies of it. "

      Slashdot apparently even manages to create new data while still backing up the old data...

  • When I first started, information was hard to produce... punched cards and all that.
    Information storage was expensive.
    At some point we started word processing on the desktop.
    Information storage was still expensive.
    Files were still small and the majority of the bytes in each file was information.

    As time progressed and Microsoft Office has permeated the work area, the information content of each file hasn't changed much.
    Each release seemed to take more space to store the same information.
    Today, the
    • by maxume ( 22995 )

      That's a silly analysis of it, text markup and layout is some tiny fraction of it. 150 pages of text layout information takes up about the same amount of space as 2 crappy snapshots, or a few seconds of high quality video.

      • I think Hierofalcon was probably referring more the huge inefficiency of MS Word and co to store even a simple text based document.

        I have seen 70MB+ Word files, which you can open, Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C and then paste into a new empty doc - save that doc and you have a 50kb Word file.

        Plain text doesn't really have the capability of being inefficient (unless I suppose you fill the file with crap, but then it is simply efficiently storing a load of crap).

        • by maxume ( 22995 )

          The part at the end where he talks about pretty favors my interpretation.

          I don't know what causing what you describe, but there is probably something tracking changes to the document. And maybe somebody posted in a large bitmap (from what I have seen, people think that is a great idea), or perhaps of series of them, and then deleted them.

          • Yeah, Word has a lovely feature whereby when you remove sections from a document it doesn't so much delete that content from a file as just delete the references to it. So, if someone changes one image in a doc for another it will keep a copy of both images in the file but only show the new one.

            It would be a good feature if it was actually made use of in some sort of revision history system, but as far as I can tell the only effect of it is the increased file size of some docs.

            I agree with you that the talk

    • by Smauler ( 915644 )

      Gamefaqs still hosts all its faqs in text, which is one of the reasons I use it pretty exclusively. That and it being easily the most authorative faq site out there.

  • How many libraries of congress is that?

  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @11:50AM (#32086150) Journal

    A typical individual wouldn't have a whole lot of unique information to store in the first place.... Basically, a collection of photos and some video from a few vacation trips or holidays, and some handwritten notes .... Maybe some artistic works (a few original songs or paintings, or ?) if he/she was interested in such endeavors. Oh, and your tax records and resume. But let's face it. Most of us are FAR more of content consumers than creators. Content creation usually results in mass re-distribution of the original work, as others want to enjoy a copy of it.

    I don't see any harm with this either, since duplication is the best way to protect against data loss. (When my parents were trying to trace their family history, they reached a dead-end because a library had burnt up in a fire that contained the only known records of some of the people they needed to research. With so much data going digital, on media that's practically EXPECTED to fail after less than 10 years of regular use? You better believe we need lots of duplicates out there!)

  • I have often spoken to a many engineers from gmail and hotmail....pertaining to the data they store and how they could improve their
    systems by having pointers to emails instead of actual copies per storage account. if someone sends a joke email from one gmail account to all his friends which have 80% gmail accounts (so let's say, 25 in 30) you would only still have one copy of that joke email sitting on their server accessible by all who have that pointer reference, but in fact looks like they all have thei

    • Or you could just have pointers to words in a dictionary. All you need is a few million words and you could recreate any possible email written in English
      • Or you could just have pointers to letters in the English alphabet! Then you can store all your emails in only 26 bytes (plus some overhead for the pointers).

  • by nonregistered ( 639880 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:01PM (#32086324) Homepage
    1.21 zettabytes? Great Scott!
    • by nebaz ( 453974 )

      To aptly apply the mispronounced "jigawatt" paradigm: <Doc Brown>1.31 settabytes? Great Scott!</DocBrown>

  • Retarded IP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by static416 ( 1002522 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:07PM (#32086416)

    This beautifully illustrates how idiotic the concept of "copy right" and IP in general is in the digital universe. When 75% of 1.2 zettabytes is mostly untracked copies of other information, just storing the licenses alone would be an impossible task.

    How do you maintain a business model built on the exclusive right to copy information in world where everything is a infinitely copied and copyable? It's like trying to legislate and sell access to saltwater while floating on a raft in the middle of the pacific.

  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Tuesday May 04, 2010 @12:21PM (#32086722)

    - 1 zettabyte / 1.44MB floppy disk = approx 694,444,444,444,444 floppy disks.

    - 694,444,444,444,444 * 3.5 inches per disk = 2,430,555,555,555,550 inches if you laid the floppies end to end.

    - 2,430,555,555,555,550 inches / 63360 inches per mile = 38,361,040,965 miles

    - 38,361,040,965 miles / 2.7 billion miles to pluto = approx 7 round trips to Pluto via floppy disk.

    In conclusion: Don't kill NASA yet, President Obama. We've found a way to get to Pluto!.

    • by RickyG ( 1009867 )
      Dang! I was wishing someone wouldn't fall back on the old saw ("That is x number of floppy disk!) Why didn't you use the even older one, that is x number of copies of the Britannic Encylcopdia? We would have reached the nearest star with that example!!
    • by gmhowell ( 26755 )

      If only we'd saved all of those AOL floppies...

  • No problem...

    zfs set dedup=on tank

    there... that should do the trick.

  • 75% of everything I have on disk is a copy of something else, but unfortunately I usually have lost the copy somewhere in the process of moving, moving from one machine to the next, or trying to clear up disk space so I can download more stuff to leave on my disk.

  • By definition. And since EMC is a storage company, they're almost certainly using the SI prefixes properly.

    The author of the summary is, I think, confusing zettabytes and petabytes with the base-2 units, zebibytes and pebibytes. For all of the binary prefix haters, when you get up into these sizes the difference between base 2 and base 10 units is more than big enough to justify the effort to use the correct terms. The difference between one zebibyte and one zettabyte is over 180 exabytes.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by gmhowell ( 26755 )

      Do you have Asperger's?

      • Do you have Asperger's?

        No. Do you have Alzheimer's?

        I'm assuming that's how we play this game. I haven't seen it before, though, so I'm just guessing.

  • 75% of 1.2ZB = 1E14 megabytes = 150 GigaCDs. At arround 10 tracks per CD costing each 22000USD, that makes it 34 petadollars in lost sales for the music industry !
  • If a digital copy is identical to the source file, then how do you know which one is the copy?

    Identical meaning everything down to the create date and last modified date.

  • Actually, information is useful stuff. The internet, and the world is saturated with useless stuff (data, noise). Also, the world's stuff is considerably smaller when de-duplicated. And then if you remove redundancies, and different ways of saying the same thing...
    I am pretty sure that all the world's Information can be contained on a single petabyte. That would include all the world's literature, and all the newspapers, magazines, etc. If you include pictures, maybe significantly more.
    Part of the Data pro

  • "the big numbers pose interesting questions about how the IT community will store and manage this firehose of data" - just like the construction community will house and manage the firehose of over 6 billion people, so to speak.

    Everybody takes care of their own bit(s) & backups; there is no single entity dealing with managing 1.2ZB.

    Questions not so interesting. Move on.
  • Is what percentage of it ISN'T backed up AND should be (which will be something less than 25% but much greater than 0%).

  • The number is meaningless, because "duplication" is arbitrary. Where do you draw the line? If duplication means "copying data from one place to another" then data is duplicated every time function parameters are pushed on the stack, every time memcpy() is called, every time something is loaded from disk into RAM. I could write a simple loop that copies a 32-bit quantity from EAX to EBX three billion times per second. If you include all that shit going on, I bet their number would be higher by a factor of a

  • Anybody have a link to the torrent?

  • In plainer language it is one with 21 zeros. I personally didn't know petabyte off the top of my head.