By 2020, more than one-third of all digital information created annually will either live in or pass through the cloud, creating a new trillion-dollar market, according to research by IDC.
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Even during the recession, the digital universe grew by 62%, the researchers said, predicting a 44-fold increase in the amount of data captured from 0.8 zettabytes (trillion gigabytes) in 2009 to 35 zettabytes in 2020.
This is the equivalent of the 2,000-page US health care bill enacted last month, stacked end to end, covering the US in paper three feet deep, the researchers said.
They predict that the number of "files" will grow 60-fold, but the number of IT professionals will rise by only 1.4 times.
By 2020, the percentage of information requiring a level of security beyond baseline levels will be almost 50%, up from approximately 30% this year, and the gap between the amount of information created and the storage available to store it will grow from 35% to 60% over the next decade, IDC predicted.
While enterprises will generate only 20% of the digital universe, they have a liability associated with 80% of it, a liability that will only get worse with Web 2.0 invading the enterprise, it said.
The new is good for cloud-based storage firms as CIOs will seek new levels of agility, efficiency and control by moving to private cloud computing environments, IDC said.
As they adopt cloud services and reduce their spending on legacy systems, CIOs will be able to spend more on innovation. IDC estimates that every dollar spent on cloud computing will generate $6.50 in extra business in user copanies. This could generate more than $1tr in new sales for them between now and the end of 2014, it said.