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Data volumes set to hit 175ZB with a tectonic shift to the cloud

There will be more data in the public cloud than enterprise datacentres or consumer devices by 2025 as data shifts location, according to a study by IDC and Seagate

The volume of data on earth will increase to 175ZB (zettabytes) by 2025, half of which will be stored in public cloud storage. The majority of that data will be stored on disk drives, although solid-state storage will increase to about 25% of all disk capacity by 2025.

Optical media such as DVD is declining in use, while the volume of tape in use is set to continue to rise along with data volumes.

Those are the findings of Data Age 2025, a study by IDC, sponsored by disk drive maker Seagate.

Central to the study is the characterisation of the digital world into three spheres: the core, which comprises enterprise and public cloud storage; the edge, which comprises “enterprise-hardened” remote locations including branch offices; and endpoints that span consumer and internet of things (IoT) devices.

The study’s over-arching prediction is that total data volumes will increase from 33ZB in 2018 to 175ZB by 2025. Of that, more than 80% will be held in disk drives, with 22ZB of capacity needed to ship by 2025 to keep up.

Source: IDC/Seagate

IDC visualises those volumes of data with reference to how many DVDs it would fit onto – a stack that would reach the moon needed to store 175ZB – or that it would take one person 1.8 billion years to download it at 25MBps.

A key sea change will be that from 2025 IDC expects 49% of data to be held in public cloud storage.

This is a result of the increasing reliance on enterprises and consumers to trust data to, and access data from, remote locations.

But key also to this change is the rise of the “sensorised” world in which cloud and datacentre locations are the repository of, for example, IoT-type devices at the periphery.

The IDC study predicts there will be 150 billion such devices by 2025 and that “real-time data” will increase from 15% of all data in 2017 to about 30% in 2025.

Consequently, the share of data held on consumer devices will decrease from 47% in 2017 to 36%, says the study.

Source: IDC/Seagate

Having said that, the study also tracks and predicts “digital engagement” by connected persons, predicting that on average they will have 4,900 data engagements per day by 2025, up from 584 in 2015.

When it comes to storage media, the disk drive – spinning disk and flash – is expected to carry the bulk of the load, about 85% of all capacity. Of that, 59% will be spinning disk and 26% solid state.

Optical media is set to see an absolute decline as consumers rely more on streaming media, while tape use looks set to decrease relatively slowly.

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