EMC worked with IDC to make a Worldwide Information Growth Ticker as seen here:
One thing I’ve noticed in all this talk about explosive information growth is how most vendors are sticking to a strategy of how to store it and manage it. A lot of these vendors make a lot of money storing content but I’m beginning to wonder how good being a bunch of digital “pack rats” truly is. Even if we build systems to manage the information, how much value can we extract out of the digital “junk” we keep. It’s not the responsibility of companies to figure out the value of the information for us but it would be nice to know along with the calculator, how much that information truly costs. I think as the information grows, we’ll start to see people come to terms with how they manage that information and what they decide to consume or store.
Here’s an example: My digital camera (Fuji Finepix S5 Pro) shoots 25MB raw files and I choose to shoot raw because it’s a “digital negative”. Now compared to Canon and Nikon, Fuji’s raw format is horribly inefficient. On some days I can run through an 8GB flash card which gets me roughly 260 pictures. That gives me 84 days of pictures assuming I fill up a card. That’s a lot of pictures to shoot but even if I shoot half as much, I could end up filling up a 750GB SATA drive in a couple of years given how often I take pictures. That is a ton of data to create, manage and protect. Pile on all the mp3’s and movies people download and it’s even easier to see how people fill up 500GB hard drives in a years time. Now maybe I’m an extreme case but the point is that even cutting the average user’s data creation rate by 1/8th of mine, it isn’t cheap. Most consumers aren’t used to buying new drives every couple of years and also figuring out how to protect that kind of data.
I don’t think technology is keeping up with generating at least from a consistent cost perspective. Part of my reasoning is that now people are placing much more value on their data than they used to. How will the average joe handle the this cost and growth?