Last year saw 64.2ZB (zettabytes) of created or replicated data, with “unusually high growth” occurring due to a significant increase of people staying home, but less than two per cent of that data made it to 2021.
This is according to analyst firm IDC’s annual DataSphere and StorageSphere forecasts, with the firm claiming the vast majority of new data was created or replicated primarily for consumption or was temporarily cached and overwritten with newer data.
Dave Reinsel, senior vice president of IDC’s Global DataSphere, said the influx of data came amid “the systemic downward pressure asserted by the COVID-19 pandemic on many industries and its impact will be felt for several years”.
According to the DataSphere forecast, which measures how much new data is created, replicated and replicated, data creation and replication is set to surge by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 per cent from 2020 to 2025, with Reinsel claiming data creation is set to take off in the short- to mid-term.
"The amount of digital data created over the next five years will be greater than twice the amount of data created since the advent of digital storage," he said.
Meanwhile, the firm’s StorageSphere forecast, which measures the size of the installed base of storage capacity, storage utilisation, and storage availability, claimed storage capacity reached 6.7ZB in 2020, and has a CAGR of 19.2 per cent over the same five-year period.
As this is slower than the CAGR seen in the DataSphere forecast, John Rydning, research vice president of IDC's Global DataSphere, said the trends point to less created data being saved each year.
"Organisations should consider preparing now to store more data as they seek to achieve digital transformation milestones and improve business metrics by accelerating innovative data analytics initiatives," he said.
In response to the forecasts, IDC suggested that organisations should be storing more of the data that they create.
“Data is crucial to any organisation's efforts to establish digital resiliency – the ability for an organisation to rapidly adapt to business disruptions by leveraging digital capabilities to not only restore business operations but also capitalise on the changed conditions,” the firm claimed. “Data enables digital resiliency because business is dependent on data.”
IDC also highlighted that data can be used by “digitally transformed” companies to develop new solutions.
“Companies are quickly discovering that having more data not only helps affirm the direction they are heading but also creates opportunities to launch new revenue streams in their seemingly saturated product portfolios," the firm claimed.
Additionally, IDC sees data as a way for organisations to maintain trust and empathy of employers, partners and customers. The analyst firm also claimed that there is potential value to be found in analysing older data, but the cost of storing more data is holding organisations back from changing their data retention policies.
“This is a factor that is expected to continue to be a headwind for faster expansion of the global StorageSphere until organisations begin to show a positive ROI on data analytics initiatives, especially with older data," IDC added. “Proven ROI on analytics initiatives would buttress the need for storing more data or retaining data longer.”