February 2

The digital storage world changes as the times do. How data is stored and where we use it isn’t exactly the same as it was a decade ago, let alone even a few years ago. In 2024, multiple factors are driving data trends from our ability to generate it, technological advances and market changes, to our need to protect it. Here’s a breakdown of those 3 key areas to watch this year in storage tech and data use.

Creation

Getting a sense of how global data creation is growing as a whole is essential to gaining an understanding of how our world is shaped by data. IDC does regular analysis in its DataSphere Forecast and updated its numbers in the last year. While we are generally aware that a lot of data is being created (latest figures say more in recent years than previous 30 years put together), predictions of growth continue to be exceeded thanks to constantly accelerating needs and uses. After exceeding the 2020 predictions thanks to pandemic requirements and changing habits the sharing and consumption of rich-media has not slowed. IDC now estimates that by 2027 global data will reach a whopping 291 zettabytes (ZB). We’ve charted the accelerating growth and you can see the climb in recent years that shows no sign of abating.

Load chart image


Capacity

Demand for storage tech slumped in the last few years but is rebounding because our need to store more data is pretty constant and the technology is pushing to meet that need. Slumping after the unexpected boom in storage demand a few years ago the need for lots of data to be both stored at the datacenter level and also reliably accessible means storage capacities will have to keep up. In the datacenter, more platters and advances in read-write heads have made current disks function with upwards of 10 platters in single drives. Technologies like helium sealing, increasing track density and using energy and heat-assisted recording have edged the possibilities upwards into the 20-26TB range. In the flash-based storage sector, SSDs continue to meet demand for speed in most consumer locations. It really comes down to where data is being stored and how it is being used. Datacenters need capacity for real-time access, but also for archiving the massive amounts being generated. New applications like the rapid rise of AI, machine learning, and a proliferation of connected IoT(Internet of Things) devices are generating and impacting our capacity needs. The industry shipped another 875 EB(exabytes) of hard disk storage in 2023! Capacity requirements resulting from continued generation in all the various areas of our digital landscape are demanding technology continually evolve and expand.

Projection of HDD Annual Capacity Shipments
Projection of HDD Annual Capacity Shipments COUGHLIN ASSOCIATES-2023-08-14

Challenges

Data has as crucial a role as ever in business life as an important part of growth and evolving business needs. That importance brings with it the need for protection. With the amount of data being generated the ability to both manage it and protect it is a growing concern amongst IT decision makers. Systems need to be resilient to meet needs but also able to recover from downtime due to failures and a growing landscape of external threats. 65% of respondents in Dell’s Global Data Protections Index were concerned that a disruptive event would occur in the next year and their organizations’ current measures may not be sufficient to fully recover. Data loss impacted 38% of firms in the last 12 months. That is from various things including software and hardware failure, service provider errors, user error and what continues to grow as a cause of downtime: external security breaches. Malware, spyware, viruses, and ransomware/cyberattacks account for 40% of unplanned system outages. The use of multicloud solutions (public and private cloud use) as a mitigation strategy is trending but securing and backing up data safely continues to be a concern amongst professionals due to the rise in attacks and breaches. Protecting data is an ever-present concern especially as the amount being generated around the world continues to grow. The challenge at all business and user levels is being able to keep things moving and increase confidence in our ability to prevent and recover from disruptions.

In previous reports IDC made the conclusion that evolving data use made it “critical” to our daily lives. While that remains pretty clear, it is the change data effects on those lives as we transform our interactions, learning and sharing with it that is the real value. Creation, storage and protection of data will be areas to keep an eye on for the foreseeable future.

Sources/Resources

Category: business

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