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When I first encountered data as an IT practitioner, we spoke in hushed whispers about kilobytes, but before long we knew that Megabytes were where the future lay.  My employer enthralled us all with the promise of a bright future by branding our staff canteen ‘Megabytes’ – we all smiled and laughed conspiratorially – the future was exciting AND it smelled of bacon!  The bullet train carrying us all forward into the dataplex left the Gigabyte station a long time ago, Terabytes became the new norm – PCs and TV set top boxes routinely had 1 Tb or more of storage available.  Accelerating past Tera and into Peta – we started to understand the truth of data proliferation and what it meant for content management migration.  And then we visited Exabytes, but the track had extended to Zettabyte territory.

‘Big data’ is a term used by analysts and vendors to describe advances in our ability to store, process and access vast volumes of data.  The growth in data content migration from mainframes and Megabytes to the Cloud and Zettabytes has been remarkable. But how can these volumes of data be useful at home, in the workplace or at school?

IDC recently published its annual DataSphere forecast, which quantifies the data created, consumed, and stored in the world every year.

According to their report, in 2020, the amount of data created and replicated grew significantly higher than predicted.  How could we create 64 Zettabytes of data?  It turned out this increase in data content was due to the dramatic increase in the number of people using data hungry applications for working from home, for education and for  home entertainment.

The really interesting aspect was that only 2% of this new data was saved– the rest was either created or copied for consumption, or temporarily stored and then replaced with newer data.  But with more than 64 Zettabytes created (that’s roughly equal to the storage of sixty-four billion 1 Terabyte PC hard drives) but only 2 Zettabytes added to the global cache, there is an accelerating growth in global data storage.

IDC stand by their prediction that global data storage will grow to 175 Zettabytes by 2025.  Further interesting facts arose; for example,  the Cloud was a net receiver of data rather than being a net generator. and growth in data migration was huge; people were moving stuff to the cloud in huge volumes.  Also, businesses were twice as likely as consumers to store their data in the cloud.  The data has valuable lessons– keeping data allows quick thinking businesses to mine for value, to be fleet of foot when markets change and to preserve undiscovered relationships and trends.

Why should I care so much about data content migration?  Data storage directly impacts on the challenges faced by our customers.  Advances in the requirements of our global customer base, especially now that so many more people are working from home, mean that at Vamosa, we now routinely migrate terabytes of data per customer engagement. When we first did our content migrations, we built up from tens to hundreds of gigabytes, and from thousands of web pages to millions of intranet stories.  But now Terabytes are the norm,  and Petabytes are where we see our stretch.  Our first true Petabyte project is in flight, involving the data migration of billions of files, millions of users, and all of the associated superstructure of comments and metadata, or context and relationships.  And the move to Exabytes then Zettabytes may be in our future.  And what about Yottabytes?  Well, that’s  to worry about another day.

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