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Digital universe and its impact bigger than thought

Digital universe and its impact bigger than thought

IT organizations will need to transform their existing relationships with business units, a study says

"It's not until Viacom sues Google for a billion dollars for the information that its customers are putting on these basically rented electronic storage space[s], and all of a sudden Google has got to fight a lawsuit," Gantz said. "Whether they win or lose it's hundreds of millions of dollars in lawyer fees. So the enterprise is picking up responsibility for information that's not actually created at the hub of the enterprise."

To deal with this explosion of the digital universe in size and complexity, IT organizations will face three main imperatives:

Also adding to the deluge of digital data being created is the worldwide changeover in the next several years from analog TV systems digital. According to IDC, the number of digital TVs in the world doubled last year and should surpass 500 million by the end of 2011.

Digital growth's impact on the environment

IDC estimates that the amount of electronic waste being created alongside data is already accumulating at more than 1 billion units a year. Most of it comes from mobile phones, but personal digital electronics and PCs are also greatly impacting the environment.

As the world changes over to digital televisions, analog sets and obsolete set-top boxes and DVDs "will be heaped on the waste piles, which will double by 2011," IDC said. How much power will be consumed by the added data glut is more difficult to determine, but manufacturers developing power-saving chips and users installing power-saving systems, including new cooling and air conditioning and new management systems, should help. According to a 2006 study by IDC, server power and cooling costs were escalating rapidly as more powerful servers were being introduced. "Power consumption that was 1kW per server rack in 2000 is now closer to 10kW," the study found. "Customers building new datacenters are planning for 20kW per rack."

The main findings of the Digital Universe study:

  • The digital universe is bigger than we thought: 281exabytes in 2007 - 10 per cent bigger than we said it would be last year.

  • Digital cameras and security cameras out shipped our expectations.

  • The digital universe will grow ten-fold in five years

  • In 2007 the digital universe contained more bits (computer 1s and 0s) than there are stars in the physical universe

  • While 70 per cent of the information in the digital universe is created by individuals, enterprises have some responsibility or liability for 85 per cent of it (think of Google getting sued by Viacom for US$1 billion because of the videos uploaded by consumers)

  • There is now more information created in a year than there is capacity to store it responsibility for the information in the digital universe by industry does NOT match IT spend or GDP distribution by industry.

  • A single email with a 1MB attachment sent to 4 colleagues can generate 50MB of information in the digital universe (based on an IDC-like architecture)

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