Are we in the midst of an approaching digital tempest, a perfect storm comprised of one part data storage shortage and one part lack of computing power?
The answer is yes. The world could run out of computer hard drive space by 2020.
In fact, industry analyst firm IDC estimates the digital information universe will double every two years through 2020. Additionally, the number of connected devices is projected to produce 40 zettabytes by the end of the decade.
To put that into context, a single zettabyte is the equivalent of 34,359,738,368 smartphones, assuming a typical device has 32GB of storage.
Computer chip and hard drive manufacturers have been great at squeezing ever more dense data into the same amount of space. But Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor, would be troubled to learn that chip performance and storage capacity on integrated circuits are starting to reach the point where new technologies will have to take over.
So are we witnessing the natural end of Moore’s Law, the theory that computer processors will double in power every two years?
The answer is perhaps. We now have cloud computing picking up the slack and becoming an integral part of our digital age. There’s also digital DNA storage which is arguably the densest data storage. DNA storage works on the same premise of our own DNA which bundles information in base sequence. Much like our own genetic code that can store information, digital DNA storage can store up to 700 terabytes per gram.
However, DNA storage isn’t practical enough for everyday use because getting the data back out of storage takes a very long time.
I should also mention electronic quantum holography as another storage alternative for the future. This technique forces electrons to vibrate at multiple wavelengths which in turn allows you to store 35 bits on a single electron.
Despite the coolness factor of these innovations, none of these next-gen technologies can avert datageddon—the approaching data storage storm.
And with all the needless files people upload to the cloud, that day will be here before we know it. Because no one really deletes anything anymore or thinks about tomorrow.
So is your organization prepared? Or will you be a bystander to the data storage train wreck occurring before our eyes?
But until DNA storage is installed in everyday usable devices or an electronic quantum holographic machine goes fully online, you should consider taking steps now to boost your database environment by improving performance, managing data growth, and thus reducing costs.
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