The urge to record things and pass them along is inherent in our nature, and humans have followed this instinct for thousands of years. However, since the start of the 20th century, our ability to capture, store, and transfer data has expanded to the point where we now need sophisticated technology to manage it.
As big data continues to increase, we must find new ways to manage it at scale. It’s vital for business success to understand how much data exists, how we can expect it to increase in the future, and to identify ways to manage and optimize its value.
The Origins of Data Collection
The earliest account of gathering data to track and control business interests dates back to 7,000 years ago. Methods to store data ran the gamut of tablets, scrolls and later books, until 1932. This period saw the creation of the first magnetic drum, which remained a common data storage method until the 1960s. In 1947, the first random access memory (RAM) device was designed that recorded data on cathode ray tubes. This technology was followed by the magnetic tape drive in 1951, the first Hard Disk Drive (HDD) in 1956, the floppy disk in 1967, and the compact disc or CD in 1982. Data storage then ran the gamut from the Zip Drive in 1994 to the DVD in 1995, the SD Card, USB flash drive, and Blu-Ray optical discs by 2003. Finally, cloud storage was born in 2006.
How Much Is Data Growing?
The rapid evolution of data storage devices and media directly results from the increasing quantities of data humans collected over the years. Data quantities have grown exponentially since the beginning and continue to do so, but how much data is in the world currently, and how much is it likely to increase? Statistics tell us the following:
In 1997, Michael Lesk concluded that there “might be a few thousand petabytes of information, all told.” Since then, data generation has soared. By 2008, the world’s servers processed 9.57 zettabytes of information, according to a 2011 report by the McKinsey Global Institute.
Current projections from Statista show that, by the end of 2021, the world will generate 79 zettabytes of data, an increase of 15 zettabytes over 2020’s amount, and 34 zettabytes more than in 2019. Given that a zettabyte equals a trillion gigabytes, that’s a lot of data. Live internet statistics show: