Digital Universe: What recession?

EMC World is kicking off with a bang this year, with IDC’s release of 2009’s Digital Universe study (sponsored by EMC).

Every year this release drives some interesting conversation.  In 2007 we learned we were producing more digital content than storage to archive it all (fortunately, not everything needs to be archived).  In 2008 we talked about who owned all that data (70% user produced, but corporations responsible for 85% of that).  This year is no exception — the news is that our production of information hasn’t slowed, regardless of the economy.

We may have frozen our infrastructure spending, laid off workers, slowed our buying, and so on, but our information doesn’t stop flowing.  In fact, the digital universe grew 3% faster than expected in a year when IT budgets around servers and storage took a 6% hit.  And it’s going to continue.  The problems at financial institutions will bring about more regulatory oversight, and that means more data being recorded and archived.  Stimulus efforts will create more data.  We’re outpacing our estimates, and we’re not hiring enough people or buying enough technology to keep up with it.

There’s all kind of meaty information in the study (as well as cool comparisons to “how many books” … or how many Blu-Ray discs), which you can read about at EMC’s site.  Some of the tidbits I thought especially interesting?

  • The average data center disk drive costs over $35/year to power and cool.
  • Storage scales, but does information management software?  Searching, archiving, protecting, managing all that data, policy metadata for the same … it’s intimidating.
  • The amount of data which is security-intensive is growing faster than the amount of data overall.  Good news for RSA.

The release of this study every year is the one time I can count on EMC showing up on the relatively mainstream tech blogs and such.  Always fun, and glad they joined it up with EMC World this year.

An interesting question to ask yourself is whether you’re in a place to grow with all this information?