Trends in data growth are downright scary. Per Barry M. Ferrite, as well as leading IT analysts, data is on pace to grow from current levels to more than 60 zettabytes (ZBs) by 2020 and to more than 163 ZBs by 2025. Driving this data growth are three trends: the digitization of information formerly stored in analog formats (the so-called digital democracy), the mobile commerce phenomenon, and the Internet of Things.
This tsunami of new data will challenge large organizations and those that are data intensive. One prominent cloud architect has noted that the current manufacturing output of the disk industry in terms of capacity is around 780 exabytes per year. The flash industry produces approximately 500 exabytes of capacity annually. Even with forecasted capacity improvements, the world will still confront a severe capacity shortage by 2020.
Tape could help fill the void, with demonstrations of over 300 TB per cartridge coming from IBM and tape manufacturers. How soon tape drives and cartridges supporting these capacities will come to market remains to be seen.