Business Information Consumption: 9,570,000,000,000,000,000,000 Bytes Per Year
UCSD News (CA) (04/06/11) Rex Graham
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers estimate that the amount of business-related information processed by the world's computer servers has reached 9.57 zettabytes per year. "Most of this information is incredibly transient: it is created, used, and discarded in a few seconds without ever being seen by a person," says UCSD professor Roger Bohn, who collaborated with James E. Short and Chaitanya K. Baru on the research. The 9.57-zettabyte estimate is based on guidance from experts, industry data, and their own judgment. "Since our capacity assumptions, methodology, and calculations are complex, we have prepared a separate technical paper as background to explain our methodology and provide sample calculations," Short says. The researchers relied on server performance per dollar invested as a way to measure different server types and sizes. "While midrange servers doubled their Web processing and business application workloads every two years, they doubled their performance per dollar every 1.5 years," Bohn says. The estimated workload of the world's servers could be an underestimate due to the fact that server-industry sales reports do not include servers built from component parts by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and others, the researchers note. "In the future, data archiving and preservation will require as much enthusiasm in research and industry settings as we have provided to data generation and data processing," Baru says.