Tag Archives: enterprise tech

The Expanding (Digital) Universe: Visualizing How BIG a Zettabyte Really Is

Note: This post was originally published at Oulixeus Consulting

A lot of news articles recently (Google News currently shows 1,060 articles) are citing the annual EMC-IDC Digital Universe studies of the massive growth of the digital universe through 2020. If you have not read the study, it indicates that the digital universe is now doubling every two years and will grow 44-fold 50-fold now 55-fold from 0.8 Zettabytes (ZB) of data in 2009 to 35 40 now 44 Zettabytes in 2020. (Every year IDC has revised the growth curve upward by several Zettabytes.)

Usually these articles show a diagram such as this:


This type of diagram is great at showing how much 44-fold growth is. However it really does not convey how big a Zettabyte really is—and how much data we will be swimming (or drowning in) by 2020.

A Zettabyte (ZB) is really, really big – in terms of today’s information systems. It is not a capacity that people encounter every day. It’s not even in Microsoft Office’s spell-checker, Word “recommended” that I meant to type “Petabyte” instead 😉

The Raw Definition: How big is a Zettabyte?

A Computer Scientist will tell you that 1 Zettabyte is 270 bytes. That does not sound very big to a person who does not usually visualize think in exponential or scientific notation—especially given that a one-Terabyte (1 TB) solid state drive has a capacity to store 240 bytes.

Wikipedia describes a ZB (in decimal math) as one-sextillion bytes. While this sounds large, it is a hard to visualize. It is easier to visualize 1 ZB (and 44 ZBs) in relation to things we use everyday.

Visualizing Zettabytes in Units of Smartphones

The most popular new smartphones today have 32 Gigabytes (GB) or 32 x 230 bytes of capacity. To get 1 ZB you would have to fill 34,359,738,368 (34.4 billion) smartphones to capacity. If you put 34.4 billion Samsung S5’s end-to-end (length-wise) you would circle the Earth 121.8 times:

Click to see a higher resolution image and the dot that represents Earth to-scale vs. the line

You can actually circumnavigate Jupiter almost 11 times—but that is not obvious to visualize.

The number of bytes in 44 Zettabytes is a number too large for Microsoft Excel to compute correctly. (The number you will get is so large that Excel will cut off seven digits of accuracy–read that as a potential rounding error up to one million bytes). Assuming that Moore’s Law will allow us to double the capacity of smartphones three times between now and 2020, it would take 188,978,561,024 (188+ trillion) smartphones to store 44 ZB of data. Placing these end-to-end- would circumnavigate the world over nearly 670 times.

This is too hard to visualize, so lets look at it another way. You could tile the entire City of New York two times over (and the Bronx and Manhattan three times over) with smartphones filled to capacity with data to store 44 ZBs. That’s a big Data Center!

Amount of Smartphones (with 2020 tech) you would need to store 44 ZB (click for higher resolution)

This number also represents 25 smartphones per person for the entire population of the planet. Imagine the challenge of managing data spread out across that many smartphones.

Next Page: Visualizing Zettabytes in Units of Facebook

Ten Tech Trends for Your 2012 New Year’s Resolutions List

Article first published as Ten Tech Trends for Your 2012 New Year’s Resolutions List on Technorati

BabyNewYearOne of the most exciting things about working in tech is using it to create new ways to work, play—and even live. We have seen many great technology innovations develop over the past few years. Over 2012, ten of them will complete the jump from “new concept” to “mainstream trend.” How many of them are your ready for?

1. Everything Will Be Portable. The move to portable computing (smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks) will accelerate. Thick laptops and—even worse—desktops will be a relic of the past (except for those with high-power computing needs). If you are not yet mobile- and portable-ready, you better get there very soon.

2. Augmented Reality Will Go Mainstream. Augmented Reality (AR) is no longer a science fiction concept. Smartphones and (especially) tablets are mass-market platforms for everyday augmented reality. We are already seeing the first applications at Tech Meetups, CES and more. At least three innovators will exploit this, gaining mainstream adoption, by the end of 2012.

3. Touch Will Be Ubiquitous. Over the past five years, capacitive touch interfaces have re-programmed how millions of us interact with technology. As more devices are now sold today with touch than without, it is time to begin optimizing your user interface and user experience for touch (instead of a two-button mouse and keyboard).

4. Voice Will Be Next. While the intuitiveness of touch is a leapfrog improvement over mouse-and-keyboard, it still ties up our hands. Voice-based interaction is where we need to go. Apple’s Siri began the move of voice-driven interaction into the mainstream. This year, we’ll see SDKs for iOS and Android that harness the creativity of thousands to explode use of voice.

5. Fat Will Be the New Thin. Over a decade ago, broadband Internet enabled browsers to replace thick client applications. Now, portable computing usage across low power, lossy networks (e.g., mobile, WiFi, Bluetooth) coupled with AppStore Model has brought locally installed apps back in vogue. Building web apps is not enough; you need AppStore apps too.

6. Location-based Privacy Will Be Solved. Over the last two years location-based services became really hot. Unfortunately location-related privacy issues became hot too. The move of these services into mainstream populations of tens of millions will expand anecdotal security scares into weekly news stories, forcing adoption of safer location-based privacy policies.

7. Cloud Will Be the New Norm. Cloud computing is no longer an “edge market.” It is now adopted by big enterprises, public sector agencies—and even consumer tech providers. The cost, convenience and flexibility advantages of cloud computing will make it too hard for everyone not to use—everyday—by the end of this year.

8. …So Will Twitter. While people still love to debate the reasons to use Twitter, everything from the Arab Spring to the Charlie Sheen Meltdown showed that Twitter is now a well-recognized media channel. #Election2012 will accelerate mainstream use of Twitter—with the same overwhelming intensity we have seen for years in “traditional” campaign advertising.

9. ‘Consumerization of IT’ Planned and Budgeted. Consumer tech has become so sophisticated (without sacrificing ease-of-use and intuitiveness) that we began last year to demand its use in the enterprise. 2012—the first year in which most enterprise budgets include planned projects to support the consumerization of IT—will both accelerate and “lock in” this new tech trend.

10. 2012 Will Be Declared the Begin of “The ‘Big Data’ Era.” This year we will see another 40% increase in data we need to manage. This growth, coupled with recent releases of enterprise-ready high-scale NoSQL products will begin adoption of this tech by the entire industry. Looking back, 2012 will represent the start of the global, cross-industry Big Data era.

If you haven’t started embracing these already, now is a great time to add them to your “2012 Technology New Year’s Resolution List.” Sponsor a few pilot projects in your enterprise. Buy one or two Post-CES products to help you work more efficiently at the office. Or—if you want to include the whole family—buy one to use while you shop online, watch TV or manage your household.