Storage Is Getting Cheaper But We’re Still Running Out Of Space

Storage Is Getting Cheaper But We’re Still Running Out Of Space

Storage prices have dropped massively in recent years. Yet despite that, there’s a risk that we might actually run out of space for data. This is why.

Warehouse picture from Shutterstock

A recent IDC study commissioned by EMC examined the size of the “digital universe” — the amount of data that is being stored and used. The figure that jumped out at me wasn’t the sheer size, but the fact that creation of content is still growing faster than the volume of storage available:

The world’s amount of available storage capacity (i.e., unused bytes) across all media types is growing slower than the digital universe. In 2013, the available storage capacity could hold just 33% of the digital universe. By 2020, it will be able to store less than 15%.

That isn’t necessarily a problem, because not all of that data is permanent. Entertainment-focused content such as streaming TV or games doesn’t need to be saved long-term. But it’s worth remembering that storage demands are growing at stupid rates. “If you’re a business and you manage information, every two years you’ll have double the information you have today,” EMC Australia director of technology Matt Zwolenski told Lifehacker.


  • Get ZFS, its a good system for large amounts of data, with capacity to add a ridiculous amount later. its maximum storage is 256 zebibytes

  • This doesn’t sound like running out of space, it sounds like more efficient use of the space. One of the big advantages to virtualising infrastructure/’cloud stuff’ is that you don’t have to overprovision everything so much.

  • At least we are only dealing with data storage! I would hate to think about how bad a problem we would have if we were running out of physical storage space too. I mean, we probably are, but it seems much less of a catastrophe given the speed we are inventing bigger capacities for digital data.

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