Big Data, Small Storage

Bits and bytes feed predictive data models gathered from Web behavior, grocery store purchases, television viewership, demographic information and a host of other sources. Google and Microsoft, along with help from Nielsen, Hitwise and others, have figured out ways to link that data from point-of-sale terminals in stores to televisions, computers and mobile devices.

How much influence did the billboard have on your last online purchase? Companies are working on ways to perfect that predictive analytics. Where will companies store that data? International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that the amount of data center capacity in the U.S. continues to rise, as the number of data centers decrease. By 2016, the research firm expects the number of datacenters in the U.S. will decline from 2.94 million in 2012 to 2.89 million. This decline will be concentrated in internal server rooms and closets, with a very small decline in mid-sized local datacenters.

The firm expects the trend to continue as storage capacity increases and virtualization and cloud computing grows. Despite the decline, total datacenter space will increase significantly, growing from 611.4 million square feet in 2012 to more than 700 million square feet in 2016. By the end of the forecast period, IDC expects service providers will account for more than a quarter of all large datacenter capacity in place in the United States. Data has become so manageable that researchers can analyze, sort and encode a book into the genetic molecules of DNA. Scientists will find a way to store mounds of data in areas the size of a pinhead.

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