IDC Asks: What’s Your DATCON? Are You Ready for Never-Ending Global Data Expansion?

  • Data Age 2025 The Digitization of the World

Data growth is soaring — even more so than anyone thought just two years ago.

In 2018 alone, our increasingly digital world created, captured, replicated and consumed 33 zettabytes of digital data — and this is expected to balloon to 175 zettabytes by the year 2025. We call this the global datasphere, and IDC has been calculating the size of the global datasphere for over a decade.

Seagate today announced the publication of IDC’s newest major analysis of data trends: Data Age 2025 — The Digitization of the World From Edge to Core. For over fifty years, IDC’s been a highly respected provider of intelligence about IT, telecom and consumer technology applications. IDC has published regular updates tracking, examining and explaining the development of our ever-advancing, highly connected data-hungry world.

This new Data Age 2025 white paper delves deeply into the ramifications for key industries of the need for data readiness, the enormous growth in data-intensive applications, and the evolution of the IT infrastructure. As part of the new research, IDC has developed a “DATCON” (data readiness condition) index to help companies understand their readiness for managing, analyzing and storing the surge in data, and identify gaps that need to be addressed.

How big is 175 zettabytes?

So just how big is 175 zettabytes? Well first, realize that a zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes. If you were able to store the entire 175 zettabytes onto Blu-ray discs, you’d end up with a stack of discs that could get you to the moon — 23 times.

If you could download 175 zettabytes onto today’s largest hard drives, you’d need 12 and a half billion drives to store that much data. As an industry, we ship a fraction of that today.

There’s no doubt about the future needs for storage. To keep up with the storage demand stemming from all this data creation, IDC has actually increased its forecast for the quantity of storage devices required to meet demand — it now projects that over 22 zettabytes of storage capacity must ship across all media types from 2018 to 2025, with nearly 59% of that capacity supplied from the hard drive industry.

The enterprise is fast becoming the world’s data steward…again

With all of today’s improvements in bandwidth and cloud infrastructure, the enterprise is once again becoming the primary steward of data. The Digitization of the World study predicts that the installed bytes across the enterprise — including cloud (which is seen as the new core) and the edge — is expected to represent over 80 percent of total installed bytes worldwide in 2025.

And this trend is happening now — in fact, as consumers depend more and more on accessing their data remotely, IDC expects that beginning in 2019 more data will be stored in the enterprise core than in all the world’s existing endpoints.

At the same time, “as companies increase the digitization of their business and drive consistent and better customer experiences, consumers are embracing these personalized real-time engagements and resetting their expectations for data delivery,” according to IDC. “They expect to access products and services wherever they are, over whatever connection they have, and on any device. They want data in the moment, on the go, and personalized.”

30 percent of data forecasted to be real-time by 2025

Because of this increasing infusion of data into and between personal life streams and business workflows, IDC predicts that by 2025 nearly 30% of the global datasphere will consist of real-time data. The increasing share of real-time data puts a significant and growing onus on enterprise architecture, both at the edge and the core, to be able to respond and provide the precise data consumers need, when they need it.

“Enterprises looking to provide superior customer experience and grow share must have data infrastructures that can meet this growth in real-time data,” IDC emphasizes in the paper.

DATCON: Data Readiness Condition Index

One of the new things IDC did this year to help companies understand their level of data readiness was to create the new DATCON Index — a data readiness condition index. It’s designed to analyze various industries regarding their own datasphere, level of data management, usage, leadership and monetization capabilities.

The DATCON index is a calculated score that is synthesized across six weighted vectors and numerous metrics that emerged from surveys, research, industry experts, and other sophisticated modeling techniques. IDC surveyed over 2,400 companies worldwide to inform the DATCON calculations, and examined four industries as part of its DATCON analysis: financial services, manufacturing, healthcare and media and entertainment. These are critical industries that encompass nearly half of the global enterprise datasphere.

The Data Age 2025 is a powerful research project that allows IDC to bring forth insight on how much new data is created each and every year. The latest white paper is new and exciting, and it can teach industries how they need to prepare for the influx of data coming their way.

In the details of the white paper you can learn more about the strengths, concerns and opportunities for these key sectors:

Health Care

The global health care industry faces daunting data challenges that include secure EMR, PACS enterprise systems, 4K video, and massive imaging files.


Billions of transactions per minute processed in real time, layers of encrypted security, legions of security cameras recording 24/7, AI technologies watching over it all. How safe is the finance sector?


Data-driven factory automation in full production while you sleep, AI robotics, high-precision lasers, materials processing, critical safety systems.

Media & Entertainment

The digitization and broadcast of high-end audio and video, combined with lightning-fast streaming and gaming make this a data-hungry sector. Is it ready for action?

To get a taste of the latest figures and the scale of the global datasphere, take a look at the new infographic from IDC below. And when you’re ready to assess your own DATCON, or take the first step to understanding the growth of your own datasphere and its ramifications for the future of your industry, click through to our Data Age 2025 page where you can read the full IDC white paper.

IDC Asks: Are You Ready for the Never-Ending Global Data Expansion?



About the Author:

John Paulsen
John Paulsen is a "Data for Good" advocate, with more than 20 years in the data storage industry. He's helped launch many industry-firsts including HAMR technology, 10K-rpm and 15K-rpm hard drives, drives designed specifically for video and for gaming, Serial ATA drives, fluid dynamic HDD motors, 60TB SSDs, and MACH.2 multi-actuator technology.