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06. March 2021

Big Data Growth Statistics to Blow Your Mind (or, What is a Yottabyte Anyway?)

Interesting statistics to look at the data growth rate over time, cloud trends, and other fun info (90% of all data was created in the last two years!)

Those of us in the storage or infrastructure industry have been talking about data growth over time – both years and decades even. I’ll date myself on this one, but I remember a project I did with Legato and SGI in the 90s to showcase the superior performance of NetWorker, which SGI OEMed at the time. The objective was to back up one (!) terabyte in less than one hour. As outrageous as that seems today, at the time we could count on two hands the number of organizations worldwide that had more than 1TB of data. (It also took SGI weeks and over $1m in equipment to build out the environment.) This looks so quaint today as we contemplate data production statistics like worldwide data is expected to hit 175 zettabytes (10,000 TB) in 2025!

Basically the growth of big data in our digital world is mind-boggling but also completely understandable. Not long ago, it was accepted lore that the most important data exists in an organization’s databases, running e-commerce, ERP, email, and the like. While those are still important, today it’s the growth of unstructured data that has become the lifeblood of an organization, not just the traditional office documents, video and audio files, but now geo-spatial data, IoT data, streaming, and on and on. In fact, it is estimated that over 200 billion devices will be generating data by 2020 alone. Because of this and related trends, the use of cloud for both compute and storage has exploded. By 2025, it is increasingly likely 50% of all data will be stored in the cloud.

I thought it would be fun to compile some interesting statistics to look at the data growth rate over time, cloud trends, and other fun info (90% of all data was created in the last two years!). I share these data increase stats with you for your enlightenment and enjoyment, and don’t forget to check the footnotes.

  • Worldwide data is expected to hit 175 zettabytes by 2025, representing a 61% CAGR1

  • 51% of the data will be in data centers and 49% will be in the public cloud

  • 90 ZB of this data will be from IoT devices in 2025*

  • How fast is data growing? In 2018, 71% of enterprises reported that unstructured data was growing “somewhat faster” or “much faster” than other business data2

  • 80% of data will be unstructured by 2025*

  • On top of business documents, video and audio are added new content such as social media, IoT, streaming and geo data

  • There will be 4.8 billion internet users by 2022, up from 3.4 billion in 2017

  • Worldwide public cloud revenue is expected to grow 17.5% in 2019 to $214.3B5

  • The largest segment is Cloud Application Services (SaaS), expected to grow to $94.8B in 2019

  • The top public cloud provider in 2018 was Microsoft Azure at $21.2B, followed by Amazon Web Services (AWS) at $20.4B, IBM a distant 3rd at $10.3B, and Oracle, Google, and Alibaba collectively representing less than that6

  • SaaS is growing in popularity, with 50% of companies citing automatic maintenance as a reason to adopt, 45% citing lower cost than in-house solutions, and 45% citing faster deployment7

  • 200 billion devices are projected to be generating data in the IoT trend, by 2020*

  • 90% of all data in existence today was created in the past two years9

  • While most everyone is familiar with bits, bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, and probably even petabytes, what comes next are exabytes (1000 petabytes), zettabytes (1000 petabytes), and yottabytes (1000 zettabytes). One yottabyte is equal to 10008 bytes!10

Curious how Aparavi can help you deal with this massive unstructured data growth? Get in touch!


  1. IDC, “Data Age 2025”.
  2. 451 Research, “Addressing the Role of Unstructured Data with Object Storage”.
  3. IDC, as quoted by Data Management Solutions Review, “80 Percent of Your Data Will be Unstructured in Five Years”.
  4. Cisco, as quoted by Network World, “Cisco Predicts Nearly 5ZB of IP Traffic Per Year by 2022”.
  5. Gartner, “Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud Revenue.”
  6. ZDNet, “Top Cloud Providers 2018.”
  7. ZDNet, “Why Companies are Switching to Everything-As-A-Service.”
  8. Forbes, “How Much Data Do We Create Every Day?”
  9. PC Reviews, “90% of the Big Data We Generate is an Unstructured Mess.”
  10. Visual Capitalist, “How Much Data is Generated Each Day?”