A View to the Cloud

What really happens when your data is stored on far-off servers in distant data centers

6 min read
Illustration: Francesco Muzzi/Story TK
Illustration: Francesco Muzzi/Story TK

We live in a world that’s awash in information. Way back in 2011, an IBM study estimated that nearly 3 quintillion—that’s a 3 with 18 zeros after it—bytes of data were being generated every single day. We’re well past that mark now, given the doubling in the number of Internet users since 2011, the powerful rise of social media and machine learning, and the explosive growth in mobile computing, streaming services, and Internet of Things devices. Indeed, according to the latest Cisco Global Cloud Index, some 220,000 quintillion bytes—or if you prefer, 220 zettabytes—were generated “by all people, machines, and things” in 2016, on track to reach nearly 850 ZB in 2021.

Much of that data is considered ephemeral, and so it isn’t stored. But even a tiny fraction of a huge number can still be impressively large. When it comes to data, Cisco estimates that 1.8 ZB was stored in 2016, a volume that will quadruple to 7.2 ZB in 2021.

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overhead scene of trees and a lightbulb in middle
iStockphoto

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This is a sponsored article brought to you by 321 Gang.

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