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The current rate at which data is generated is the fastest in human history. Over the last two years, more data has been generated than over the preceding 200,000 . Although only about 0.5% of this data is ever actually analyzed and used , it is still having profound effects across industries. According to a 2014 Gartner survey, 73% of organizations have invested in big data or are planning to by 2016 . This proliferation of data is revolutionizing the world, but some questions remain: where is all of this data coming from, and what does it mean for the future of the data center industry?

Figure 1: Visualization of Data Flows

Traditionally, much of the world’s data has been generated directly by human interactions, for example:

  • 40,000 Google searches performed per second
  • 1 trillion photos taken per year
  • 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute2

With the rise of the Internet of Things (Iot), however, that trend has been changing. Smart devices have begun generating staggering amounts of data without any human interaction. From modern jet engines that produce up to 1TB of data per flight to autonomous cars that pump out 4TB per day , the amount of data generated by 2020 is expected to rise to 1.7 MB per second, per person.

This increase in data generation is self-reinforcing and unlikely to slow any time soon. As more data is gathered, more uses for the data are found, which in turn causes more data gathering. This makes an end to this cycle in the near future unlikely.
Accordingly, data centers must prepare for the huge increase in demand they are sure to see over the coming years. As the amount of storage and computing power required increases, and users continue to accept less and less downtime, the data center market will have to evolve. Luckily, new technologies promise to streamline data center management. The Internet of Things, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and predictive maintenance all promise to reduce downtime, costs, and risk for data center operators. Properly managed data centers will remain engines of growth and profitability for years to come. On the other hand, improper management and a hesitation to adopt the newest trends will surely disadvantage data centers in the long run.

As data flows from existing sources continue to increase and new sources begin producing troves of new data, the data center industry is sure to remain in high demand for years to come.


Jacobson, R. (2013, April 24). 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day. How does CPG & Retail manage it? Retrieved December 12, 2017, from


Marr, B. (2015, September 30). Big Data: 20 Mind-Boggling Facts Everyone Must Read. Retrieved December 12, 2017, from

Rivera, J., & Van der Meulen, R. (2014, September 17). Gartner Survey Reveals That 73 Percent of Organizations Have Invested or Plan to Invest in Big Data in the Next Two Years. Retrieved December 12, 2017, from

Palmer, D. (2015, March 12). The future is here today: How GE is using the Internet of Things, big data and robotics to power its business. Retrieved October 12, 2017, from

Nelson, P. (2016, December 07). Just one autonomous car will use 4,000 GB of data/day. Retrieved December 12, 2017, from

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