A recent report states that the total amount of data stored digitally will exceed 40 trillion gigabytes (40 zettabytes) by 2020. This means the average human will have approximately five terabytes of data stored on digital devices such as hard disks, flash drives, and on the cloud. The majority of this data will be stored in the traditional manner, on mechanical hard drives, however other storage mediums will continue to play a part in the data storage conundrum. As of now, however, hard drives remain the most effective medium in which to store large amounts of data, with more and more capacity being made available over time.
One of the more interesting points made by the report is that optical storage mediums will fall in sharp decline over the next seven years as more and more PCs ship without optical drives, and instead rely on external devices. The report also suggests that cloud storage will become much more widespread as more and more people gain access to faster broadband. This will be accelerated as more and more companies store data on the cloud. A recent survey suggests that 22% of companies that currently store data on the cloud hope to store 90-100% of their data on the cloud within the next three years.