33% of digital content will be on ‘cloud’ by 2016

NEW DELHI: Your e-mail has been on the internet cloud ever since you started using one. Now brace up to store more content on the cloud-with the convenience of being able to access it anywhere, anytime on any connected device. That’s the promise of cloud computing and this trend will only accelerate over the coming years.

According to research firm Gartner the desire to share content and to access it on multiple devices will motivate consumers to start storing a third of their digital content in the cloud by 2016. Gartner said that just seven percent of consumer content was stored in the cloud in 2011, but this will grow to 36% in 2016.

“Historically, consumers have stored content on their PCs, but as we enter the post-PC era, consumers are using multiple connected devices, the majority of which are equipped with cameras. This is leading to a massive increase in new user-generated content that requires storage,” said Shalini Verma, principal research analyst at Gartner. “With the emergence of the personal cloud, this fast-growing consumer digital content will quickly get disaggregated from connected devices.”

The increased adoption of camera-equipped smartphones and tablets is allowing users to capture huge amounts of photos and videos. Gartner predicts that worldwide consumer digital storage needs will grow from 329 exabytes in 2011 to 4.1 zettabytes in 2016. This includes digital content stored in PCs, smartphones, tablets, hard-disk drives (HDDs), network attached storage (NAS) and cloud repositories.

The bulk of the cloud storage needs of consumers in the near term will be met by social media sites such as Facebook, which offer free storage space for uploading photos and videos for social sharing. The Gartner analyst said that while online backup services are the most well-known cloud storage providers, their total storage allocated to consumers and ‘prosumers’ is small relative to that maintained by social media sites.

Average storage per household will grow from 464 gigabytes in 2011 to 3.3 terabytes in 2016. In 2012, Gartner believes that the adoption of camera-equipped tablets and smartphones will drive consumer storage needs. In the first half of 2012, a shortage in supply of HDDs as a result of the floods in Thailand provided an impetus for cloud storage adoption, leading to an unusual overall growth rate between 2011 and 2012. The future is definitely on the cloud!

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