Data storage power – the foundation of the digital economy
Ain Alalam – Rashad Iskandrni
The intelligent world is driving explosive data growth across industries, elevating data storage to board and national-level discussions. Huawei predicts that humanity will enter the yottabyte data era by 2030. (one yottabyte is equivalent to a quadrillion gigabytes or 1024 bytes). Therefore, an effective data storage strategy is required to manage this flood and build competitive businesses and economies.
To bring clarity and offer guidance on current and future storage needs, Huawei released the “Data Storage Power – The Digital Cornerstone of High-Quality Development” white paper at the Huawei Connect 2022 summit, the 7th annual flagship event for the global ICT industry in Bangkok. The report measures data storage capabilities and analyzes the current data storage landscape across different regions worldwide.
The white paper identifies a direct link between data storage and economic growth. The report says a $1 investment in data storage infrastructure and services can have a direct output of $5 and create more than 10,000 jobs in the region. That $1 can also yield an indirect output of $8, increasing the demand for corresponding interdisciplinary talents by 10 times. Further, the services of enterprises benefitting from data storage power will support an induced economic value of $30-40 and help society discover new solutions to problems across industries.
Using capacity as the benchmark of data storage power, the report authors compared the 2020 global GDP and the storage capacity of data centers in 34 countries and regions. The correlation reached an astonishing 0.98, demonstrating that the higher the economic output, the higher the storage capacity—and vice-versa.
Countries in the region have recognized the power of data in shaping their national socioeconomic future. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, countries with sizeable traditional energy industries, seek to leverage digital technologies to transform and develop their economies and societies. Saudi Vision 2030 included a data center investment target of $18 billion in 2021. Other countries in the Middle East are developing similar data-centric national visions that can help strengthen their national economic position and help catch up with the developed world.
It’s not all smooth sailing, however. The sheer expansion in the amount of data has encountered a bottleneck. The IDC forecasts that the global data load will expand by 23% between 2020 and 2025. Storage capacity, on the other hand, will only grow by 19% in that period. This translates to 64.2 ZB of new data in 2020, which increases to an astonishing 181 ZB by 2025. The research firm calls on organizations to start preparing now on how to handle much more data if they want to realize digital transformation milestones and improve business metrics.
Meanwhile, organizations can extract significantly more value from their storage investments by switching to modern storage technology. Flash memory (SSD) performance is 100 times as powerful as HDD technology. With a service lifetime of 10 years, flash memory can meet the digital requirements of various industries and is the focus of most innovations in the industry.
Flash also has clear sustainability benefits in an era where protecting the environment is a global priority. The white paper notes that IT equipment accounts for 50-70% of data center electricity consumption, with data storage accounting for 35% of the total. An all-flash data center also significantly decreases the cost of space and energy consumption and enables the sustainable development of data storage power through a higher utilization rate of resources and cost-effectiveness. The electricity consumption of SSD is 70% lower than that of HDD with the same capacity. Each replacement of SSD is as energy-saving as planting 150 trees, which promotes the low-carbon operation of the data center. In addition, flash memory storage equipment can save as much as 50% of space, including reducing the overall cost of ownership for hot data storage by 85%.
A growing concern for organizations is building resilience in data storage systems to safeguard against loss due to cybercrime or system failure. The report notes that 60% of enterprises without backup measures went bankrupt 2-3 years after experiencing a disaster. More broadly, low storage reliability significantly hinders economic production and growth. Therefore, an advanced backup and recovery strategy is fundamental to guarantee business continuity and rapid response capabilities. Speaking at the white paper launch, Gu Xuejun, Vice President of Huawei IT Product Line, said: “Only when data is well stored, quickly computed, and stably transmitted through networks can digital infrastructure unleash the value of data and better promote high-quality economic and social development.”
Discussions around digital transformation typically revolve around computing power. But powerful computing without corresponding investments in robust storage will result in low digital infrastructure utilization. Therefore, concerted efforts by the government, enterprises, scientific research institutions, and other players are needed to develop comprehensive data storage power to spur economic and social development.
Under the theme, “Unleash Digital,” over 10,000 ICT industry leaders, experts, and partners gathered at Huawei Connect 2022 from around the world to explore how to effectively unleash digital productivity, promote the digital economy, and build up stronger digital ecosystems.