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Big Data Journal Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff

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Growth of the Consumer Data Cloud

Use of cloud data services at the consumer level is growing like never before. It’s estimated that, by 2016, more than a third of personal data will be stored on cloud servers. Today, that number is more like 7%.

One of the most compelling reasons for this move has to do with smartphones and tablets. As consumers are capturing more and more data via these devices, they need more and more cloud storage space. That includes things like cameras, video recording devices, and other data creation possibilities in the mobile world.

The cloud is the natural choice for data storage of this type. Traditional hard drives, personal computers, and even flash drives all fall short when used for these devices, largely because of the mobility issue.

Add in options to automatically capture and send all of that data from mobile devices to the cloud, and it’s no wonder growth is expected to be so dramatic.

The big data boom in consumer data

According to Gartner, there are currently around 330 exabytes of personal data in the cloud today. By 2016, that number is expected to grow several times to 4.1 zettabytes (or 4.1 trillion gigabytes).

There are a number of ways this consumer data will be stored, including:

  • Cloud storage providers like DropBox.
  • Proprietary storage providers such as iCloud.
  • Social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

This also presents a number of interesting opportunities to meet the need for consumer cloud storage space, however.

Direct-to-cloud

One of the trends we’re likely going to see in the consumer data cloud is the direct-to-cloud model. In this model, user content is stored immediately in the cloud as soon as it’s generated. This eliminates the need for large amounts of storage on a home computer, and further helps consumers as they try to move their computing functionality to tablets, smartphones, and other storage devices.

Exactly how all of these trends will affect business-level cloud services remains to be seen. It’s not inconceivable that in the bring-your-own-device future we could also see a bring-your-own-storage solutions. That, of course, will raise all sorts of security and compliance issues going forward.


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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.

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