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The Digital Universe Created 161 Exabytes Of Data Last Year

Think you've got information overload? Brace yourself.

Last year, 161 exabytes of digital information were created and copied, according to research firm IDC. Can't get your mind around that number? That's understandable. Try this -- that amount of information is equal to three million times the amount of information in all the books ever written. It's also equal to 12 stacks of books, each extending the 93 million miles between the Earth and the sun.

And it's only going to continue to grow exponentially. According to IDC, the amount of information created and copied in 2010 will surge more than six fold to 988 exabytes. That amounts to a compound annual growth rate of 57%.

An exabyte is one quintillion bytes or a billion gigabytes.

While nearly 70% of what IDC is calling the digital universe will be generated by individuals over the next three years, most of this content will be touched by a business or government agency network along the way -- it will be held in a data center or at a hosting site, it will travel over a telephone wire or Internet switch, or it will be stored in a backup system. Those organizations, IDC said, will be responsible for the security, privacy, reliability, and compliance of at least 85% of the information.

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