According to Aston University researchers, cloud servers are running out of space, which the experts warn will result in a global data shortage.
Because of the “mind-blowing amount” of information that people store digitally each day, servers all across the world may soon experience severe data storage shortages.
Within the next three years, according to Aston University researchers, the global datasphere, or the total amount of data generated globally, will grow by 300 percent. Currently, all of this data is housed in huge warehouses (data centers) on banks of servers.
Unfortunately, adding more server warehouses is not the only way to expand “the cloud” storage. According to the Aston team, data centres already consume 1.5% of the global electricity annually. That renders the practice of continuously constructing new facilities specifically for enormous servers unsustainable.
Servers smaller than your hair!
In light of this, researchers are currently striving to develop new, five nm thick data storage surfaces. That is a lot smaller than the width of a human hair—about 10,000 times smaller! Since the amount of information people save digitally every second of every day is probably uncontrollable, they will be able to improve data storage capacity on digital devices at the same time.
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According to a university release by Dr. Matt Derry, a lecturer in chemistry at Aston’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, “simply building new data centres without improving data storage technologies is not a viable solution.”
“Increasingly we face the risk of a so-called data storage crunch and improved data storage solutions are imperative to keep up with the demands of the modern world.”
“We will be exploiting advanced polymer chemistry as a pathway to increase the amount of data that can be housed on storage media,” adds Dr. Amit Kumar Sarkar, a researcher in materials chemistry.
“Increasing the efficiency of existing technologies will significantly reduce the need for costly, environmentally damaging construction of new ‘mega data centers.’ The next three years will be crucial. The global datasphere is predicted to increase to 175 zettabytes, with one zettabyte being approximately equal to one billion terabytes,” Sarkar concludes.
The effort to alleviate the impending data crisis is a part of both the UN Sustainable Development Goals and UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) 2022–2027 strategy.