Is Silicon Valley’s ‘Datageddon’ Coming, Or Will Modern-Day Florence Continue to Renaissance?

It’s been referred to as the ‘Cradle of Innovation’ in a time of transformation, where art has been replaced by Clouds, DaVinci’s by Zuckerberg’s, beauty by functionality and greed . . . well, by greed (some things never change.) But is the 21st Century’s Renaissance peaking, or will it live to Snapchat another day?

Well if you’re a fan of the HBO hit show ’Silicon Valley’ you might have reason to ponder that question, after watching the Season 2 premiere opener.

Fiction Mirrors Reality

Fictional Peter GregoryFictional Peter GregoryThe episode was classic ’Silicon Valley,’ complete with cameos by the Winklevoss twins (Zurckerberg's favorite arch enemies) and Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. It depicted the real-life death of actor Christopher Evan Welch (December 2, 2013) and reimangined his passing into an hysterical plot-line. Last season the late actor played the character Peter Gregory, the Raviga Capital venture capitalist who was the first to invest in the fledgling company, Pied Piper.

Fictional Gavin BelsonFictional Gavin BelsonThis season the company’s start-up team attended Gregory’s funeral where he was eulogized by Hooli CEO Gavin Belson (played by Matt Ross), who runs the giant tech corporation à la Google. This is the company which is in adamant pursuit of beating Pied Piper to market, with its own ’Nucleus’ compression platform.

It’s in this eulogy, that we get a doomsday glimpse of how the Digital Age could potentially implode upon itself.

“Data creation is exploding, with all the selfies and useless files people refuse to delete on the cloud,” Belson said. “Ninety-two percent of the world’s data was created in the last two years alone. At the current rate, the world’s data storage capacity will be overtaken by next spring.”


According to Rob Marvin at the Software Development Times: “None of those stats are real, but Belson’s doomsday mongering of data shortages, data rationing and data black markets ushering in a ‘datageddon’ sets the race between Pied Piper and Nucleus to debut their consumer-ready platforms at CES as this season’s driving force.”

Truth Stranger than Fiction

While Marvin assures us that none of Belson’s stats are real, there is some validity to the possibility that a full-blown ‘Datageddon’ could be afoot. Whenever we think about an apocalypse we think of zombies made believable by shows like The Walking Dead or when focusing on the Internet, perhaps malicious hackers, malware and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks on our computer hardware.

But a Datageddon is more than that. Starting with high resolution retina displays on our handheld devices and tablets spurred on by 4G data networks and driven at rampant speed by consumers’ demand for video (and content companies’ drive to supply it), in addition to gobs of data being sent to the Cloud every second of every day, all the elements are potentially in play for a showdown of supply and demand.

According to ForbesAnthony Wing Kosner: “Juice the system too hot and the Internet could collapse under the weight of the traffic—we could entertain ourselves to death.”

The Actual Stats

By 2020, there will be 5,200 gigabytes of data for every person on Earth, totaling  over 40 zettabytes. To put it in perspective, 40 zettabytes is 40 trillion gigabytes -- estimated to be 57 times the amount of all the grains of sand on all the beaches on earth. To hit that figure, all data is expected to double every two years through 2020.

The number of servers (virtual and physical) worldwide will grow 10-fold and the amount of information managed directly by enterprise datacenters will grow by a factor of 14.

And unfortunately if you’re thinking we’ll have the right technicians at tne ready to ward off this potential Datageddon, think again, because the the number of IT professionals expected to grow to attend to this crisis is less than a factor of 1.5. In deed, we are under-staffed!

So enjoy your 21st Century “Florence” now my friends, because in the very short and foreseeable future, our data may longer have a server left to contain it, and instead of fighting Zombies, we’re going be potentially at the mercy Cloud Barons who most likely will charge us a King's Ransom just to take a peak at our last tweet! Oh, the humanity of it all - where is Rick Grimes when you need him!

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