Dave McCrory coined the term data gravity in 2010.  Data gravity is the ability of bodies of data to attract applications, services and other data.  The force of gravity, in this metaphor, is manifested in the way software, services and business logic are drawn physically closer to data, relative to its mass (the amount of data). The larger the amount of data, the more applications, services and other data will be attracted to that data. Data gravity is often used to describe how more and more data moves to the cloud (large hyperscale data centers).

Digital Realty, which provides global data center, co-location and interconnection solutions, recently published results from its Data Gravity Index.  Digital Realty conducted research between August 2019 and August 2020 and drew upon more than a dozen third-party data sources, ranging from the World Economic Forum and the United Nations to global consulting and market research firms, to construct this index.  This index helped the company represent the intensity of data creation, data augmentation, available bandwidth and latency to provide a data intensity metric for several geographic locations for G2000 enterprises as shown below. 

The Data Gravity Intensity, as measured in gigabytes per second, is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 139% globally through 2024 as data stewardship drives global enterprises to increase their digital infrastructure capacity to aggregate, store and manage the majority of the world’s data.  This growth in intensity is shown in the figure below.

By 2024, Digital Realty estimated G2000 Enterprises will create data at a rate of 1.1 EB/s (exabytes per second) and will require 15.6 ZB (zettabytes) of additional data storage annually. The figures below show a 28% CAGR in data creation per second and a 53% CAGR in data storage from 2020 through 2024.  

Data Gravity Intensity is expected to more than double annually across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia and Pacific (APAC) and North American regions through 2024.  By 2024, EMEA is expected to remain the home to the greatest intensity of Data Gravity across the 21 metros analyzed in this study.  Across the 21 metros, EMEA and APAC Data Gravity Intensity are increasing at faster rates than North America.  EMEA region Data Gravity Intensity will exit 2024 at almost double the rate of North America.   

The figure below shows 2020 compared to projected 2024 Data Gravity Intensity for the 21 metro areas. The six fastest growing metros in terms of Data Gravity Intensity through 2024 are projected to be Singapore, Hong Kong, Dallas, Sydney, Seattle and Tokyo.  Metro-to-metro data flows will play a big role in increasing Data Gravity Intensity, with London to Amsterdam having the greatest data flows in 2020 and projected for 2024, followed by Paris to London.

Digital Realty’s Data Gravity Index for G2000 companies shows the growing impact of “data gravity” on regions and metropolitan areas and its impact on data creation and storage capacity from 2020 through 2024.

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