We are transitioning into a data-driven economy, and the new demands of data management call for innovative digital strategies and transformation of data storage infrastructure.

Data is the bedrock of the global digital economy. As governments and businesses around the world accelerate their journey towards digital transformation, a solid digital strategy will be key for success in the data age, with data technologies becoming central for productivity expansion, data monetization and value creation.

Business leaders and entrepreneurs will now need to amplify their focus on the mega trends driving data growth over the next few years, and examine their business’ course for the future value of data from creation, collection, utilization and management.

To support this transition, Seagate commissioned the Data Age 2025 white paper, which identifies major data-driving trends that will eventually lead to the growth of the global datasphere from 33 zettabytes in 2018 to 175 zettabytes by 2025.

DigiconAsia interviewed  Robert Yang, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Seagate Technology for a peek into the future of data storage infrastructure and digital strategies.

What is Seagate’s vision of ‘Data Age 2025’ and ‘IT 4.0’ all about?

Yang: With much of today’s economy relying on data, this reliance will only increase in the future as companies capture, catalog and cash in on data in every step of the supply chain. Enterprises are collecting vast amounts of customer data to provide greater levels of personalization, while consumers integrate social media, entertainment, cloud storage and real-time personalized services into their streams of life.

This exponential growth in data and the need for real-time analysis will contribute to the rise of the edge, which in turn is the biggest driver behind the emergence of IT 4.0 – the new IT infrastructure paradigm that transforms data from passive to active. Within this ecosystem, smart technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and the fifth generation of wireless tech (5G) will transform not just the way we live and work, but also how services and solutions are produced and delivered.

Ultimately, our vision for all of this is to craft the datasphere. As a brand, we are committed to maximizing humanity’s potential by delivering world-class, precision-engineered data solutions developed through sustainable and profitable partnerships.

With rapid digitalization leading to surging data volumes, how do you foresee the new IT infrastructure paradigm transforming the way we use and manage data?

Yang: As more devices come online and begin churning out zettabytes of data, the centralized cloud will need support from the edge – impacting the size and location of data centers that are built in the future.

Putting new computer, networking and storage resources in close proximity to the devices creating the data makes it possible to analyze data on the spot, delivering faster answers to important questions, such as how to improve factory robotics or whether an autonomous car should apply the brakes.

The rise of the edge will drive big demand for new and redesigned data management infrastructure. This presents a significant opportunity for us – according to our estimates, emergence of edge storage will drive incremental $3B – $6B total addressable market (TAM) by 2025.

What would hard drives of the future be like? What critical roles would they play in the digital economy that’s upon us?

Yang: The emerging Data Age means businesses face a phenomenal growth in data sources and data volume that needs to be stored and processed. According to IDC, hard drives will be central in managing 70% of the datasphere. To tame this complexity, new product innovations will be required to help businesses deal with the higher demand for data.

Seamless, resilient and unified technology solutions are crucial for extracting the most value from data in the most efficient manner. For instance, Seagate’s Exos and Nytro solutions are designed to make the lives of data center professionals infinitely easier by providing smart security paradigms, blazing responsiveness, groundbreaking capacities, and clever power management — all necessary to enable the edge while supporting the needs of Cloud and traditional data center customers. Innovative drive placement maximizes airflow and minimizes power consumption, and unique performance, efficiency, and scalability features provide an unprecedented low TCO.

Likewise, Seagate’s next generation Nytro all-flash and flash-intensive systems will offer modular flexibility combining a selection of Seagate Nytro flash drives in enclosures design-optimized to support the datasphere’s highest-performance platform for maximum IOPS at minimum cost.

As businesses increase their edge investment, they must have the right setup to withstand the huge increases in data volume and costs that are coming down the line. The future will be about edge and cloud working together to help businesses make smarter decisions instantly and drive up productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction.