Under the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC; http://www.insdc.org), globally comprehensive public domain nucleotide sequence is captured, preserved and presented. The partners of this long-standing collaboration work closely together to provide data formats and conventions that enable consistent data submission to their databases and support regular data exchange around the globe. Clearly defined policy and governance in relation to free access to data and relationships with journal publishers have positioned INSDC databases as a key provider of the scientific record and a core foundation for the global bioinformatics data infrastructure. While growth in sequence data volumes comes no longer as a surprise to INSDC partners, the uptake of next-generation sequencing technology by mainstream science that we have witnessed in recent years brings a step-change to growth, necessarily making a clear mark on INSDC strategy. In this article, we introduce the INSDC, outline data growth patterns and comment on the challenges of increased growth.