You need a Zetta what?

Data, data, everywhere!  I have been doing some reading on data scale, and quite honestly it reminds me a lot of the kinds of feelings I had while taking an astronomy class in college… the scale is simply too large to get your head around. Before we get too far into this, try to imagine in the simplest terms, the amount of digital data you personally create in a day.  In terms of raw numbers, let’s take a look at some simple definitions of terms, starting with the world most of us live in, and can relate to in some fashion.  If you think in terms of internet upload/download speeds.. we all jump mentally to a Megabyte.  You think about picture storage, how much space Google, Apple or other provider gives you for free storage, you think Gigabytes.  You think about your local storage device, backup devices and other general storage needs Terabytes are a normal size that you can imagine what you would do with … how much storage do I need for my pictures, music, applications etc… those are all relatively normal terms for most everyone.

1 kilobyte = 1024^1 = 1,024 bytes
1 megabyte = 1024^2 = 1,048,576 bytes
1 gigabyte = 1024^3 = 1,073,741,824 bytes
1 terabyte = 1024^4 = 1,099,511,627,776 bytes

Not so long ago, there was “news” of petabyte storage systems for large enterprise storage, we are now getting into sizes that most of us can’t quickly work back into the “how much can I store on that” size… 1 petabyte = 1024^5 = 1,125,899,906,842,624 bytes

But how much can you store in 1 Exabyte??  exabyte = 1024^6 = 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 bytes in 2006 there was an estimated 160 exabytes of available hard-drive storage world-wide… no small amount of storage… and by 2009 one of the hard-drive manufacturers estimated a total of 330 exabytes of available storage…

Now enter the Zettabyte (this is where we get to the astronomy  … not sure how to relate this thing to me size). 1 zettabyte = 1024^7 = 1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424 bytes  (that is 1 trillion Gigabytes), it is estimated that available storage crossed the Zettabyte mark in 2010, and 1.8 Zettabytes in 2011.  Forget available storage… Cisco is estimating internet IP traffic alone will cross 4 Zettabytes by 2016.

I can draw the graph for you… but I think you get it!

Where does all this data come from? …. Well… just this blog… has a certain number of bytes that I created by putting my thoughts to digital “ink”.  The twitter post about publishing this blog… a few more bytes… the click on the link you performed to get here… a few more bytes… some information gathered about locations, clicks, and other blog-stats.. a few more bytes.  Now obviously small scale, but put this on the global scale, and simply the browsing about on the internet is generating huge amounts of data (ask Google analytics).  Add to that, digital images, movie streaming, voice-over-IP phone calls, cell phones, cloud based backup services, you name it… it all copies, replicate, generate, aggregate, analyze…. data…. more data today then yesterday, and there will be more data tomorrow than today. We are hurtling forward at a truly amazing pace.

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  1. How big is your data? | StefBauer's Blog - @StefBauer - April 15, 2013

    […] me as so very appropriate for the topic I have been beating the drum about since my post about zetabyte storage needs.  It is with those “extreme” storage needs that you need to build and […]

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