The Extraordinary Future of Data StorageNovember 5, 2011 • By Cask J. Thomson
When I purchased my first computer in the late 90’s I loved the fact that I had an incredible 5 gigabytes of storage on the hard drive, If I had an extra $300 floating around I could upgrade it to 10gb but why would I need such excessive amounts of storage?
Present day, November 2011 I currently sit here on my computer staring at my dual flat-screen HD monitors that cost around that $300 that could have went towards my 10gb drive investment, thing is, I don’t need a hard disk like that for I have 10 terabytes of storage in my desktop system, if someone had explained to me the need for the vast amount of digital storage in the future, I think I would have been very humored at the idea with utter disbelief following afterwards. In fact, – and sorry for the shameless plug – the side project to WordswithMeaning! is Hostinator (a web hosting company in which I am director of) currently stores about 1 petabyte which would store about 26 million average mp3 files. Now THAT would be a music library to embrace.
In 2009, the entire Internet was estimated to contain close to 500 exabytes
Ok, a quick Computer Science lesson now.
A Megabyte is 1,000 KB, A gigabyte is 1,000 MB, a Terabyte 1,000, GB,Petabyte = 1,000 TB and so on - all the way over to the end of the storage list you will meet the yottabyte, which is an intense amount of data, in fact if you were to record every word that has ever been said and thought (conscience) in the entire history of man as a high definition audio recording, then quadruple that storage amount THEN you would half a yottabyte. To put this unthinkable calculation into perspective – it would take 9,671,406,556,917,033,397,649,408 regular DVD discs to store a yottabyte. The combined space of all computer hard drives in the world does not amount to even one yottabyte, so you would only need 00000.13% of a yottabyte to store the whole of humanity’s digital data. Truly remarkable.
It is estimated that we will reach 1 yottabyte by 2035, and if this article is read by someone in the future they will most likely be laughing at my thoughts about data, in the same way I did when I picked up my first 5gb drive.