How Long Will It Be Until We Need Petabyte Hard Drives

Mozy, an unlimited backup provider, just pulled together an interesting graphic to illustrate just how big a Petabyte is.  In total Mozy store 15 Petabytes, and they’ve calculated that one Petabyte equals:

  • 13.3 years of HD content
  • Nearly all of the photos on facebook (1.5PB in total)
  • How much data google processes in just under an hour

I’ve pasted the Mozy graphic at the end of the post with There’s a hugh graphic at the end of the post will all the cool stats Mozy have pulled together.

The post made me wonder, how long will it be before users need Petabyte Hard Drives?  Bill Gates once (although he now denies it!) that the average computer wouldn’t need more than 64KB of ram, and he’s a pretty clued up guy.  My total data storage has gone from:

  • 1994 My first PC: 200MB HDD 1MB Ram
  • 1997 2nd PC:  8GB HDD ?? Ram (can’t remember)
  • 2001 3rd PC: 512MB 40GB HDD
  • 2005 4th PC: 2GB RAM 2x250GB HDD
  • 2008 Current PC: 4GB RAM

Now, I haven’t added the storage for my current PC because I now store all my files on a Windows Home Server, which currently has around 6.5TB of storage:

WHS

In my server are 8 HDDs in total.  I added the eighth just last week, a 1.5TB drive because my other 1.5TB drive was throwing up errors and looked like it was going to fail.  So I purchased another drive to ensure I had enough space to copy all my files in case it died.  That’s makes my real storage level around 5TB.,

I’m not sure if I’m going to continue increasing my storage at a rate of around 5-10x every couple of years.   I really think that going forwards I will start moving my files to the Cloud; I’m already storing 250GB of my documents, photos and music with Sugarsync who offer a min 2GB of storage for free.

Do you think user’s will continue requiring bigger HDDs, or do you think going forwards users will store their data in the cloud?

whatsapetabyte

, , , ,

26 Responses to How Long Will It Be Until We Need Petabyte Hard Drives

  1. Sean July 18, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    i think there will always be petabytes worth of files that people don’t want in the cloud. i would always want an actual hard copy -so to speak- of all my photos, music etc, etc. i myself use a combo of the two like yourself.

  2. Avatar of Sean
    Sean July 18, 2009 at 6:32 pm #

    i think there will always be petabytes worth of files that people don’t want in the cloud. i would always want an actual hard copy -so to speak- of all my photos, music etc, etc. i myself use a combo of the two like yourself.

  3. Sean July 18, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

    oh yeah and everton your author bio says windows 8 twice, i think u ment to put you write for windows 7, windows 8. just fyi.

    • Everton July 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

      thanks – fixed

  4. Avatar of Sean
    Sean July 18, 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    oh yeah and everton your author bio says windows 8 twice, i think u ment to put you write for windows 7, windows 8. just fyi.

    • Avatar of Everton
      Everton July 18, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

      thanks – fixed

  5. Tim Igoe July 18, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    With the amount of disk space going up and up… how many of us actually have PROPER backup systems in place… I’d bet not enough ;)

    Be it RAID’d setups to protect if a disk fails, or a genuine second copy, archived off somewhere. This is where storing some data in the cloud works wonders, having an ‘offsite’ copy of data can be a life saver.

  6. Tim Igoe July 18, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    With the amount of disk space going up and up… how many of us actually have PROPER backup systems in place… I’d bet not enough ;)

    Be it RAID’d setups to protect if a disk fails, or a genuine second copy, archived off somewhere. This is where storing some data in the cloud works wonders, having an ‘offsite’ copy of data can be a life saver.

  7. iPhone for free July 19, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    Not only will we be wanting to store more and more data but the size of the data we will be storing will also increase exponentially as software gets more sophisticated and contains greater amounts of features, tools and accessibility. For example, I am currently happy with 5mega pixel photos, but in 5 years time that will probably be considered bad quality and so the size of each photo will increase.

  8. iPhone for free July 19, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    Not only will we be wanting to store more and more data but the size of the data we will be storing will also increase exponentially as software gets more sophisticated and contains greater amounts of features, tools and accessibility. For example, I am currently happy with 5mega pixel photos, but in 5 years time that will probably be considered bad quality and so the size of each photo will increase.

  9. Steve July 25, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    Perhaps three more generations of Winbloat will require new computers to have petabyte drives to hold Windows and have room for user data. Unless, of course, corporate CIOs wake up and migrate to Linux or FreeBSD. That would legitimize the Unix-descended systems in the eyes of all those cubicle rats who view Windows as the “professional” OS because that’s what their company bought.

  10. Steve July 25, 2009 at 11:02 pm #

    Perhaps three more generations of Winbloat will require new computers to have petabyte drives to hold Windows and have room for user data. Unless, of course, corporate CIOs wake up and migrate to Linux or FreeBSD. That would legitimize the Unix-descended systems in the eyes of all those cubicle rats who view Windows as the “professional” OS because that’s what their company bought.

  11. Ky July 26, 2009 at 1:53 am #

    I had to laugh

    When I bought my first computer, you could by a hard drive. A 5Kb (yes that is a K) Winchester drive was around $5000!

    It is interesting to see where we have come.

  12. Ky July 26, 2009 at 12:53 am #

    I had to laugh

    When I bought my first computer, you could by a hard drive. A 5Kb (yes that is a K) Winchester drive was around $5000!

    It is interesting to see where we have come.

  13. Tim July 27, 2009 at 4:18 am #

    If the combined written works of humanity are only 50 PB, then what the heck will we fill up our hard drives with when we get that big?

    • Pastageek August 12, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

      Since written works aren’t the only thing out there and other things can take up much more space (say HD movies and software), it really isn’t relevant. As more and more software comes out to help us get our creativity onto the computer, storage demand is going to go sky high.

      Also remember that right now what you use in a computer only deals with sight and sound. But what about when the other three senses are affected by the computer when such peripherals come out? And what about when they become HD integrated? Imagine a movie or game that was HD in all 5 senses. Don’t you think that it would take up more than traditional systems?

  14. Tim July 27, 2009 at 5:18 am #

    If the combined written works of humanity are only 50 PB, then what the heck will we fill up our hard drives with when we get that big?

    • Pastageek August 12, 2009 at 6:12 pm #

      Since written works aren’t the only thing out there and other things can take up much more space (say HD movies and software), it really isn’t relevant. As more and more software comes out to help us get our creativity onto the computer, storage demand is going to go sky high.

      Also remember that right now what you use in a computer only deals with sight and sound. But what about when the other three senses are affected by the computer when such peripherals come out? And what about when they become HD integrated? Imagine a movie or game that was HD in all 5 senses. Don’t you think that it would take up more than traditional systems?

  15. Retnuh66 July 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    That quote has often been attributed to Bill Gates.. but is entirely fabricated. He denies it because he never said it.

    • Pastageek August 12, 2009 at 5:15 pm #

      That makes sense. Bill Gates never really seemed the type to limit himself, and if RAM never expanded, how could he make more software on such a limited market? So who came up with the phrase?

  16. Retnuh66 July 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

    That quote has often been attributed to Bill Gates.. but is entirely fabricated. He denies it because he never said it.

    • Pastageek August 12, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

      That makes sense. Bill Gates never really seemed the type to limit himself, and if RAM never expanded, how could he make more software on such a limited market? So who came up with the phrase?

  17. Certde July 30, 2009 at 5:03 am #

    yeah, now a gigabyte is about $.10, being that most Terabyte drives are around $100

  18. Certde July 30, 2009 at 6:03 am #

    yeah, now a gigabyte is about $.10, being that most Terabyte drives are around $100

  19. Forex Trade Signals August 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    I’ve been reading your posts for the last couple of hours, and it all has been very informative and nicely written. I did want to allow you understand that for some reason this post doesn’t seem to work in Internet Explorer. On a side note, I was wondering if you desired to swap blogroll links? I hope to hear from you soon!

  20. Baylor August 31, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    As high quality music and HD continues to evolve, and editing becomes easier, i think there will be a need for petabyte HD’s sooner than we think