20 Petabytes

20 Petabytes. What is that? That is a “best guess” of the amount of storage that NetApp’s largest customer currently has. How much is 20 Petabytes, you may ask? Well, let’s take a look:

1 Petabyte = 1000 Terabytes = 1000000 Gigabytes = 1000000000 Megabytes
To be exact, 1 Petabyte = 1,125,899,906,842,624 bytes or 2^50 bytes. A lot of times, the exact number is rounded down to 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.
But, we’ll use the exact amount…therefore, 20 Petabytes is 22,517,998,136,852,480 bytes.

So, what does that number mean? Well, according to James S. Huggins’ Refrigerator Door:
1 Megabyte = A small novel; 3.5" floppy disk (1.44 MB)
1 Gigabyte = Paper in the bed of a pickup; symphony in high-fidelity sound; broadcast quality movie
1 Terabyte = Automated tape robot; all the X-ray films in a large technological hospital; 50,000 trees made into paper and printed; daily rate of EOS (Earth Orbiting System) data (1998)
1 Petabyte = 3 years of EOS data (2001)
2 Petabytes = All U. S. academic research libraries
20 Petabytes = 1995 production of hard-disk drives

Just think. A blank CD-R can hold approximately 650-700 Megabytes of data. That means that 20 Petabytes of storage is enough to hold the contents of about 32,168,568 700 MB CD’s. That’s a lot of data! It’s still not enough. The world needs more and more storage daily. It really is mind boggling…

James Burke
Frisco, TX