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How big is a Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettabyte, or a Yottabyte?

This is an intuitive look at large data sizes By Julian Bunn in Globally Interconnected Object Databases.

Bytes(8 bits)

Kilobyte (1000 bytes)

Megabyte (1 000 000 bytes)

Gigabyte (1 000 000 000 bytes)

Terabyte (1 000 000 000 000 bytes)

Petabyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 bytes)

  • 1 Petabyte: 5 years of EOS data (at 46 mbps)
  • 2 Petabytes: All US academic research libraries
  • 20 Petabytes: Production of hard-disk drives in 1995
  • 200 Petabytes: All printed material OR Production of digital magnetic tape in 1995

Exabyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 bytes)

  • 5 Exabytes: All words ever spoken by human beings.
  • From wikipedia:
    • The world's technological capacity to store information grew from 2.6 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 1986 to 15.8 in 1993, over 54.5 in 2000, and to 295 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2007. This is equivalent to less than one 730-MB CD-ROM per person in 1986 (539 MB per person), roughly 4 CD-ROM per person of 1993, 12 CD-ROM per person in the year 2000, and almost 61 CD-ROM per person in 2007. Piling up the imagined 404 billion CD-ROM from 2007 would create a stack from the earth to the moon and a quarter of this distance beyond (with 1.2 mm thickness per CD).
    • The world’s technological capacity to receive information through one-way broadcast networks was 432 exabytes of (optimally compressed) information in 1986, 715 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 1993, 1,200 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2000, and 1,900 in 2007.
    • According to the CSIRO, in the next decade, astronomers expect to be processing 10 petabytes of data every hour from the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope.[11] The array is thus expected to generate approximately one exabyte every four days of operation. According to IBM, the new SKA telescope initiative will generate over an exabyte of data every day. IBM is designing hardware to process this information.

Zettabyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 bytes)

  • From wikipedia:
    • The world’s technological capacity to receive information through one-way broadcast networks was 0.432 zettabytes of (optimally compressed) information in 1986, 0.715 in 1993, 1.2 in 2000, and 1.9 (optimally compressed) zettabytes in 2007 (this is the informational equivalent to every person on earth receiving 174 newspapers per day).[9][10]
    • According to International Data Corporation, the total amount of global data is expected to grow to 2.7 zettabytes during 2012. This is 48% up from 2011.[11]
    • Mark Liberman calculated the storage requirements for all human speech ever spoken at 42 zettabytes if digitized as 16 kHz 16-bit audio. This was done in response to a popular expression that states "all words ever spoken by human beings" could be stored in approximately 5 exabytes of data (see exabyte for details). Liberman did "freely confess that maybe the authors [of the exabyte estimate] were thinking about text."[12]
    • Research from the University of Southern California reports that in 2007, humankind successfully sent 1.9 zettabytes of information through broadcast technology such as televisions and GPS.[13]
    • Research from the University of California, San Diego reports that in 2008, Americans consumed 3.6 zettabytes of information.
  • Internet Traffic to Reach 1.3 Zettabytes by 2016

Yottabyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 bytes)

Xenottabyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 bytes)

Shilentnobyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 bytes)

Domegemegrottebyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 bytes)

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Reader Comments (87)

This is made for NERDS like me!

January 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNerd is my Life

Of course the formula can be the same as has been displayed in some coments above. But another formula to find units above kb is "powering 2 when you are ascending to the upper units until to the maxmum". Thank you. Its jay (jesham mwanza)....

February 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJesham Mwanza

you're all wrong

March 10, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterliam

I think a Domegemegrottebyte would be used on one computer in like the 2200s.

March 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterUnknown

My only issue with this page is that the author chose to use the hard drive manufacturers units of measure rather than the traditional PoT (power of two) units of measure traditionally used in computer science.
1 bit
8 bits to a byte
1024 bytes to Kb
...and so on. This post will be very confusing to people who aren't familiar with the industry.

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMark

THese are cool they are bigger than the debt our country owes

April 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterOBama

If 1 kilobyte is 1024 and not 1000 bytes, it means that "kilo", when it comes to powers of 2, means the tenth power of 2 = 1024.
Just to keep consistency, you can't have the first "kilo" with one value (1024) and the next "kilos" with another value (1000).
This the slang meaning of "kilo" in computer science, 1024.
Likewise, in scientific slang, words such as power, force, field and others have a different meaning than in current language..

April 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHans Wust

I don't think I will be alive when it comes to Zettabyte or Yottabyte

May 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterUK

All of the people who just straight up assume this is wrong obviously didn't take into account the differences between processor or virtual storage and disk storage. This particular article explains disk storage which is 1000, while processor or virtual storage is 1024. Use this site to understand what I mean.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterIntell

I am waiting for YB hard disk

July 2, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterleo

hah n3rds

July 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Another measurement: 8 Petabytes: The approximated save file size of a Minecraft world with everything explored

July 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMinecraftPro


August 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

No one Cares!!!!!!!!!

September 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlbert Einstien

Gigaquad (10^9)^4 byte = 10^36 byte

October 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHenrik Bark

Wheres the YAGAbyte

November 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMax Fisher

After reading all these comments it's giving me a headache. I'm middle aged and know a few things about computers but some of these comments are just mad! Keep up the dialog, a guy like me could do with learning a thing or two more things about pc's.

November 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDave M

Its hillarious watching a bunch of ponces argue about 1000 and 1024, just accept it and move on. Its not ignorant.... Its just you lot being silly twats.
Yep its 2016 now, and I just found this to laugh at you idiots

December 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRich scales

that is amazing

December 3, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjosh

So a Kilobyte is a thousand bytes.
And a Megabyte is a million bytes.
And a Gigabyte is a billion bytes.
And a Terabyte is a trillion bytes.
And a Petabyte is a quadrillion bytes.
And an Exabyte is a quintillion bytes.
And a Zettabyte is a sextillion bytes.
And a Yottabyte is a septillion bytes.
And a Xenottabyte is an octillion bytes.
And a Shilentnobyte is a nonillion bytes.
And a Domegemegrottebyte is a decillion bytes!

December 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJason Patrick Fielding

Technically this whole page of information is wrong as a kilobyte is actually 1024 bytes, megabyte is 1024 kilobytes etc.. But
one thing which would have been good is if you included a nibble which is 4 bits!!

January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua Milligan

What about a Godzillabyte?

That's the biggest right?

January 31, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermycho


April 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLiam

What is a binary decision ? Yes or No ? Or ... is OR , or 0.1 , a logical operator ?

April 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTommy


April 21, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjock

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