Data Size Matters

Most people understand the relative size of their digital files. That report you just saved is 318 kilobytes (kB); those vacation photos tally 750 megabytes (MB); your new iPod holds 20 gigabytes (GB) of music. When data sets start to grow, however, their sizes become more difficult to explain. How much does a terabyte (TB) hold? How many DVDs would it take to reach a zettabyte? And what on earth is a yottabyte?

Hard drive capacity has increased 50-million-fold since 1956. It took 26 years to create a 1 GB hard drive, but between 2007 and 2011, hard drives quadrupled in size from 1 TB to 4 TB. Within the next ten years, 20 TB hard drives may even become commonplace.

In this infographic, datascience@berkeley has collected some real-life examples to help explain the scope of data. We’ve also provided a timeline of hard drive innovation and a glimpse at where the data storage industry is heading. Feel free to share, because after all…Data Size Matters.

In a world of digital storage, size does matter, but it can be hard to wrap our minds around what each file size really means. Here are some real-life examples:

From Bits To Yottabytes

History of the Hard Drive

Hard drives have increased 50-million-fold in the density of information they can hold since their introduction in 1956:

The Future of the Hard Drive

As the need for high-capacity storage increases, scientists are trying to find ways to fit more hard drive platters into the same space, increasing the amount of information that can be stored on a single drive.

New Hard Drive Technologies

2013 - Western Digital experiments with helium-filled drives, which could offer a capacity of 5.6 TB.

2014 - Seagate’s SMR technology is predicted to allow hard drives to reach capacities of 5 TB.

2020 - Seagate’s HAMR technology is predicted to allow hard drives to reach capacities of 20 TB.

Sources:

http://www.jamesshuggins .com/tek1/how-big.htm

http://mozy.com/blog/misc/how-much-is-a-petabyte/

http://www.wu.ece.ufl.edu/links/dataRate/DataMeasuremntChart.html

http://www.whitman.edu/mathematics/number-prefixes.html

http://www.pcworld.com/article/127105/article.html

http://www.zdnet.com/seagate-launches-500gb-hard-drive-for-tablets-blurs-pc-lines-70000020403/

http://www.cdrlabs.com/News/adata-launches-dash-drive-air-ae800-wireless-hard-drive-and-power-bank.html

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2048586/new-hard-drive-tech-will-help-seagate-crack-5tb-barrier-in-2014-20tb-in-2020.html

http://www.computerworl.com/s/article/9231220/Helium_filled_drives_promise_huge_boost_in_capacity

http://www.ciol.com/ciol/news/197181/seagate-demo-heat-asissted-magnetic-recordings-storage-technology


UC Berkeley School of Information

Phone Number: 855-678-6437
Email Address: admissions@datascience.berkeley.edu

Legal

© UC Berkeley School of Information.