Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 8:02 pm

We’re gonna need yots of storage

Filed under: Fun,Geek-related issues,Victoria — Lex @ 8:02 pm

I’m mentally still measuring computer storage capacity in gigabytes. A gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes, or 10 to the ninth power bytes. One thousand gigabytes is a terabyte, or 10 to the 12th power bytes. I hadn’t even gotten around yet to wondering what comes after terabytes. But thanks to the Federation of American Scientists, I now know that 10 to the 24th power bytes is a yottabyte.

And how many bytes is that? Yots:

If one byte of data were used to image one square meter of the Earth’s surface [and if it were, then the picture resolution would be lousy, but let’s work with them here — Lex], then 1.6 Yottabytes would be generated by imaging the entire surface of the Earth every second for a hundred years, the [defense advisory committee] report explained.

This will be very easy for me to remember because of something that happened around the time of Victoria’s third birthday. I asked her what she wanted as a birthday present and she said, “Bayoons, Daddy! Yots and yots of bayoons!”


  1. There are a couple of increments in between there (my guys manage about 2 petabytes of data (and no, it has nothing to do with animals). I’ve seen estimates (and I can’t seem to dig them up now) that within the next few years, something like 2/3 of the world’s data storage capability will be filled with medical images. Wouldn’t surprise me.

    Comment by Tony Plutonium — Tuesday, July 7, 2009 10:57 pm @ 10:57 pm

  2. Yeah, I figured 10 to the 15th, 18th and 21st powers have names, too.

    And probably you’re right about the medical images. The high-res ones I’ve seen are some seriously dense data.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, July 8, 2009 9:28 am @ 9:28 am

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