How Much Is A Petabyte?

We store a lot of data here at Mozy (15+ petabytes, in fact), but how much is that really? We put together this series of stats to help you understand just how much data that really is. Enjoy! (Update: since this infographic was originally published, Mozy has grown to store more than 90 petabytes. We’ve also put together a new interactive infographic that takes a fresh look at the petabyte. Check it out!)

How much is a petabyte?


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  • Ben

    Umm…. Wow….

  • leon

    Now what will happen? If everyone is making /taking pictures and puts them on internet? We all be needing much more space and energy on the www. And we all want thee best possible pictures of everything. How many pictures are taken from the Eiffel tower? They don’t differ that much, do they? But what if we all want the best pictures of animals or a peace full place somewhere in nature? We’ll be doing anything to get this picture, even if its bad for these animals or environment. At the same time we’ll be needing more and more of energy. One day we could say: “luckily we still have these pictures”

  • Robin

    Thanks for the information.

  • Curtis

    I have always wondered what is higher than a Terabyte. Great compilation of facts and very informative. Thanks! Just Stumbled it!

  • dougie

    my brain just exploded, great presentation

  • oliver

    Fascinating. Is there a hi-res version available?

  • Pishabh Badmaash

    If audio enthusiasts are called audiophiles, I guess storage enthusiasts should be calls pedophiles, right?

  • Bobby Fever


    I’ll take 3 wall-sized posters please!

  • Nostradamus

    wait for 2012 or 2025 and 2050 this petabyte will be nothing just like 20 years ago 1 Gb ;) ))))

  • lnorris

    yep, more and better!

  • Bill Rozier

    Really cool……

  • adam

    Echoing Bobby Fever – printed image out on the plotter for students to see!

  • Tim

    A take on “how much is a Petabyte?” from 2003:

  • Randy

    I’d love a full res version to print for my PC shop – let me know if that’s possible to get, thanks!

  • HDD Guy

    20PB in 1993 would’ve been a better estimate for total HDD manufactured capacity

  • Nostok

    I’m sure HDD manufacturers do not count 1GB as 1024MB but rather 1000MB for some reason so I guess this will filter through up to a Flibblebyte as well.

  • Joakim Nygård

    Good idea, but the semi-circles for computer usage in 2000 and 2008 are incorrect in size with the area of the outer being roughly 10 times the inner. This is not even close to the 342% figure given above.

    Other than that, a great idea

  • Dan C

    And to think that we sent men to the moon using only 64 kb

  • Richard Kirk

    Suppose you have molecular memory, with a few carbon and hydrogen atoms storing a single bit. It would then be possible to have a mole of bits. Avagadro’s number is about 6×10^23, so you could have 10^24 bits in a few hundred grams of material. We are reaching the limits of silicon, but going to carbon-based semiconductors is feasible. I do not think anyone is going to make a molecular-scale microprocessor any time soon, but bulk memory – because it is the same component, banged out millions of times over – may well lead the way.

    At about the exabyte level we passed an interesting milestone. An exabyte is 10^12 bytes, or a bit more than the square root of Avogadro’s number. We are about half-way on a log scale: we can expect another factor of a trillion before the physics starts getting hard.

  • Scotty D

    I find this simultaneously terrific and terrifying. I hope that prople. will have the goodwill to use this awe-inspiring technology for good, and not bad. We stand at the start of a very uncertain future, and I can only pray that this does not end up destroying humankind.

  • Doug Gauss

    Joakim made the comment about the semi-circles being incorrect in size. I disagree. Go into any image editor and make a circle. Copy/paste it and then scale it 324%. It will be roughly 10 times larger (actually closer to 10.49 times larger) because when you are scaling a 2-dimensional object, it scales both in height and in width.

  • Simple

    Gates will still take the same percentage he is on your current drive. Software developers will tend to be less concerned about how much space they take up as they already do…
    Your dollar Coke will prolly be five

  • pikk

    This is wrong this way! The multiplier between MegaByte, GigaByte, TeraByte and PetaByte is not 1024 but 1000 — as of relevant IEC and ISO standards! Indeed in the Hard Disk Drive business and Telecommunications where a GigaByte was 1000 MegaBytes since (a) decade(s), etc.

    This is for the elimination of the different meaning of the SI prefixes (k, M, G, T, P) in computing and the rest of life…

    If you want base-2 prefixes (like in case of digital memory) then use the newer binary prefixes: ki, Mi, Gi, etc.

    See here:

  • Jens Bollmann

    Ensure we keep all these information simple as we can without any overhead. Future generations will love us thinking now.

  • pikk

    The multiplier between MegaByte, GigaByte, TeraByte and PetaByte is not 1024 but 1000 — as of relevant IEC and ISO standards! Indeed in the Hard Disk Drive business and Telecommunications where a GigaByte was 1000 MegaBytes since (a) decade(s), etc.

    This is for the elimination of the different meaning of the SI prefixes (k, M, G, T, P) in computing and the rest of life…

    If you want base-2 prefixes (like in case of digital memory) then use the newer binary prefixes: ki, Mi, Gi, etc.

    See here:

  • Torgrim

    yea yea, area under a curve. Smarty pants.

  • Alan Greenwood

    What/where do you backup 15+ petabyte on/to?!

  • Pingback: Online Storage Optimization

  • Leslie

    One thing to remember is that not too long ago people were saying that a gigabyte was the “ultimate be-all” height of storage. That we would never need anything larger. Before that the same thing was said of the megabyte. Now we have people who are using terabyte sized drives for home businesses and personal information. Not too long from now people will be using petabyte sized storage and staring in awe at the exabyte. (The next size up from a petabyte.)

  • Ryan Kearney

    I had a computer in 1998. My Hard Drive was, I want to say, about 20GB. I didn’t, however, spend $4,560 on it. How do you figure it cost $228 per GB of HDD space in March of 1998?

    Also, 1 Petabyte is 1000 Terabytes, not 1024.
    1 Pebibyte, however, is 1028 Terabytes

    You took at least 90% of the information on this chart straight off Wikipedia, you just missed the part where 1028 Terabytes is not a Petabyte.

  • Mark

    I’m curious how much data is being backed up into the Mozy datacenter each day – and how much available bandwidth is feeding it – 10 Gbit/s? More or less?

  • Bill

    Hey Nostok. You’ve created a googlewhack with Flibblebyte. This is the only place where that word is mentioned across the whole 120 Tb of the InterWeb. Well done!

  • Bill

    What does come after Petabyte?

  • Bogwart

    Well that’s it for space travel then. Never be able to get through all that data and the search clouds.

  • Big Geek Daddy

    Very cool…I want one!

  • Dmitriy

    Now for the fun part… As HDD density increases the amount of data you lose if it goes down increases by as much. How handy….

  • Joseph Chavira

    Thanks for the information.

  • Television Spy

    Wow that’s amazing, I would think world knowledge and history would be greater than 50petabytes.

    How can one even quantify something like that. Btw list your sources next time so that we can check into them, but wow..that’s an insane amount of data -especially that google is handling 20 petabytes a day :o

  • Djé

    Thank you for this didactic gif…

  • Mike

    All written works of mankind
    = 50 petabytes = 53 687 091 200 megabytes

    Download speed of my “high-speed” cablemodem (as per
    6.2Mbps = 0.775 Megabytes per second

    Time to download works of mankind…priceless…err, i mean…
    69 273 666 065 seconds = 2 195 years = 88 Generations = LOL

    now…where’d i put my reading glasses!? =D

  • Kenbo

    Hmmm, interesting. I wonder what comes after Petabyte. Probably in about 5 years, how we think about Gigabytes will be how people will think about Petabytes. It wasn’t long ago that Megabytes was the norm while a Gigabyte was something to ‘ooo and awe’ about. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised that in a very near future that Petabytes will be every where. Possible, computer hard drives will come with a x-amount of Petabyte drives.

    What is going to be really fascinating is to see Mozy, as usual, being way ahead in the ‘X-Byte Generation’ by at least two levels. I’m curious as to what those levels of bytes are above and beyond Petabytes

    Thanks for the great read.

  • bazzman

    who cares whether 1 GB is 1024 or 1000Mb,and who wants to measure semi-circles, We all get the Broad Picture

  • Softie

    Wow….euh…. Peta… OK, so that’s… euh…. Big…huh?…. Yeap, I think so.
    Ok… now what…. euhmmm… how are we going to keep filling these petabits/bytes… euh… things…
    Dunno…. yet…. But I guess… We will find a new unuseful unimportant unefficient way to get it all full.
    Up to now we could… If we all gonna… you know… keep up the typework and euhm…. well…. some day we went to the moon. So…. some day we will have filled a number of PETABYTEs…. or…. I dunno…. Will we ever?…..

    Hihi… It IS a high-technical achievement!!
    Congratulations to the HDD manufacturers.
    Must be pretty cool to be able to keep up with this.

    I once started on a 48K Apple ][ europlus. (Still adore the thing).
    Excuse me for not being able to comprehend anymore……. bits… bytes… Kb.. Mb.. Tb…………….Pb???


  • Mark P.

    If MS Windows keeps getting more bloated we’ll need hard drives measured in petabytes on our home PCs :)

  • max racini

    A petabyte could also be 10,000 yapping Chihuahua’s each burning 10 calories each over 10 years

  • max racini

    that’s each second

  • FZE

    Huh…that is a LOT of porn.

  • csie-tw

    It’s amazing!

  • Big Al

    When I was a boy and just starting with computers at high school, we had an RML380Z with 16Kb of RAM and you could get an extra 8 from the graphics if you poked the memory. On day 1 I was given a 5 1/4 inch disk that could hold up to 720Kb or data and was told “you will NEVER fill this up”. If only we could have seen 25 years into the future then… I would have gone to joinery and given computing up on the spot.

  • Ryan

    I wonder….how long does it take to backup a petabyte? So lets say users on Mozy consumed 15 petabyte as of now, how long does it take to backup these? Grandfather->Father->system?