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Summary:

Forget what comes after infinity, we at GigaOm were worried about a smaller problem, namely what comes after a yottabyte. Well now we know the answer to that problem — a 1 followed by 27 zeros (a yottabyte only has 24 zeros), otherwise known as a brontobyte.

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An exabyte of data is created on the Internet each day, which equates to 250 million DVDs worth of information. And the idea of even larger amounts of data — a zettabyte — isn’t too far off when it comes to the amount of info traversing the web in any one year. Cisco estimates we’ll see a 1.3 zettabytes of traffic annually over the internet in 2016 — and soon enough, we might to start talking about even bigger volumes.

After a zettabyte comes yottabytes, which big data scientists use to talk about how much government data the NSA or FBI have on people altogther. Put it in terms of DVDs, a yottabyte would require 250 trillion of them. But we’ll eventually have to think bigger, and thanks to a presentation from Shantanu Gupta, director of Connected Intelligent Solutions at Intel, we now know the next-generation prefixes for going beyond the yottabyte: a brontobyte and a gegobyte.

A brontobyte, which isn’t an official SI prefix but is apparently recognized by some people in the measurement community, is a 1 followed by 27 zeros. Gupta uses it to describe the type of sensor data we’ll get from the internet of things. A gegobyte is 10 to the power of 30. It’s meaningless to think about how many DVDs that would be, but suffice it to say it’s more than I could watch in a lifetime.

And to drive home the influx of data, Gupta offered the following stats (although in the case of CERN, the SKA telescope and maybe the jet engine sensors, not all of that data needs to be stored):

  • On YouTube, 72 hours of video are uploaded per minute, translating to a terabyte every four minutes.
  • 500 terabytes of new data per day are ingested in Facebook databases.
  • The CERN Large Hadron Collider generates 1 petabyte per second.
  • The proposed Square Kilometer Array telescope will generate an exabyte of data per day.
  • Sensors from a Boeing jet engine create 20 terabytes of data every hour.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Denise Chan.

  1. This is impressive! A very interesting read. Brontobyte, Gegobyte…what comes next?!

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    1. probably omnibyte or something… maybe hypserbyte? superbyte? ultrabyte? i have no idea…

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  2. How much information is there in the DNA of a human being? And how many humans are born on this planet every day?

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  3. Imagine having this turned into money!

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    1. A very lucrative, virtually limitless, and invisible tool (no bothersome oversight to stop/delay you) which enables you to afford the incredible expense of your unquenching desire for knowledge that in turn reaches a a level which gives you such power that you become untouchable …. Stalin, Hitler, et al all had wet dreams about this.

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  4. Gegobytes of Awesoღe Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    Awesome! I am definitely welcoming the world of the Cloud!

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  5. BTW, a gegobyte is equal to 250 quintillion DVD’s :P

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