I remember in middle school when I first heard the term “gigabyte.” Being the geeklet that I was, the word blew my mind. How could one computer possible hold an entire gigabyte? Well, now my wallet-sized iPod can easily juggle 160 gigs of tunes. By the end of the year, MP3 players will no doubt hold even more.
Every two years the demand for computer storage doubles, according to David Roberson, head of HP’s StorageWorks. At that rate, he says, by 2013 the computer industry will build a collective yottabyte – 1 billion gigabytes – of hard-drive storage annually.
In case you were wondering, the series goes: kilo, mega, giga, tera, exa, peta, zeta, yotta. The scale actually doesn’t go any higher. In 1991, the International System of Units agreed that “yotta” should stand for one followed by 24 zeros. It has yet to decide on what comes next.
And – getting back to computers – engineers are trying to decide what kind of hard drive comes next. HP is investing heavily in this yottabyte-a-year future by designing corporate servers that can hold a hundreds of terabyes. The company no doubt wants to continue selling 45 percent of the world’s hard drives.
Another interesting peek into the future came from InPhase, which recently unveiled holographic storage discs. The device kind of looks like those old ZipDrives, but they hold way more – at least 300 gigabytes per holographic disc – and cost way more – around $18,000 per drive.
[Via Computer World]