Wednesday, November 4, 2009


A petabyte (derived from the SI prefix peta- ) is a unit of information or computer storage equal to one quadrillion bytes (short scale), or 1000 terabytes, or 1,000,000 gigabytes. It is abbreviated PB. The prefix peta- (P) indicates a power of 1000:

  • 1 PB = 1,000,000,000,000,000 B = 10005 B = 1015 bytes.

The term "pebibyte", using the binary prefix pebi- (Pi), is used for 10245 bytes.

  • 1 PiB = 1,125,899,906,842,624 B.


Examples of the use of "petabyte" to describe data sizes in different fields are:

  • History: According to Kevin Kelly of the New York Times, "the entire [written] works of humankind, from the beginning of recorded history, in all languages" would amount to 50 petabytes of data.
  • Computer hardware: Teradata Database 12 has a capacity of 50 petabytes of compressed data.
  • Telecoms: AT&T has about 16 petabytes of data transferred through their networks each day.[4]
  • Archives: The Internet Archive contains about 3 petabytes of data, and is growing at the rate of about 100 terabytes per month as of March, 2009.
  • Internet: Google processes about 20 petabytes of data per day.
  • Physics: The 4 experiments in the Large Hadron Collider will produce about 15 petabytes of data per year, which will be distributed over the LHC Computing Grid.
  • Social networks: Facebook has just over 1.5 petabytes of users' photos stored, translating into roughly 10 billion photos.
  • P2P networks: As of October 2009, Isohunt has about 9.76 petabytes of files contained in torrents indexed globally.
  • Online storage: RapidShare stated in April 2008 that it had 5.4 petabytes of storage for users.[11]
  • Games: World of Warcraft utilizes 1.3 petabytes of storage to maintain its game.

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