By now, everyone should know that online storage solutions make it easier for businesses to store, track, analyze, and replicate data, without the need for onsite servers and hard copies. But it’s helpful to take a moment and realize why the extra step of Internet storage is even necessary. And that requires a basic understanding of the information we store and share.
Binary information is stored as “bytes”. One byte is roughly the equivalent of the amount of storage space required to store one character of text. A single word requires about 10 bytes. A page of written text usually runs about two kilobytes, or 2,000 bytes. Images can use even more space, as a small, low-resolution photo takes up about 100 kilobytes (100,000 bytes).
The more complex the information, the greater the amount of space it takes up, and the more prefixes we need to describe those amounts. “Kilo-” gives way to “mega-“, and a high-resolution photograph takes up about two megabytes (2,000,000 bytes), while the complete written works of William Shakespeare comprise five megabytes of data. From “mega-” we move to “giga-“, where high-quality audio recordings reside (a collection of good recordings of the works of Beethoven would take up 20 gigabytes, or 20,000,000,000 bytes). An entire library floor of academic journals could be stored in 100 gigabytes of space.
A terabyte is made up of 1,000,000,000,000 bytes (10 terabytes could store the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress). Two hundred petabytes (or 200,000,000,000,000,000 bytes) could encompass every bit of printed material human beings have created. It’s estimated that if you recorded every word ever spoken by humans, it would occupy five exabytes of space (5,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes). And the total amount of data stored by humans in the year 2013 is approximately 3.6 zettabytes (or 3,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes).
Given this explosion of data and information, online open source file storage becomes not so much a convenience as a necessity. While the cost of increasingly large servers is on the decline (as technology improves), the rate of growth of the information those servers need to store is growing faster than companies can keep up. Open source file storage provides a way to maintain, access, share, and replicate that information without the often prohibitive costs of in-house server rooms, well into yottabytes and xenottabytes, and whatever new prefixes the future of storage may bring. Get more info here.