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The Dawn Of The Zettabyte Era

David Gilbert



We still remember when a gigabyte seemed like a huge amount of storage. Then along came the terabyte and we thought we’d never need any more storage. But since then we’ve seen the petabyte and exabyte become commonly used terms – and now we’re beginning the era of the zettabyte.

That’s according to Cisco anyway, as the latest findings from the Cisco Virtual Networking Index suggest we’ll need to add the term “zettabyte” to our vocabulary by 2015. In a bid to help explain the volume of information we are talking about, Cisco has helpfully created a giant infographic, which sets out just how what amount of information a zettabyte represents. According to the research by 2015 the majority (61 percent) of global internet traffic will be in some form of video - Internet video-to-PC, Internet video-to-TV, mobile video, etc. The majority of this video will be long form (more than seven minutes) with Internet video on TV will represent the next highest volume.


As you can see from the graphic at the top of the page, one zettabyte is equal to 1,000 exabytes, one exabyte equal to 1,000 petabytes, one petabyte equal to 1,000 terabytes and from there you can guess the rest. Cisco comes up with some interesting facts about the amount of information we are dealing with such as the fact that it would take you five years to watch the amount of video that will cross global networks every second in 2015. Another interesting fact is that an exabyte has the capacity to hold 36,000 hours of HD video content or stream the entire Netflix catalog more than 3,000 times. A zettabyte on the other hand could hold 250 billion DVDs – which should be just about enough to hold our current DVD collection.

Just to blow your mind a little more, Cisco says that if the coffee cup on your desk represented a gigabyte, then a zettabyte would have the same volume as the Great Wall of China - now there's a concept to get your head around.

Source: Cisco Blog

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