When Will You Have Zettabytes Of Data?

According to the analyst firm IDC, the amount of data created worldwide in 2010 will total 1.2 million petabytes…or 1.2 zettabytes.

Now if you’re still coming to terms that your modern digtial life is getting close to totaling a terabyte of data…I suggest just accepting the fact that data storage will be an ever growing need you will have to continuously address in future years.

And regardless of what pundits like Jeremy A. Kaplan say, the hard drive is far from dead. I’m betting big that people will still want to maintain control (their own managed copy) over their data even if the “cloud” beckons a siren’s song of simplicity.

So, how big is a zettabyte file? A total of one billion terabytes equals a single zettabyte. With our fondness for all things space related (if you’re new to the scene, just check out our company name ;-) 800,000 petabytes (one petabyte is a million gigabytes) is equivalent to a stack of DVDs that can reach the moon and back to Earth again, according to IDC.

And the total amount of data generated in 2020 is predicted to be 35 zettabytes…which would be a stack of DVDs that would reach half the distance to Mars.

From my POV, it’s very unlikely end users will see that kind of storage need in the foreseeable future…but hey…with so many things converging into bits of data these days, the ability to predict what will be for sure is a fool’s game. But at least you now know what the future might be called.

You know, I dig this file size name. It sounds like another name I’m familiar with that is quite big and famous in her own right….


  • Note that I advise novice users to have a big external TB drive in order for Time Machine to be able to store more incremental backups. This gives the user more “time” they can travel back into to find old versions of files.

    And in my case, that 12TB of storage is including backups. I do Time Machine as well as bootable snapshots with Carbon Copy Cloner. (Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket)

  • “Now if you’re still coming to terms that your modern digtial life is getting close to totaling a terabyte of data…”

    Getting close?

    [Glances at the current usage status of the SIX 2TB drives currently mounted on the Mac Pro.]

    • Wow MacRat…if you have that many personal photos plus music and movies to be near 12TB…. Guess that’s what I was alluding to…personal data and entertainment…not business related. Of course, if my taxes get any more complicated, my personal data files will start to grow pretty big too! ;-)

  • How come you’re jumping the gun and not sharing the in-between measurements. A thousand petabytes is an exabyte. Another thousand makes a zettabyte. And don’t forget that yottabytes that come next in the series.

    • Hi Ben…I’m kind of the “go big or go home” mindset. ;-) And since Zettabyte was the big news…that’s what I went with as well as that I personally like the name as the link indicated. ;-) Funny though…yottabyte sounds appropriate…you get to that level and you gotta yotta info! lol