World's servers process 9.57ZB of data a year
UC San Diego research report estimates that average worker processes about 3TB of data annually
Computerworld - Three years ago, the world's 27 million business servers processed 9.57 zettabytes, or 9,570,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of information.
Researchers at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, estimate that the total is equivalent to a 5.6-billion-mile-high stack of books stretching from Earth to Neptune and back to Earth, repeated about 20 times.
By 2024, business servers worldwide will annually process the digital equivalent of a stack of books extending more than 4.37 light-years to Alpha Centauri, according to a report compiled by the scientists.
The report, titled "How Much Information?: 2010 Report on Enterprise Server Information," was released at the SNW conference last month.
Roger Bohn, one of the report's co-authors, compared the world's business servers to the underwater portion of an iceberg "that runs the world that we see.
"Most of this information is incredibly transient: it is created, used and discarded in a few seconds without ever being seen by a person," said Bohn, a professor of technology management at UC San Diego.
The study included estimates of the amount of data processed as input and delivered by servers as output. For example, one email message may flow through multiple servers and would thus be counted multiple times, he said.
The workload of the 27 million or so enterprise servers in use worldwide in 2008 was estimated by using cost and performance benchmarks for online transaction processing, Web services and virtual machine processing tasks.
The scientists estimate there were 3.18 billion workers in the world's labor force at the time, each of whom received an average of 3TB of information per year.
The analysis relied heavily on data and estimates from researchers at IDC and Gartner, which compile regular reports on server sales.
As large as the numbers may seem, the three scientists who worked on the report stated that their server workload figures may be low because server industry sales figures don't fully account for the millions of servers built in-house by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and other companies using individual component parts .
The report estimates that Google runs the largest installed base of servers -- more than a million -- in the world. It estimates that Microsoft has between 500,000 and three quarters of a million servers running worldwide.
"The exploding growth in stored collections of numbers, images and other data is well known, but mere data becomes more important when it is actively processed by servers as representing meaningful information delivered for an ever-increasing number of uses," said James Short, who served as research director of the project.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Using VM Archiving to Solve VM Sprawl This CommVault whitepaper discusses how archiving virtual machines can mitigate VM sprawl with a comprehensive approach to VM lifecycle management.
- Keep Your Network Available, Efficient and Secure Make the most of your network by working with experts who "get it." CDW and F5 have partnered to keep networks highly optimized....
- VCE Converged Infrastructure Enables Continuous Operation for Swiss Power Plant Read how Vblock™ Systems, running in active-active mode, enabled KKL to transform its twin data centers in just two months, enable continuous operations,...
- The Future of IT: A Customer First Approach Explore how customer-first policies can make use of social, mobile and cloud technologies to give workers the freedom and flexibility they desire to...
- Make or Break: New Auto Products Must Go To Market On Time This Webcast quantifies the value of time to market for the auto industry and highlights how Primavera Enterprise Portfolio Management can help organizations.
- IBM Flash Webcast: Optimizing your Datacenter for Efficient Storage & ROI Register for this webcast to learn the benefits of flash storage from IBM Customer, Leonardo Irastorza of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd and Storage... All Data Storage White Papers | Webcasts