IBM Researchers Developing 120 Petabyte Data Container

Paul Lilly

The funny thing about hard drives is no matter how big they get, power users still find a way to fill them up. Remember when 1TB seemed big? A home theater enthusiast would consider that cute. But a 120 petabyte drive, well, even digital packrats would have trouble cramming that amount of data into a single container. Still, someone has found a use for such an obscene amount of storage and has contracted IBM to build it.

According to TechnologyReview.com , researchers at IBM's Almaden, California research lab are building a giant container expected to store a trillion files. There's enough storage space to hold 24 billion 5MB MP3 files, if someone wanted to.

"This 120 petabyte system is on the lunatic fringe now, but in a few years it may be that all cloud computing systems are like it," says Bruce Hillsbert, director of storage research at IBM.

The 120 petabyte "drive" will rank as the largest storage system in the world and will find life in a new supercomputer. It's unclear exactly what the supercomputer will specialize in, but according to IDC's Steve Conway, a 120 petabyte storage system could prove beneficial for weather forecasts, seismic processing in the petroleum industry, and molecular studies of genomes or proteins.

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