Posts Tagged ‘peta’

Petabytes – What next?


The other day, I was merely browsing through an article on Silicon.com when I randomly came across a very unfamiliar term. It stirred up impulses within the numerous neurons within my Grey Mater. The foremost among the several being – What is a petabye?

Gone are the days when we compiled programs on GW-BASIC or TURBO-C++, where programs and codes would be to the order of 2 bytes or a couple more. Where Assembly Codes were just about 5 bytes. As the generations progressed, the level of Storage space quadrupled, as per the applications that were conceived with time. Data Cards these days store unimaginable amounts of memory. All for the that matter, the pendrive is also all but passe these days.

But Peta? No, I’m not talking about the same PETA with which Maneka Gandhi is well associated with. For all the readers with a non-science background, 1 peta unit is equal to 10 to the power 15. Thats 1 followed by 15 zeroes. So a petabyte is roughly 10 lakh gigabytes. Or, to state in very simplistic terms, thats memory contained withing 2.5 lakh 4GB pendirves.

But the ultimate question would then arise- what would a computer system do with such fantastic amounts of memory or processing capabilities?Surprising though it may sound, most contemporary cellular networks are accustomed to daily data transfers of a few petabytes. American Giant AT&T wireless transfers about 16.6 Petabytes of data a day! The Hadron Collider Experiment located high underneath the Swiss Alps will reportedly generate 15 PetaBytes of data from the Collision experiments that it will conduct by the end of this year. So a computer that will analyze such data will definitely possess comparitive processing speeds as well!

Internet Giants, Google too process more than 15 Petabytes of data annually, and their processing capabilites are too, on the rise. For the gaming fan,  World of Warcraft utilizes 1.3 Petabytes of Storage space.

Portrayal of Virtual Reality too consumes mammoth storage space. The advent of High Defition Media as well 3-D cinema has also brought to light the stark  necessities of storage and processing capabilities of such a large magnitude. The Oscar nominated “Avatar” has reportedly acquired 1 Petabyte of local storage as CGI rendering memory!

The final question that I propose to put forth. What next? Photo editing utilities such as Adobe Photoshop, are extending their brush and filter capabilities with every new version that theyintroduce  in the market. A petabyte requirement is definitely achievable within the few years. Astronomers are already processing a whopping 10 Peta Bytes of data each years. This adds another 10 to the multiplication – and voila, 1 Exabyte! The craze for data has brought us to unbelievable setups for data storage.

But the question remains- are we still prepared to soar into such unchartered territories this soon? Our networks are plagued by crashes and transmission losses. Fabrication of High speed OCDMA techniques are still within the confines of R&D. Another challenge that we must analyze before the advent of the ‘Exa’ stage id that of storage scaling and consideration in power utilization and outages. Once these problems are analyzed, Exabyte is just a breath away.

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