Data Size Matters [Infographic]

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Most people understand the relative size of their digital files. That report you just saved is 318 kilobytes (kB); those vacation photos tally 750 megabytes (MB); your new iPod holds 20 gigabytes (GB) of music. When data sets start to grow, however, their sizes become more difficult to explain. How much does a terabyte (TB) hold? How many DVDs would it take to reach a zettabyte? And what on earth is a yottabyte?

Hard drive capacity has increased 50-million-fold since 1956. It took 26 years to create a 1 GB hard drive, but between 2007 and 2011, hard drives quadrupled in size from 1 TB to 4 TB. Within the next ten years, 20 TB hard drives may even become commonplace.

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In this infographic, datascience@berkeley has collected some real-life examples to help explain the scope of data. We’ve also provided a timeline of hard drive innovation and a glimpse at where the data storage industry is heading. Feel free to share, because after all…Data Size Matters.

Data Size Matters Infographic

Update: we’ve updated the Data Size Matters infographic to reflect the proper notation for kilobytes (kB) as well as the standard size for a CD-ROM (700 MB). Thanks to all of our readers for your helpful comments.