Thursday, February 19, 2009

How much data?

Back in the day when computers like these (my first computer!) had data storage in the megabyte range, no-one thought of storing anything other than, well, numbers and text on them. Perhaps some basic graphics. Well, okay, you could do a fair bit with 80MB of space.

Nowadays, of course, you can fit 1TB of data into something that's a quarter the size (more or less) and we store our entire lives on there - photos, scanned documents, movies, music, finances, games, spreadsheets, slideshows, emails, contact lists . . . . Oh, and work stuff too. This exponential growth in data storage capabilities is known as Moore's law.

But in the future, we may see that external 1TB hard drive shrink down to the size of a quarter. Thanks to some pretty nifty techniques from nanotechnology, we can look forward to our entire lives being stored on something the size of your average USB thumb drive. Or even smaller. After all, this technology claims that it will provide 1TB of storage on the surface area of a quarter.

Pretty impressive, huh?

Just imagine the eDiscovery of the future. Instead of a litigation with a couple of terabytes being considered on the large side, we'll be looking at petabytes of data. One hopes that search technologies are vastly improved for these oversized haystacks . . .

Although I do have to wonder just how much data can be created by just one person, or just one company.

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