Kill a PetaByte

Back when I was just a lad, I remember that my first computer was a Commodore VIC 20.  I didn’t know anything about bits and bytes at the time; I was simply fascinated that this box could make noises, play games and could play on a TV! It was pretty cool when I was a kid and I have to say there was something about it that had me hooked.  Did you know the 20 in the VIC 20 refers to the amount of RAM it had?

At the time it had an amazing 20K!  That’s right, 20 kilobytes.  At this point I have typed about 400 characters not including spaces.  Assuming I was using 8 bits per byte; that would mean that I am using close to 3K just to store this entry so far [without pictures].  Needless to say, with only 20K, the computer that I was using as a kid was much more limited in capacity than the one I am using now which has 4GB or 4,000MB or 4,000,000KB.  That’s 200 thousand times more capacity and this is actually considered an average amount of RAM by todays standards.

I understand that 1,000 GB = 1 TB (terabyte) and 1,000 TB = 1 PB (petabyte) and that 1000 of those equals 1 EB (exabyte).  It’s amazing to think about how much storage that would really be.  I remember when we were putting in a SAN and the 500GB drives quickly added up to 7TB per shelf!  The entire rack fully populated with larger drives maxed out around 120TB I think.  Yeesh!! The crazy thing is that the next model out is bigger and it seems like there is no stop in sight.  Its getting faster too.  It used to take 5-7 minutes to load something into that 20K of memory back in the day; probably because I had to store all of my programs on audio cassette tapes [remember LOAD *.*,8,1??].

Another observation that I was making the other day is that a SAN, Storage Area Network, is commonly refered to as a filer.  As is the case for the NetApp Filers.  If you are curious; here are some specifications for the latest NetApp filers:

FAS6280 FAS6240 FAS6210
Maximum Raw Capacity 2,880TB 2,880TB 2,400TB
Maximum Disk Drives 1,440 1,440 1,200

Well! Would you look at that!  The 6210 NetApp filer supports up to 2400TB!! Why thats 2.4 PB… very interesting.  Now I wonder why NetApp has decided to not state 2.4 PB in their technical specifications. Perhaps it is because the industry is too young and nobody has heard of a PB yet.  Or perhaps it is because they are actually selling a “peta-filer”.  I guess whoever was assigning prefixes to large theoretical number sizes never considered that one.  Whatever you do, don’t attach a child node to a peta filer! LOL! Hey, don’t judge me, I’m merely pointing out an anomaly in a changing system.