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This article is about the unit of information.
For the company that manufactures data backup products, see Exabyte
|Prefixes for bit and byte multiples
An exabyte (derived from the SI prefix exa-) is a unit of information or computer storage equal to one quintillion bytes (short scale). It is commonly
abbreviated EB. When used with byte multiples, the
unit indicates a power of 1000:
- 1 EB = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 B = 1018 bytes or 1
The term exbibyte, using a binary prefix, is
used for powers of 1024 bytes.
In principle, the 64-bit
microprocessors found in many computers can address 16
exbibytes, or just over 18 exabytes, of memory.
As of December 2008, the global monthly Internet
traffic is estimated to be 5 to 8 exabytes. As of
May 2009, the size of the World's total Digital content has been
roughly estimated to be 500 billion gigabytes, or 500 exabytes.
According to an IDC paper
sponsored by EMC
Corporation, 161 exabytes of data were created in 2006, "3
million times the amount of information contained in all the books
ever written," with the number expected to hit 988 exabytes in
According to CSIRO, in the next decade, astronomers
expect to be processing 10 petabytes of data every hour from the Square Kilometre Array
array is thus expected to generate approximately one exabyte every
four days of operation.
According to the June 2009 update of the Cisco Visual Networking Index
IP traffic forecast, by 2013, annual global IP traffic will reach
two-thirds of a zettabyte or 667 exabytes. Internet video will generate
over 18 exabytes per month in 2013. Global mobile
data traffic will grow at a CAGR of 131 percent between 2008 and 2013,
reaching over two exabytes per month by 2013.[8
According to the Digital Britain Report 
494 Exabytes of data was transferred across the globe on the 15th
The ext4 file system supports
volumes up to 1 exabyte in size, along with the NTFS system.
words ever spoken"
A popular expression claims that "all words ever spoken by human
beings" could be stored in approximately 5 exabytes of data, often
citing a project at the UC
Berkeley School of Information in support.
The 2003 University of California Berkeley report credits the
estimate to the website of Caltech researcher Roy Williams, where the
statement can be found as early as May 1999. This
statement has been criticized. Mark Liberman
calculated the storage requirements for all human speech at 42 zettabytes (42,000
exabytes, and 8,400 times the original estimate), if digitized as
16 kHz 16-bit audio, although he did "freely confess that
maybe the authors [of the exabyte estimate] were thinking about
Earlier Berkeley studies estimated that by the end of 1999, the
sum of human-produced information (including all audio, video
recordings and text/books) was about 12 exabytes of data. The
2003 Berkeley report stated that in 2002 alone, "telephone calls
worldwide on both landlines and mobile phones contained 17.3
exabytes of new information if stored in digital form" and that "it
would take 9.25 exabytes of storage to hold all U.S. [telephone]
calls each year."
International Data Corporation estimates that approximately 160
exabytes of digital information were created, captured, and
replicated worldwide in 2006.
The word exabyte is the basis for the term
exaflood, a neologism created by Bret Swanson of the Discovery
Institute in a January 2007 Wall Street
Exaflood refers to the rapidly increasing torrent of data
transmitted over the Internet. The amount of information people
upload, download and share on the Internet—known as internet
traffic—is growing (due in large part to video, audio and photo
applications) at an exponential rate, while the capacity of the
Internet, its bandwidth, is limited and
susceptible to a "flood" of data equal to multiple
exabytes. "One exabyte is the equivalent of about 50,000 years of
DVD quality video."
"A brief history of virtual
storage and 64-bit addressability". http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/zoslnctr/v1r7/topic/com.ibm.zconcepts.doc/zconcepts_102.html. Retrieved
Minnesota Internet Traffic
John Gantz (March, 2008). "An Updated Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth
Through 2011". IDC. http://www.emc.com/digital_universe/. Retrieved
Bree Nordenson (April 1, 2009). "Overload! Journalism’s battle
for relevance in an age of too much information". Columbia Journalism
Review. http://www.cjr.org/feature/overload_1.php. Retrieved
Kathleen Parker (December, 2008). "Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop
In". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/31/AR2009033103318.html. Retrieved
"From molecules to the Milky Way: dealing with the
data deluge". http://www.csiro.au/news/ps3ng.html. Retrieved
Cisco Visual Networking Index (Cisco VNI)
- ^ 
Verlyn Klinkenborg (November 12, 2003).
"Trying to Measure the Amount
of Information That Humans Create". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/12/opinion/12WED4.html. Retrieved
"How many bytes for...".
techtarget.com. http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid5_gci944596,00.html. Retrieved
"'Robbie the Robot' making
data easier to mine". purdue.edu. December 6, 2005. http://news.uns.purdue.edu/html3month/2005/051206.McKay.petabyte.html. Retrieved
- ^ a
"How Much Information?
2003". berkeley.edu. http://www.sims.berkeley.edu:8000/research/projects/how-much-info-2003/execsum.htm. Retrieved
Roy Williams. "Data Powers of Ten".
Archived from the original on
1999-05-08. http://web.archive.org/web/19990508062723/http://www.ccsf.caltech.edu/~roy/dataquan/. Retrieved
Mark Liberman (November 12, 2003). "More on the 5 exabyte
mistake". upenn.edu. http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000110.html. Retrieved
Brian Carnell (December 31, 2003). "How Much Storage Is Required
to Store Every Word Ever Spoken by Human Beings?".
brian.carnell.com. http://brian.carnell.com/archives/years/2003/12/000022.html. Retrieved
Mark Liberman (November 3, 2003). "Zettascale Linguistics".
upenn.edu. http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000087.html. Retrieved
Juan Enriquez (Fall/Winter 2003). "The Data That Defines
Us". CIO Magazine. http://www.cio.com/archive/092203/enriquez.html. Retrieved
Brian Bergstein (March 5, 2007). "So much data, relatively
little space". BusinessWeek. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8NMAG802.htm. Retrieved
- ^ Bret Swanson (January 20, 2007). "The Coming Exaflood". Wall Street Journal. http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=3869. Retrieved
Grant Gross (November 24, 2007). "Internet Could Max Out in 2
Years, Study Says". PC World.