yottabyte (YB)

A yottabyte (YB) is a measure of theoretical storage capacity equal to 2 to the 80th power bytes or, in decimal, approximately 1,000 zettabytes, a trillion terabytes (TB) or a million trillion megabytes. Approximately 1,024 yottabytes make up a brontobyte. The prefix yotta is based on the Greek letter iota.

In decimal format, a yottabyte is written as 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176.

Currently, there is nothing that can be measured on a yottabyte scale. In 2015, Cisco Systems predicted that global, mobile internet traffic would hit 130 exabytes (EB) in 2016.

According to Paul McFedries' book Word Spy, it would take approximately 86 trillion years to download a 1 YB file, and the entire contents of the Library of Congress would consume just 10 TB. In 2014, the U.S. Intelligence Community completed construction of the Utah Data Center, which was reportedly designed to handle yottabytes of data. However, experts estimate the $1.5 billion data center's capacity is between 3 EB to 12 EB.

Yottabytes vs. terabytes vs. petabytes

According to backup vendor Backblaze, a yottabyte of storage would require a million data centers, and take up enough space to fill the states of Delaware and Rhode Island. In 2009, Backblaze predicted that, following storage pricing trends, by 2015, a yottabyte of storage would cost $8 trillion for raw drives and $80 trillion for a storage system.

Data storage measurements

While yottabyte storage is not yet in use, big data and the demand for higher-capacity drives grows every year. Hard drives scaling at a terabyte level are currently available in the storage market, ranging from 1 TB to 8 TB. A 4 TB drive is priced at approximately $150, while an 8 TB drive costs about $600. In 2015, DataDirect Networks, EMC Corp., Fujitsu and HGST released petabyte-scale storage devices ranging from 4.6 PB to 50 PB of storage.

This was last updated in February 2017

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