We're going to be hearing the preface "exa-" as it refers to the data storage industry a lot more as time goes on, so we might as well get used to it.
A current illustration of this point is object-based storage provider Cleversafe, which launched a new multi-rack array system Jan. 30 that can hold billions of objects inside up to 10 exabytes of capacity.
That's a serious amount of space. While some people describe it as limitless, it isn't-but it's pretty close.
For those who would like to see the actual numbers that describe just 1 exabyte, here they are: 1 exabyte = 1,000 petabytes = 1,000,000 terabytes = 1,000,000,000 gigabytes = 1,000,000,000,000 megabytes = 1,000,000,000,000,000 kilobytes = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.
Terabyte Loads Now Routine
Enterprises are now routinely storing workloads comprised of terabytes of data, which eventually add up to petabytes of storage. All those packs of petabytes also pile up as time goes on, so what's the next level of storage needed? Right: exabytes.
Realistically, only the true high-end enterprise systems-such as those deployed by scientific researchers, online game providers, digital video studios, stock markets, government and military installations and high-end financial services companies-are using petabyte-type storage now and will be looking at exabyte-able storage in 2012 or 2013.
But Chicago-based Cleversafe is one storage provider that figures no time is better than the present for planning for the future.
In its new 10-exabyte configuration, Cleversafe uses the same object-based dispersed storage system it developed on its own six years ago; only now it has been expanded to allow for independent scaling of storage capacity through what it calls a "portable datacenter," a collection of storage and network racks that can be easily deployed or moved.
Each portable datacenter contains 21 racks with 189 storage nodes per PD and forty-five 3TB drives per storage node. This geographically distributed model allows for rapid scale and mobility and is optimized for site failure tolerance and high availability, Cleversafe said.
The company's own configuration includes 16 sites across the U.S. with 35 PDs per site and hundreds of simultaneous readers/writers to deliver instantaneous access to billions of objects.
Traffic Volumes Increasing at 32 Percent Rate Per Year
"Internet traffic volumes are increasing at a rate of 32 percent globally each year. It's not unrealistic to think companies looking to mine that data would need to effectively analyze 80 exabytes of data per month by 2015," said Russ Kennedy, Cleversafe vice president of product strategy, marketing and customer solutions.
"To any company, data is a priceless component. However, it's only valuable if a company can effectively look across that data over time for trends or to analyze behavior and to do it cost effectively."