Can you fit the whole internet in to a shoebox?

 

Did you know that Facebook’s first data storage centre in Oregon USA houses tens of thousands of storage computers and covers 147,000 square feet? Pretty impressive storage requirements, right? Just to help you put that into perspective, a football pitch is 64,000 square feet, this means Facebook’s storage centre in Oregon is the equivalent of around 2 and a quarter football pitches. Their data centre in Oregon is one of many all over the US and the world.

Nobody knows for sure (as Facebook never release their data figures officially), but it is estimated that Facebook store, process and hold around 20 Exabytes of data in total at any given moment. Facebook have however released in a report in 2014, that it generates at least 4 new petabytes (4000 terabytes) of data every single day. And that is just Facebook data. Three years ago.

Imagine (if you can) how big of a storage centre you’d need to store the data for the whole world wide web as it exists today. It is predicted that you would need millions of square feet.

And the internet is growing quickly, exponentially quickly.

According to World Internet Stats, in December 2000 there were 361 million internet users updating and adding data to the internet. In 2017 there are 3,885 million users and counting. So if the entire storage needs of the internet today would require millions of square feet of storage space already, where does this leave us ten years from now?

What if I told you that thanks to new and innovative science, the internet as we know it today could fit into a storage centre the size of a shoebox and that the future of data storage lies within DNA?

Scientists and technological gurus have been working on a revolutionary space saving solution for some time and recently hit a new milestone when the iconic tracks, Tutu by Miles Davis and Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple, were successfully stored in artificial strands of DNA.  The musically infused DNA strands are set to be stored in Unesco’s Memory of the World archive, where items of cultural significance using innovative technology are housed. According to Karin Strauss, a researcher at Microsoft, these strands are ‘much smaller than a single grain of sand’ but can be successfully read back with 100% accuracy.

Not only is this an impressive space saving storage solution, it’s also a far more durable one that is potentially able to preserve internet data for hundreds of thousands of years, as proven by the survival of woolly mammoth DNA. Just imagine future generations could be sharing your baby photos for many more years to come!

But, don’t get too excited it’s not quite there yet. Although the strands can be successfully read in their full and correct sequence, the next challenge for ‘bio-tech’ technicians is to find a way of searching and retrieving specific pieces of information from within the encoded strands of DNA.

But the good news… Microsoft firmly believes that DNA data storage will be commercially viable within ten years as the cost of synthesising DNA falls and bio technology advances. So watch this space.

In the meantime, unless you are the size of Facebook, SCS Technology Solutions still have the square footage available to back up and store your business data. Give us a call today 0800 952 0652 or email our technical team technical@scstechsolutions.co.uk.