150 Petabytes of Cloud Storage

By | March 10th, 2015

150 Petabytes for Backblaze

Backblaze now has 150 Petabytes of customer data safely stored by our cloud backup service and waiting to be restored by our customers when requested. This customer data is stored encrypted on 980 Backblaze Storage Pods which contain 44,100 data hard drives of sizes ranging from 2 to 6 Terabytes. Each week, new Storage Pods come online with either 4 or 6 TB drives installed depending on their configuration. Continuously adding Storage Pods allows us to stay several months ahead of the demand in case we have another Thailand Drive Crisis or similar surprise.

Trying to comprehend 150 Petabytes of anything can be daunting. In simple mathematical terms it is 150,000,000,000,000,000 bytes or 150 followed by 15 zeroes. OK, maybe that doesn’t help very much, so let’s just start at the beginning…

    Bit: a binary decision of either 0 or 1.
    Byte: 8 bits
    Kilobyte: 1,000 bytes
    – Expressed as KB or K
    – Example: I have a 360 K floppy disk.
    Megabyte: 1,000 Kilobytes
    – 1,000,000 bytes
    – 1 Million bytes
    – Expressed as MB or M
    – Example: The photo on my computer is 3 MB.
    Gigabyte: 1,000 Megabytes
    – 1,000,000,000 bytes
    – 1 Billion bytes (short scale)
    – 1 Milliard or a thousand million bytes (long scale)
    – Expressed as GB or G
    – Example: I have 8 GB of random access memory in my laptop.
    Terabyte: 1,000 Gigabytes
    – 1,000,000,000,000 bytes
    – 1 Trillion bytes (short scale)
    – 1 Billion bytes (long scale)
    – Expressed as TB or T
    – Example: I purchased a 3 TB external hard drive for my computer.
    Petabyte: 1,000 Terabytes
    – 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
    – 1 Quadrillion bytes (short scale)
    – 1 Billiard or a thousand billion bytes (long scale)
    – Expressed as PB or P
    – Example: Backblaze has 150 Petabytes of customer data storage.

Note: Short scale and long scale are two of the naming systems in use today used to name large numbers.

Counting doesn’t end with Petabytes, there are still Exabytes, Zettabytes, Yottabytes, Xenottabytes and Wholelottabytes after that, but we’ll cover those when we get there. To be clear all of this is in Decimal form. Some people (geeks) like to point out that a real Kilobyte is actually 1024 bits in Binary, so for example a Petabyte is 10245 in Binary instead of 10005 in Decimal. Since humans are reading this post, we’ll stick to Decimal.


Andy Klein

Andy Klein

Director of Product Marketing at Backblaze
Andy has 20+ years experience in technology marketing. He has shared his expertise in computer security and data backup at the Federal Trade Commission, Rootstech, RSA and over 100 other events. His current passion is to get everyone to back up their data before it's too late.
Category:  Cloud Storage
  • Ben Winter

    150 petabytes is a lot. But google is estimated to have about 15 EXABYTES. to put that into perspective. Lets say you have a hard drive with 500GB of storage, It would take 2 million of those to equal one exabyte, and 30 million of them to have 15 exabytes

  • Chris Hiskey

    If my math is right, it would take 8.8 petabytes to store my entire personality digitally if 1 brain synapse = 1 byte and I’m 35 years old.

    • Chris Hiskey

      Loosely 150 pb would store about 95 different 80 year old personalities…

  • Enrico

    The customers files are stored in single copy or you duplicate them on different hdd? If it’s in single copy what happened in case of an unexpected hdd break (for example in the worst cases a mechanical problem with the heads and subsequent scratching of internal disks)? (I think smart tecnology is not always 100% correct, it’s statistic). Your data are also stored in a second location or to another data center in case of critical damage of the structure (fire, collapse, floods etc..)

  • Jeppelelle

    If Backblaze have 150PB of cloud storage, imagine what Google has :S Just the storage requirements of YouTube must be pretty insane

  • Blackbeard

    As your drives age, won’t there come a time where you sit around with a lot of old drives where potentially you could have mass-failures within a short period of time?

    • It is possible, but we monitor the farm for such large-scale events and can react if needed!

  • Integral IT

    Wow Grete.. Experience with Cloud Storage System….and System design look awesome…


  • Kristoffer Rath Hansen

    Actually, a Kilobyte (KB) is 1000 bytes, however a Kibibyte (KiB) is 1024 bytes. But it’s kinda awkward to say Kibibyte, Gibibyte, Tebibyte and so on.

  • With all those HDDs running in that server room. and so many fans cooling up the hardware, It must be rather noisy in there. ??

    • Yes, very. We have noise-cancelling headphones for our techs! And ear plugs.

  • ILuvDogshit

    Wow… That’s allot of weight! According to other blog entries, each pod weighs about 150lbs. 980 x 150 = 147,000 pounds or 73.5 tons!

  • karl

    And, anyone notice how beautiful that server room is.

  • karl

    That’s a lot of customer data. Roughly translated to:

    104,166,666,666,665 (104 Trillion) Floppy Disks
    6,790,402,896 (6.8 Billion) DVDs
    214,285,714,285 (214 Billion) Compact Disks
    300,000,000 (300 Million) Average consumer HDD (500 GB)

    In 1982, it would have cost Blackblaze (HDD cost only) $ 470,219,435,736 ($ 470 Billion) to store its data.

    Think all that’s right!

    >> article missed the word bytes in the Petabyte section

    • -> “>> article missed the word bytes in the Petabyte section”

      Good catch! Fixed!