$94 trillion petabyte

By | June 21st, 2011

IBM first hard drive
IBM is celebrating the 55th anniversary of the first hard drive. At the time, this was a breakthrough that would change the path of technology.

However, to put into perspective how far we have all come:

The hard drive IBM shipped in 1956:
* Stored 5 megabytes (MB)
* Cost $11,000 per megabyte
* Was 60 inches long x 68 inches high x 29 inches deep
* Weighed about 1 ton

In today’s dollars that would mean:

A $179 16 GB iPod Nano:
* Stores 3,200 times more data
* Would cost: $1,429,176,320
* Requires 8 semi-truck shipping containers to hold the data

A petabyte of storage would:
* Cost: $93,662,499,307,520
* Require a building the size of 10,814 football fields to hold the drives
* Require 472 of the world’s largest data centers to hold the drives

Compare that to being able to get a petabyte of storage for $117,000 and store it in a single rack. Of course, IBM researchers from the 50’s are clearly some of the giants on whose shoulders we stand.

Note: $1 in 1956 is $7.93 in 2010 adjusted for inflation.

Gleb Budman
Co-founder and CEO of Backblaze. Founded three prior companies. He has been a speaker at GigaOm Structure, Ignite: Lean Startup, FailCon, CloudCon; profiled by Inc. and Forbes; a mentor for Teens in Tech; and holds 5 patents on security.

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