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What Is A Petabyte

Data storage has always been essential for both brands and individuals. And that hasn't changed. All that has changed over the years is the method of storage. In the past, storing paper files and certificates was a common practice. But today, electronic data storage has taken over.

And that's no wonder. After all, it is easily accessible and immune to physical damage (fire outbreaks and floods). Above all, you can store a large amount of data on your device without worrying about room space. That said, you still need to pay attention to your data storage units.

As a firm, running out of storage space is a no-go, especially in modern times. There are various units of data storage ranging from the byte to the yottabyte. Hence, you need to determine the amount of data that you'll be dealing with. And that in turn will determine the device you're going to need.


For smaller firms, storing data on USB drives, external hard drives, and PC might do the trick. Plus, there are services such as Google Drive that allow you to store data directly on the net. But what if you need something bigger?

Well, back in the 2000s, people were fascinated by just how much data Gigabyte(s) could hold. However, times have changed. Nowadays, even the most common smartphones hold up to 30GB of storage space. And that's not enough even for average users. So it is no surprise that you (as a brand) may be in the market for devices with higher storage capacity.

If so, this article is for you as it introduces a storage unit that's gradually upstaging even terabytes - the Petabyte. If you're coming across that word for the first time, no doubt you're wondering: "what is a Petabyte?" The answer to that lies below

Petabyte - what it is

In simple terms, a Petabyte is that unit of data storage that's higher than the terabyte and lower than the exabyte. Peta, standing for five, consists of approximately 1000⁵ bytes. The Petabyte is the fourth largest data storage unit and has become widely used by large firms.

To further understand it, let's see how it compares with the other units of data storage.



No. of byte



1 byte



1,000 bytes



1,000,000 bytes



1,000,000,000 bytes



1,000,000,000,000 bytes



1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes



1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes



1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes



1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes

As seen above, the Petabyte is roughly 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. Without a doubt, these figures only make it more confusing. It is impossible to say, in a word, just how big or how small a Petabyte is. But here are some ideas:

  • Imagine having an external hard drive of one terabyte. Just think of how much data you can store in it. Now, imagine having a thousand of that same hard drive. That's a Petabyte.

  • It is no news that Facebook generates about four Petabyte (4,000,000,000,000,000 bytes) worth of data every day. As of January 2022, Facebook was said to have about 1.929 billion active users daily. Considering the amount of time these users will spend on the platform to generate just 4 Petabytes, shows how powerful a Petabyte is.

  • One source says that storing a Petabyte is like taking over 4,000 photos of yourself daily for the rest of your life.

As mentioned earlier, the size of a Petabyte cannot be described in one word. But there's one thing to note: it's tremendous. However, that size comes with a challenge, namely backup.

Petabyte and Backups

As seen above, data storage is essential. But storing info without backup comes with many risks, even for electronic data storage. And that's why many go the extra mile to ensure that their important documents are backed up. They make sure to link those documents to the cloud while still having a copy on hand and their phones.

Backing up data is easy. But that depends on the size of the data. If you're to backup a Kilobytes worth of data, you'll be done in the blink of an eye. But that is not the case with Petabytes. Once more, consider the above examples of a Petabyte's size.

Now, imagine you have to back up all that data. That's a whole lot of stress. When will I be done? One may wonder. And since backups are done routinely, you'll only get more discouraged.

Without a doubt, Petabytes are not suited for your traditional backup. After all, it requires you to scan the entire system first. So, how do you go about it? There is no set way of backing up that large amount of data.

But one way to do so is via cloud storage. Snapshot storage is another method that provides you with accessible copies of your data. Another effective means is cold storage. However, a quick solution to backing up Petabytes is to avoid letting your data reach that amount. Back up your essential files, and feel free to let go of unused data.

A petabyte is large. So storing and backing it up may prove challenging. However, it is possible. The internet swarms with ways to help you manage the seemingly daunting Petabyte. However, unlike the KB, you'll need to put in more effort when dealing with the Petabyte.

Wrapping Up

In the past, none would've thought that Terabyte would become a big deal as it is today. Back when people were still getting introduced to the units of data storage, it would seem like a dream. But, as mentioned earlier, the 2000s saw the GB making its way into the daily lives of people.

Now, users long for something more, the terabyte. It is no secret that devices that hold over that amount are now in full circulation.

But as the world advances and sees a greater need for devices with even higher capacity, Petabyte won't be out of the reach of the common man. On the contrary, hard drives holding that many bits would be a common tool found in people's homes. Who knows? By then, the Exabyte might be making its move.

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