Actually no one knows how much information we have in store, but there was an estimate published in the magazine Science (a number of copies of which are now in storage) which suggests that in 2007 we had around 295 exabytes.
Now, let me explain. A kilobyte is 10,000 bytes, or to make what follows simpler. 103.
Multiply by 10, and again by 10 and keep going until you get 10 with 18 noughts at the end and you have an exabyte.
Or put another way 1 EB = 1000000000000000000B
Or again, to give another comparison, that is the equivalent of 1.2 billion average hard drives.
The people who did this research included data held on 60 technologies from PCs to DVDs, from credit cards to x ray film, and from books to individual sheets of paper.
Put another way, if all this information were in books, it would be possible to cover all of the USA in 13 layers of books, according to Dr Martin Hilbert of the University of Southern California.
Or if we put it all on CDs in a single pile we would have a pile of discs that would go beyond the moon (which means over 250,000 miles).
By 2007 it was said that 94% of all this data was digital – but that still leaves a lot of information in books and newspapers – which is why there is still a place in our society for physical storage facility of paper.
Mind you we are starting to get people leave their old hard drives with us, just in case they need to go back and retrieve something – so storage facilities such as Admiral have all sorts of usage.
The revolution that has put more and more data onto disk can be compared to the revolution brought about by the development of the car, or the introduction of electricity.
The research that brought us this analysis also suggests that we now broadcast around two zettabytes of data a day. Which means we have climbed up the scale, for a zettabyte is 1000 exabytes.
What that actually means is that we broadcast around 175 newspapers per person, per day. This is achieved by the fact that each year global computing capacity goes up by something around 60%.
That means that we are soon going to need a number above the zettabyte to have discussions like this. A zettabyte is 10 with 21 noughts after it. After that we have the yottabyte which is 10 with 24 noughts after it.
That is 1024
Just to get a feel for all this the DNA in your body stores around 300 times more information than all the data stored everywhere in the world.
That is each person.
Quite a lot, really.
If you’re looking for document storage in the West Midlands, we can help.
There is more information on our website, alternatively call us on 0800 810 1125.