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“The World’s Biggest Memory Stick” mystery – it’s a truck?!?

February 19, 2010

The memory stick that’s almost impossible to lose – almost.

Data Centre World will this year be showcasing what it bills as the “World’s Biggest Memory Stick”—capable of storing 14.2 PETABYTES of data!

If you don’t know what a petabyte (PB) is, let me put this into perspective for you.

A gigabyte is approximately 1,000 megabytes. Most USB memory sticks sold these days store between one and two gigabytes of data. A terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes. That’s pretty big. According to the BBC, one terabyte is enough to store 1,000 copies of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica.

Now for petabytes: there are one million gigabytes (a thousand terabytes) in one petabyte.

According to Data Centre World, the accumulated data in all of the U.S.’s academic research libraries amounts to 2 PB; all of the photographs on Facebook take up roughly 1.5 PB; and Google processes 20 PB of data per day.

A petabyte is HUGE!

Shocked that any memory stick of any size could hold an entire PB of data (let alone 14.2), I visited the DCW website to find out more. I discovered that the “world’s biggest memory stick” is actually a truck. To be more specific, it’s the SGI ICE Cube: a “self-contained, fully portable datacentre.”

Still amazing. But I have to admit I’m slightly disappointed. I could never carry that memory stick! I suppose it would at least be more difficult to misplace the ICE Cube than your average memory stick. It could certainly never fall out of your pocket.

Are you going to Data Centre World this year (London, 23-24 February)? Email the team at countdown@launchpad-europe.com and let us know what you think.

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