How many hard drives and money would you need to store the entire Internet?

You must bear in mind that the scale of the Megabyte, the Gigabyte and the Terabyte falls short. These two units of measurement are the measurements that we use on a day-to-day basis at the user level. When we scale to the internet level, things change enormously.

putting numbers on the internet

A Photography with our smartphone can occupy 4-5MB on average in our terminal. The video game can occupy between 10-200GB, depending on the game. While the ssd around the 1-4TB of capacity and the HDD until the 22TB. Let’s say that they are the standard measures of our day to day.

Actually, saying for sure how much the entire internet weighs is impossible. The first reason is that it is very difficult to know how much data is uploaded per day. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Twitch could give us daily data on the amount of data that is uploaded. But on the internet there are millions of different web pages and collecting all the data is not feasible.

According to Rancounter, he has tried to make a rough estimate and they have captured it in an infographic. They emphasize that by 2025it is estimated that every day some will be generated 463 exabytes of data.

amount of daily internet data

Very possibly you will have no idea what an Exabyte is, but we will clarify it for you. Specifically, 1 Exabyte equals 1,000,000 Terabyte. Yes, we are not mistaken, 1 Exabyte is equal to 1 million Terabytes. So by 2025, every day the Internet will grow by 463 million terabytes.

Currently, the largest mechanical hard drives (HDDs) on the market available are the WD Red Pro 22TB (about 800 euros) and the WD UltraStar DC HC570 22TB (about 540 euros). Seagate offers the Iron Wolf Pro 20TB (about 540 euros) and the Exos X20 20TB (about 420 euros).

Specifically, every day we would need between 21-23.15 million HDDs, which is bullshit. Let’s say that on average each unit costs us about 400 euros since we buy them wholesale from the manufacturer. This means that daily it would cost us between 8,400-9,260 million euros, only on hard drives. Then we should add motherboards, processors, RAM, power supplies, rack cabinets, refrigeration, electricity, installations and maintenance, among other costs.

hard drives needed to store internet

It’s not worth just storing it

The “easy” part is saving all this data, so to speak. It gets complicated if we take into account that none of the data can be lost. All our messages on Twitter should always be available, Instagram photos or YouTube videos. Nothing can be erased or just disappear.

This is where it gets complicated, since we need back up data. It is not valid with a simple RAID 1 (store each data on two different hard drives) special configurations are required. To understand and simplify it, Ibai’s latest video from his YouTube channel is stored on at least 5 different hard drives. Beware, it doesn’t just happen with his videos, it happens with each and every one of the videos. Then add comments, likes and other data associated with each video.

It would be the previous figures multiplied by 5, which gives even more absurd figures. But, there is a trick so that all these absurd figures become more “normal”

You have to squeeze each data, well, compress it

Obviously, spending about 9,000 million euros on hard drives a day is nonsense. It would be double with the other associated expenses. In addition, it is impossible for Seagate, WD and Toshiba (currently the only HDD manufacturers) to supply you with that many hard drives per day.

Imagine that only today 4 Exabytes of data are generated, that is 200,000 20 TB HDDs. At the end of the year they would be a whopping 73 million HDDs. There are not enough materials on earth to produce them, impossible.

So the data is deleted every day? Well no, the solution is much simpler: they are compressed. There are specific algorithms that achieve that all this data is compressed so much that it occupies only a fraction. It would be like having a high-force hydraulic press.

Using special encryption algorithms, a 4 MB photo can be reduced to a few KB (1 MB = 1,000 KB). Said compression allows saving the acquisition of many hard drives, being multimillion-dollar savings.

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