Internet processed 9.57 zettabytes of information in 2008

By on April 7, 2011, 5:54 PM
Ever stop and wonder just how much data flows through the miraculous series of tubes we know and love as the Internet? Three UC San Diego scientists set out to answer that question last year by analyzing the total work capacity of servers around the globe and their findings were published in report this week (PDF).

According to their estimate, the world's servers processed 9.57 zettabytes (ZB) of information in 2008. To reflect the magnitude of such a number, the report equates 9.57ZB to stacking Stephen King's longest novel (2.5MB of data) from Earth to Neptune and back 20 times. That data is even underestimated as it excludes private servers built by Google, Microsoft and others.


No matter how you slice it, it's incredibly difficult to conceptualize. "Most of this information is incredibly transient: it is created, used, and discarded in a few seconds without ever being seen by a person," said co-author Roger Bohn. "It's the underwater base of the iceberg that runs the world that we see."

Server sales totaled $53.3 billion in 2008, on par with the previous four years. During the same timeframe, server performance increased five to eight times. Entry-level servers costing less than $25,000 processed about 65% of the world's information in 2008, mid-range servers crunched about 30%, and high-end servers costing $500,000+ handled the remaining 5%.



User Comments: 13

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pcnthuziast said:

I thought a zetta was a type of pasta... oh wait that's zitti. :P

Win7Dev said:

"Entry-level servers costing less than $25,000 processed about 65% of the world's information in 2008, mid-range servers crunched about 30%, and high-end servers costing $500,000+ handled the remaining 5%"

Wait a second. What single server costs half a million dollars? The most expensive processor is under $15,000, and a server can only have a quad socket motherboard (I don't think there are any hex or 8 socket mobo's yet). If it means a high performance computing cluster that's different. One HPC data center may only have one cluster, but may have close to 100 servers.

thewind said:

HOLY SHIT.... there were 6,775,235,741 people alive at the end of 2009 that means an average of 1.4 Terabites were transfered per person... I know I dont even come close to 300GB per year and thats only due to streaming movies... Its crazy to think thats how much is transfered when a lot of poor countrys dont even have access to internet...

yRaz yRaz said:

how much of it is porn?

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

yRaz said:

how much of it is porn?

About 90%.

Jurassic4096 said:

why does peta have one T but zetta has two? inquiring minds want to know.

Guest said:

that was too funny!

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

yRaz said:

how much of it is porn?

How much of it was spam?

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@lawfer

That is reasonably precise guestimate.

@Win7Dev

If you think 500k server is bit too off the scale, how about buying an Android phone app for 12,500$?

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Lokalaskurar said:

yRaz said:

how much of it is porn?

How much of it was spam?

Around 9%, with another 0.5% comprised of Lolcatz, Demotivationals and African nationals looking to free up cash reserves held by banks. 0.4% of web traffic is also devoted to YouTube Hitler reacts to (lolcats/demotivationals/African nationals...). while the remaining 0.1% is split between legitimate information sharing and discussions on the slow adoption of IPv6

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

dividebyzero said:

Lokalaskurar said:

How much of it was spam?

Around 9%, with another 0.5% comprised of Lolcatz, Demotivationals and African nationals looking to free up cash reserves held by banks. 0.4% of web traffic is also devoted to YouTube Hitler reacts to (lolcats/demotivationals/African nationals...). while the remaining 0.1% is split between legitimate information sharing and discussions on the slow adoption of IPv6

Bwahaha!

I think you're wrong, "Hitler reacts to" has at least 1% of all worldwide data transferrals. Also, it's rather tricky to fit subjects like "YouTube Hitler reacts to the African nationals trying to free up cash reserves using Lolcatz as spam" - but not on YouTube

That's a lot of data. ~9% spam you say? Well, the Internet is Made of Cats anyway.

Guest said:

Such articles that start with saying that 1KB in 1000 bytes and further the same way aren't worth reading.

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