IBM has built the biggest data repository of 120 Petabytes at IBM’s Almaden, California, research lab. The Data drive is made up of 200,000 conventional hard disk drives working together. The 120 Petabyte drive can store up to 24 billion mp3 songs, average size of 5MB each or 60 copies web backup, of 150 billion page Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine. The data disk was built for a unknown client who needed a supercomputer for detailed simulations of real-world phenomena. The large data storage could benefit weather forecasts, seismic processing in the petroleum industry, and molecular studies of genomes or proteins.
“This 120 petabyte system is on the lunatic fringe now, but in a few years it may be that all cloud computing systems are like it,” says Hillsberg director of storage research at IBM and leader of the project.
The system consumes around 2 petabytes for keeping track of the names, types, and other attributes of the files stored in the system. Developers had to create a new Hardware and Software technology to enable the large storage capacity. The largest array of drives today are not more than 15 Petabytes, but with the worlds biggest 120 Petabyte data drive, failures occur regularly for a large collection of drives. The drives are cooled by circulating water rather than standard fans.