It’s no shocker that Google is always coming up with brilliant ways to improve technology. However, as much as this company is always one step ahead, there is no company out there that exists that can keep up with the amount of data storage this world uses. Or, is there?
In a planet full of three billion people who have internet access, cloud storage has reached well over what we could have ever imagined a decade ago. While Google’s cloud storage system does a great job of maintaining each individual’s personal data, will they continue to be successful as the population of internet users grows tremendously?
In three years from now, more than half of those who have internet access will be using more than 500 zettabytes total. To give you some perspective, one zettabyte is equal to about a billion terrabytes. In case you’re unfamiliar, one terrabyte is about how much space is on your external hard drive. Hard to fathom, huh? Unlike other data materials that were used prior to the technology age, items in cloud storage essentially live in what we refer to as “cyberspace.” Because you can’t see it, it’s difficult to imagine how much of it is there, floating above our heads. However, if you could touch the internet, it could theoretically fit into an large oil tanker, and if you could stack the amount of hard drives that exist, it would tower well into the stratosphere.
So, what is the industry doing about this “growing” problem? Well, fortunately, there are data centers out there whose main job is to archive everything that has ever existed on the internet. Many of these industries use something called “tape,” which can hold data for up to thirty years. While that’s rather impressive, it’s not necessarily something you can stay on top of, nor is it something to risk losing. You see, internet information isn’t recorded the same way things were in the past. It’s not a scroll, scripture, or book you can just pick up and read. It’s something massive that if we don’t understand how to record it now, it could be very well lost forever. That’s not something this generation could afford to lose.
Not surprisingly, Google has came to the rescue. What if instead of looking towards the future to solve the data storage issue, we looked to the past? A disk, though primitive, was once the primary option when it came to storing data. It was simple, easy to use, reliable, and for lack of a better word, small. What if the industry could go back in time, take a second look at the optimal disk, and revamp it so it can accommodate the amount of data that we have today? It might sound too good to be true; too simple. But, many elders will tell you that often the simplest answer is the best answer of all.
At the moment, many of the data storage centers that we have today still rely on disks when not using tape to store data. Though many of these disks are meant for traditional servers, they are sufficient for the time being. While some companies in the industry are looking to create a DNA system to endlessly store all the data out there, Google believes that improving the basic disk would be a short term solution to a long term problem. It may be temporary, but it could very well surprise us with how effective it is.
Look how far we’ve come from the first computer. While we should always strive to move forward, we can’t forget the incredible ideas that got us here in the first place. Google understands that. Sometimes, instead of believing that we are at risk of taking two steps forward to go ten steps back, we need to actually embrace the fact that going back might be the answer we’ve been searching for all along.
We’ll wait and see what Google has in store for us.