If you thought your PC at home with 6TB of drives was mighty impressive, think again. IBM is working on a 120PB (petabyte) drive, which quite definitely is the largest we’ve ever heard of. To put this into perspective, most people buy 750GB drives these days, the IBM drive can store 120 million GB in comparison. That’s enough space to store 24 million HD movies. IBM is attempting this feat by putting together 200,000 drives. According to MIT’s Technology Review, this large array of drives requires 2 petabytes of space to just keep track of all file names and folder structures. We’d imagine keeping an index and linking so many drives together would also be a nightmare. 

Taking it to a whole new level

Taking it to a whole new level

The drives are lined up horizontally and to keep temperatures down, they are cooled using water rather than air. IBM’s Bruce Hillsberg is aware that drive failures can wreak havoc with such large scale data systems. Data replication is being done to prevent data loss and the supercomputer responsible for handling the data is capable of running nonstop and without any performance loss even if a drive happens to fail. The entire system uses the GPFS file system, something that was also used in the IBM-Violin attempt at beating the 5GB/s file transfer speed barrier.

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