This article is about the unit of information. For the company that manufactured data backup products, see Exabyte (company).
Multiples of bytes
Value Metric
1000 kB kilobyte
10002 MB megabyte
10003 GB gigabyte
10004 TB terabyte
10005 PB petabyte
10006 EB exabyte
10007 ZB zettabyte
10008 YB yottabyte
1024 KiB kibibyte KB kilobyte
10242 MiB mebibyte MB megabyte
10243 GiB gibibyte GB gigabyte
10244 TiB tebibyte
10245 PiB pebibyte
10246 EiB exbibyte
10247 ZiB zebibyte
10248 YiB yobibyte

The exabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix exa indicates multiplication by the sixth power of 1000 (1018) in the International System of Units (SI). Therefore, one exabyte is one quintillion bytes (short scale). The symbol for the exabyte is EB.

1 EB = 10006bytes = 1018bytes = 1000000000000000000B = 1000 petabytes = 1millionterabytes = 1billiongigabytes.

A related unit, the exbibyte, using a binary prefix, is equal to 10246 (=260)bytes, about 15% larger.

Usage examples and size comparisons

All words ever spoken

Allegedly, "all words ever spoken by human beings" could be stored in approximately 5 exabytes of data.[15][16][17] This claim often cites a project at the UC Berkeley School of Information in support (although this project is now outdated and therefore not entirely accurate).[18] The 2003 University of California Berkeley report credits the estimate to the website of Caltech researcher Roy Williams, where the statement can be found as early as May 1999.[19] This statement has been criticized.[20][21] Mark Liberman calculated the storage requirements for all human speech at 42 zettabytes (42,000 exabytes, and 8,400 times the original estimate), if digitized as 16 kHz 16-bit audio, although he did freely confess that "maybe the authors [of the exabyte estimate] were thinking about text".[22]

Earlier studies from the University of California, Berkeley, estimated that by the end of 1999, the sum of human-produced information (including all audio, video recordings, and text/books) was about 12 exabytes of data.[23] The 2003 Berkeley report stated that in 2002 alone, "telephone calls worldwide on both landlines and mobile phones contained 17.3 exabytes of new information if stored in digital form" and that "it would take 9.25 exabytes of storage to hold all U.S. [telephone] calls each year".[18] International Data Corporation estimates that approximately 160 exabytes of digital information were created, captured, and replicated worldwide in 2006.[24] Research from University of Southern California estimates that the amount of data stored in the world by 2007 was 295 exabytes and the amount of information shared on two-way communications technology, such as cell phones in 2007 as 65 exabytes.[25][26]

Library of Congress

The content of the Library of Congress is commonly estimated to hold 10 terabytes of data in all printed material. Recent estimates of the size including audio, video, and digital materials start at 3 petabytes[27] to 20 petabytes. Therefore, one exabyte could hold a hundred thousand times the printed material, or 500 to 3000 times all content of the Library of Congress.


In 2013, Randall Munroe compiled published assertions about Google's data centers, and estimated that the company has about 10 exabytes stored on disk, and additionally approximately 5 exabytes on tape backup.[28] The company has refused to comment on Munroe's estimate.[29]

See also


  1. "A brief history of virtual storage and 64-bit addressability". Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  2. 1 2 3 Martin Hilbert and Priscila López, "The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information", Science, 332(6025), 2011: 60–65; see also "free access to the study" and "video animation".
  3. Bret Swanson (2007-01-20). "The Coming Exaflood". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  4. Grant Gross (2007-11-24). "Internet Could Max Out in 2 Years, Study Says". PC World. Archived from the original on 26 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  5. Cisco Systems
  6. "Global data volume 2009 reached 800 exabyte", genevaassociation.org, May 2010. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  7. John Gantz (March 2008). "An Updated Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2011". IDC. Retrieved 2009-04-20.
  8. Bree Nordenson (2009-04-01). "Overload! Journalism's battle for relevance in an age of too much information". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2009-04-20.
  9. Kathleen Parker (December 2008). "Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop In". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  10. Aron, Jacob (14 February 2015). "Glassed-in DNA makes the ultimate time capsule". New Scientist. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  11. "From Molecules to the Milky Way: Dealing with the Data Deluge". Retrieved 2007-11-10.
  12. http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/319128/ska_telescope_provide_billion_pcs_worth_processing_updated_/
  13. Verlyn Klinkenborg (2003-11-12). "Trying to Measure the Amount of Information That Humans Create". New York Times. Retrieved 2006-07-19. (login)
  14. "How many bytes for...". techtarget.com. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
  15. "'Robbie the Robot' making data easier to mine". purdue.edu. 2005-12-06. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  16. 1 2 "How Much Information? 2003". berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
  17. Roy Williams. "Data Powers of Ten". Archived from the original on 1999-05-08. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
  18. Mark Liberman (2003-11-12). "More on the 5 exabyte mistake". upenn.edu. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
  19. Brian Carnell (2003-12-31). "How Much Storage Is Required to Store Every Word Ever Spoken by Human Beings?". brian.carnell.com. Archived from the original on 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
  20. Mark Liberman (2003-11-03). "Zettascale Linguistics". upenn.edu. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  21. Juan Enriquez (Fall–Winter 2003). "The Data That Defines Us". CIO Magazine. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
  22. Brian Bergstein (2007-03-05). "So much data, relatively little space". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
  23. Jon Stewart (2011-02-11). "Global data storage calculated at 295 exabytes". BBC.
  24. Suzanne Wu (2011-02-10). "How Much Information Is There in the World?". USC.
  25. Leslie Johnston (2012-04-25). "A "Library of Congress" Worth of Data: It's All In How You Define It".
  26. "Google's Data Centers on Punched Cards". Randall Munroe. 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
  27. Randall Munroe (March 2014). "Randall Munroe: Comics that ask "what if?"". TED. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
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