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New 'flash storage' holds five times more data - but here's why that's still not enough

New 'flash storage' holds five times more data - but here's why that's still not enough
PHOTO COURTESY OF PURE STORAGE

You probably don't think much about computer storage. Most people don't. But without it, we'd have nowhere to store our treasured photos, important financial and medical records, and critical documents that we all have and must securely store somewhere.

As you can imagine, all the data that billions of smartphone users, computer users and tablet users store in the cloud and on their devices is mind-boggling. In fact, in just one month, 1 billion cellphone users save the equivalent of a few trillion books. That's right, each month.

That's not even counting all the data being saved on new devices, like smart cars, fitness trackers and Internet-connected home appliances. All that data requires entirely new devices that store so much data that it's hard to get your mind around it.

Which is why companies like Pure Storage are developing compact storage devices that hold an immense amount of data. Pure Storage's new, refrigerator-size device (see photo), which debuted this week, stores five times as much data as conventional devices.

Pure Storage incorporates flash-drive technology, where data is stored directly onto semiconductors, rather than on a disk. Pure Storage's refrigerator-sized model stores 16 petabytes of data.

To put that in perspective, each week Netflix adds a few dozen 5 petabyte storage devices to store thousands of streaming movies and TV shows for its 75 million subscribers.

To store the data saved by 1 billion cellphone users each month, mentioned above, would fill up 1,100 of Pure Storage's devices. That's 18 exabytes.

Clearly, data is outpacing storage. In fact, IBM estimates that in just four years the world will be generating 44 zettabytes, a thousandfold increase over exabytes.

It's getting really tough to save all the data we're creating every day. Note: This is an important reminder to back up your digital files to a cloud-based backup service. This keeps your files safe from computer crashes, theft and local disasters.

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