IBM builds biggest data drive ever

August 26, 2011 | Source: Technology Review

A data repository almost 10 times bigger than any made before is being built by researchers at IBM’s Almaden, California, research lab. The 120 petabyte “drive” — that’s 120 million gigabytes — is made up of 200,000 conventional hard disk drives working together.

The giant data container is expected to store around one trillion files and should provide the space needed to allow more powerful simulations of complex systems, like those used to model weather and climate.

The largest arrays available today are about 15 petabytes in size. Supercomputing problems that could benefit from more data storage include weather forecasts, seismic processing in the petroleum industry, and molecular studies of genomes or proteins, says Steve Conway, a vice president of research with the analyst firm IDC.