The volume of data in a single file or file system can be described by a unit called a byte. However, data volumes can become very large when dealing with Earth satellite data. Below is a table to explain data volume units (credit Roy Williams, Center for Advanced Computing Research at the California Insitute of Technology).
- Kilo- means 1,000; a Kilobyte is one thousand bytes.
- Mega- means 1,000,000; a Megabyte is a million bytes.
- Giga- means 1,000,000,000; a Gigabyte is a billion bytes.
- Tera- means 1,000,000,000,000; a Terabyte is a trillion bytes.
- Peta- means 1,000,000,000,000,000; a Petabyte is 1,000 Terabytes.
- Exa- means 1,000,000,000,000,000,000; an Exabyte is 1,000 Petabytes.
- Zetta- means 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000; a Zettabyte is 1,000 Exabytes.
- Yotta- means 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000; a Yottabyte is 1,000 Zettabytes.
|Kilobytes (KB)||1,000 bytes||a paragraph of a text document|
|Megabytes (MB)||1,000 Kilobytes||a small novel|
|Gigabytes (GB)||1,000 Megabytes||Beethoven’s 5th Symphony|
|Terabytes (TB)||1,000 Gigabytes||all the X-rays in a large hospital|
|Petabytes (PB)||1,000 Terabytes||half the contents of all US academic research libraries
(the ASDC holds roughly this much data)
|Exabytes (EB)||1,000 Petabytes||about one fifth of the words people have ever spoken|
|Zettabytes (ZB)||1,000 Exabytes||as much information as there are grains of sand on all the world’s beaches|
|Yottabytes (YB)||1,000 Zettabytes||as much information as there are atoms in 7,000 human bodies|