Data, social media and the Internet all are stored in the real world, taking up space. Translated into concrete measurements, their effects truly are enormous.

Data and the Internet Take a Lot of Space In the Real World


In the digital sphere, most participants are used to thinking of the Internet as virtual, but it takes up real space. Looking to put huge numbers into forms that are recognizable, Emerson Network Power assembled some statistics into an infographic that relates the impact of data and where its stored. For example, this year’s $53 billion in cyber weekend sales is larger than the economy of Bulgaria. 500 million active Facebook users on earth is 1 in every 13 people. Every second, 1,157 people start watching YouTube - that’s 1 million videos a day. In February 2011, daily tweets average 140 million, almost 3 times the 50 million tweets sent every day this time last year.

Data does take up space, and translated into drives and discs, it really adds up

There are 509,147 data centers worldwide, which translates to 285,831,541 square feet, equal to 5,955 football fields. This year, mankind will create 1.2 billion gigabytes of data, equal to 75 billion 16GB iPods - if we carried it around with us, every person on Earth would have ten iPods. Every hour, enough information is consumed by Internet traffic to fill 7 million DVDs. Side by side, those discs would scale Mount Everest 95 times.

Average data center performance has huge impact with little footprint

Data downtime translates to big business losses at normal rates. If the 509,147 data centers worldwide suffer 2.5 complete outages (the average frequency in the US), at an average of 134 minutes (the average length of those outages), it would come out to 2,842,737 hours of downtime. At an average of $300,000 per hour, this downtime would cost $426 billion per year, or enough to buy every person in Munich, Germany, a forty foot yacht. But these rates could improve, just as technology does. Just as a server purchased in 2011 has about 45 times more compute capacity than a similarly configured server installed in 2001, power networks can also become more effective.

By Ivory King