What's A Zettabyte? I Don't Know, But It's Coming Soon

TedschadlerBy Ted Schadler

What's a zettabyte? It's the same amount of information found on 500 billion DVDs or 75 full-length movies for every human on the planet. And a half a zettabyte, a mere 250 billion DVDs' worth, is the number of bits that Cisco expects to fly around the Internet every year in 2012.

The networking giant has created aVisual Networking Index, a detailed measurement of annual business and consumers Internet traffic. In a recent conversation with Cisco senior analyst Arielle Sumits, we learned that Cisco has used this index and a lot of detailed data to calculate that the public and private Internet will carry 6 times the amount of traffic in 2012 as it does today.

The big driver of that torrent is, of course, video. By 2012, Internet video alone will be almost 400 times the size of the entire US backbone in 2000. Add downloadable HD video, Telepresence, and Internet traffic to the television, and the volume of bits is staggering, even higher than the P2P traffic.

Wow, that's a lot of bits. But what does it really mean? I think it means three things for Information & Knowledge Management professionals:

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