n. 2 to the power of 80 — approximately 10 to the power of 24 — bytes, or a million trillion megabytes.

2000

In ten years, the volume of online data accessible either on the Internet or on corporate networks is expected to approach a yottabyte, or 1 trillion terabytes.

1996

Now that kilo-, mega-, and even gigabytes of computer memory don't seem like much any more, and computer clock speeds of nanoseconds seem blase, here's what to expect in the near future: Computers with yottabyte memories, operating at zeptosecond clock speeds. Government deficits of petabucks. (That's a billion million dollars!)

1994 (earliest)

Opening the hood, you see the El Hombre's compact board layout. On the right rear is the a teeny PSU which supplies the power and a plutonium powercell for the realtime clock. The 1.4 gig 3.5 floppy drive is also located in the rear. A docking bay for removable 5000 Yottabyte hd is located in the front.

With multi-gigabyte hard drives now commonplace, the bar for what is considered "large" is getting raised all the time. To help you prepare for the coming age of truly massive storage, here's a review of the prefixes used at various levels of "bigness":

Since a kilobyte is actually 1,024 bytes, a megabyte is 1,024 kilobytes, and so on, the above numbers don't accurately reflect the exact byte values represented by each unit. Here are the exact values:

PREFIX POWER UNITS NUMBERAll the numerical prefixes are defined by the International Standards Organization in a document called ISO 1000, "SI units and recommendations for the use of their multiples and of certain other units." (How's that for a mouthful of a title?) These prefixes are agreed upon by various committees, but there is some logic to their etymology. For example, tera- comes from tetra-, "four," because tera- represents 1,000 to the 4th power. Similarly, peta- is derived from penta-, "five," exa- comes from hexa-, "six", zetta- is a variation of the Latin septum, "seven," and yotta- is a variation of octo-, "eight."

OF 10

kilo- 3 thousands 1,000

mega- 6 millions 1,000,000

giga- 9 billions 1,000,000,000

tera- 12 trillions 1,000,000,000,000

peta- 15 quadrillions 1,000,000,000,000,000

exa- 18 quintillions 1,000,000,000,000,000,000

zetta- 21 sextillions 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

yotta- 24 septillions 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Since a kilobyte is actually 1,024 bytes, a megabyte is 1,024 kilobytes, and so on, the above numbers don't accurately reflect the exact byte values represented by each unit. Here are the exact values:

UNIT POWER ACTUAL BYTESTo put this in some perspective (or not), it would take approximately 86 trillion years to download a 1-yottabyte file, and the entire contents of the Library of Congress would consume a mere 10 terabytes.

OF 2

kilobyte 10 1,024

megabyte 20 1,048,576

gigabyte 30 1,073,741,824

terabyte 40 1,099,511,627,776

petabyte 50 1,125,899,906,842,624

exabyte 60 1,152,921,504,606,846,976

zettabyte 70 1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424yottabyte80 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176