Era of Zettabyte

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A zettabyte is multiple of unit byte that measures digital storage. A zettabyte is equivalent to 1021 bytes. We are exactly not sure when this Era of Zettabyte started. Up to 2005, people had just started to share images, videos, and other files across the Internet. In 2005, with the advent of YouTube and Facebook, the amount of data sent over the Internet started to explode. Soon after, the Internet shot-up. Many cloud-based services were developed. Clouds allowed users to access data in a more efficient, cost effective way. It was easy to store, modify and access data in the cloud. It was also easy to access the cloud through thin clients.

The Start of the Zettabyte Era

It is believed that the start of the Zettabyte Era was in either of the two times.

  • Global IP traffic exceeded that of 1 Zettabyte. This happened in 2016.
  • Amount of digital data in the world exceeded 1 Zettabyte. This happened in 2012.

Cisco said the global IP traffic achieved an estimated 1.2 Zettabytes in 2016. It was during this part that CISCO said the Zettabyte Era is approaching.

When did the Zettabyte Era officially begin?


According to an estimate, the era began on Sept 9, 2016, when the world’s collective Internet use reached the Zettabyte threshold. Though the Internet was in commercial and business use since 1980s, it took almost four decades for global innovation and expansion to reach this peak.

Rise of the Zettabyte Era

Cisco predicted the Zettabyte Era before 2011. There were many reasons behind this huge explosion in the Internet and data market.

  • Increased video streaming: Large growing consumption of multimedia including video streaming on the Internet has contributed to the rise of the Zettabyte Era. In 2011, people estimated that 25-40% of the IP traffic was taken up by video streaming services.
  • Increased wireless and mobile traffic: Usage of mobile technologies to access the Internet has resulted in an increase in overall internet traffic in the Zettabyte Era.
  • Increased broadband speeds: Speed of Broadband connections is directly correlated to IP traffic- greater broadband speed, greater possibility of more traffic that can traverse IP network.

Cisco had also predicted some factors that could have led to the Zettabyte Era. They stated four major drivers for the huge growth.

  • More Devices: The company believed 19 billion devices would get connected to the internet in near future.
  • Faster Broadband: Cisco expected broadband speed to increase by 4x.
  • More Users: It was estimated that there would be 3.4 billion users to Internet by 2016.
  • More rich media content: It was assumed that users would download digital content at a ratee of 1.2 million video minutes per second.

There were some interesting facts found as well.

  • The annual Global IP traffic passed the Zettabyte threshold by the end of 2015 and it could reach 2 zettabytes per year by 2019.
  • Global IP traffic could increase five times in coming five years and might increase three times in the next half decade.
  • Busy hour internet traffic would grow rapidly than average hour internet traffic.
  • CDNs (Content Delivery Network) would carry nearly two thirds of internet traffic by 2019.
  • Traffic from wireless and mobile devices have exceeded traffic from wired devices by 2016.
  • The growth rate of Internet video is by 47%.

How to deal with such huge data?

  1. Datacentre infrastructure, capacity planning and management helps us handle such huge data.
  2. Uptime and availability of servers.
  3. Asset lifecycle management.
  4. Support for heat density cooling.
  5. Power management and energy efficiency

Some firms such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and SAP have mastered the art of managing huge volumes of data in this Era. The Zettabyte Era translates to difficulties for datacentres to keep up with the explosion of data consumption, creation and replication.

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