What is an Exabyte?

Two businesswomen learning data concepts like "what is an exabyte."

An exabyte (EB) is the term used to measure data storage. An exabyte is equal to one quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) bytes or 1,000 petabytes (or 1,000,000 terabytes). That’s 1 followed by 18 zeros.

How big is an Exabyte?

To put the scale of an exabyte into perspective, in this section, we start at the bottom of the storage scale and work up to the Exabyte.

One Byte

A single bit is the storage required to store a binary 1 or 0 value—a string of 8 bits that can hold up to 256 unique bit string values. Most of today’s computers use a 64-bit word consisting of 8 bytes. A word is the size of an executable instruction that a CPU processes in a single cycle. Developers use hexadecimal notation to describe the contents of a byte, which can range from ’00’, and a string of all ones is written as ‘FF.’

One Kilobyte

One Kilobyte (KB) contains 1,024 bytes.

One Megabyte

A Megabytes (MB) contains 1,024 Kilobytes. Digital images taken on smartphones are commonly described in Megabytes.

One Gigabyte

One Gigabyte (GB) is 1,024 Megabytes. SD memory cards and memory stick sizes are commonly expressed in Gigabytes—a high-definition 4K feature-length movie on a streaming service like Netflix averages about 14 Gigabytes.

One Terabyte

One Terabyte (TB) is made up of 1,024 Gigabytes. The size of a personal computer hard drive is described in Terabytes, and cloud storage subscription costs are priced in Terabytes per month. In the 1990s, a one-terabyte database was considered a VLDB (Very Large Database), and few businesses had that much data.

One Petabyte

One Petabyte (PB) is 1,024 Terabytes or 1,125,899,906,842,624 Bytes. A storage rack or large storage array would be Petabytes in size. Today, it is not uncommon for a financial services or retailer to have a petabyte of storage for decision support.

One Exabyte

An Exabyte (EB) is 1,024 Petabytes, which is so large that it would span multiple data centers. The prefix “exa” is 10 to the power of 18 (1018). The CERN lab has an Exabyte of data storage.

One Zetabyte

One Zetabyte (ZB) is 1,024 Exabytes. In 2023, all the data on the Internet was estimated to be 120 Zetabytes.

Actian and Big Data

The Actian Data Platform makes it easy to gather, transform, transport, and store large amounts of data at scale. The Actian Data platform uses a highly parallel query capability provided by the built-in Vector processing database engine, designed to provide fast response times for large queries. Queries can transparently span a single database, a clustered database, and geographically distributed database instances.

Database instances can be flexibly deployed in an on-premise data center and cloud services, including Google Cloud, Azure, and AWS. The same source code runs on all these platforms for total SQL compatibility.

Actian is a pioneer in the database industry. The Ingres database was the first to develop a distributed query with Ingres-Star. Today, Ingres Next delivers a rock-solid transaction processing database using row storage and an integrated extension using columnar storage optimized for data warehousing queries.

The Actian Data Platform uses built-in data integration technology to connect to hundreds of data sources. Automated data pipelines can be built without code using reusable components to get raw data into an analyzable form. External data connectors support SQL access to Spark formats, and any Business Intelligence (BI) platform can be used to analyze and visualize data.

Discover proven performance and unbeatable value by trying the Actian Data Platform free trial. Learn why many organizations entrust Actian with their Transactional, IoT, and Analytical data.