The Growth of Terabytes

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  • Where will it end? Can the planet store every YouTube, which every YouTuber creates every day ... forever? In ever increasingly High Definition quality?

    Even if that is not an issue (from my end user perspective it doesn't seem to be ...) its gobbling up a fair bit of energy (along with Bitcoin of course ...). Maybe that is solved once fossil generation is entirely replaced by renewal energy sources. I've stop asking "How are we actually managing to afford all this stuff" ... I can't remember the last time I actually clicked on an pop-up advert and bought something ... maybe my gullible-factor is lower than the average

    I can remember back, over 4 decades, each time we had an increase in storage space (which was reasonably exponential) the problem each time became the backups.

    My first machine ('70s) only had a couple of floppy drives. Copy A: to B: was straightforward, the cost of a floppy, even back then, was fairly trivial, offsite backup just meant one member of staff taking yesterday's floppy (and later on "tape") home with them, and bringing "the other one" back tomorrow.

    Then we got a 5MB Winchester disk that was the size of a washing machine ... and something, which I think was called FASTBACK, that backed up to A: and B: floppies alternately and bypassed the operating system to get (at that time) astonishingly high transfer rates. So whilst it was copying to B: you could change the floppy in A:. The thing became a race of pulling out disks and stuffing a new one in, before FASTBACK was ready ... and all the time keeping the disks labelled / in order in case you ever needed to restore ... I'm sure some issues arose from that behaviour!

    Then we got tape backup drives. They were expensive, so were the tapes, and as soon we got to needing more than one tape for the "full backup" we had to have someone change the tapes ... and it took one/several hours to fill up each tape. Couldn't afford the sexy automatic tape changing hardware ...

    And then we bought bigger disks, and a shiny new even-bigger tape drive. And we upgraded the server, and O/S ... Luckily we never needed to restore those "Must retain for 7 years" tapes that we had in storage, but I very much doubt that either the original dust-covered drive we had in the corner, or the Windows 1.1 Device Driver 🙂 was going to be compatible with our shiny new server.

    Of course now we just backup to the cloud using VEAM which performs some rabbit-out-of-hat magic to keep the upload DIFF data as small as possible and yet allow us to restore to point-in-time, and also in a disaster to just "mount" all of our virtual machine backups "in the cloud" so we can carry on working, with everyone at home, instead of having to pay a King's Ransom for hot-standby office space and spare servers that we were hoping never to use.

    I presume the Cloud is not using tape for ITS backup 🙂

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