Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Now That’s Big Data: Apple Orders 12 Petabytes of Storage Gear From EMC

Apple has ordered as much as 12 petabytes worth of data storage from EMC unit Isilon Systems, according to a thinly sourced report on

The order is said to coincide with the forthcoming release of a new product that Isilon is expected to announce next week.

So huge an order for data storage would coincide with the construction of Apple’s huge data center in Maiden, N.C., and that’s expected to be the hub for a new version of iTunes that relies more on storing media in the cloud and less on using its customers local hard drives.

If you have trouble getting your head around the petabyte, the fine folks at another EMC unit, the backup service Mozy (soon to be a unit of VMWare) produced this fascinating graphic. As they tell it, one petabyte is enough to store more than 13.3 years worth of HD video, meaning 12 petabytes would be enough to store nearly 160 years worth.

The scale of the storage infrastructure, if true, would amount to another potentially intriguing clue to the environment Apple is using inside its data center. Previously it had disclosed in job ads on its Web site that its hardware there will include a mix of systems running Mac OS X, IBM’s AIX, Oracle’s Sun/Solaris, and some Red Hat Linux-based machines.