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The Growth of Storage

January 18, 2013
Will we see this in a laptop in our lifetime?

Will we see this in a laptop in our lifetime?

Over the holidays I had a chat with my son about computers. His laptop died, and he wanted a new one. It isn’t needed for school and my wife and told him he’d need to earn the money for half of a machine and could take the rest from his savings. I’m happy to say that he has been working hard to earn money, out in the 10-20F temps caring for horses, and is getting close to making his first computer purchase.

In setting his target amount of money to earn, we talked about specifications for various machines, looking online and in local stores. We talked about the various CPU, RAM, and storage values, and what they might mean to him in terms of the performance of a laptop. While we were talking, he asked me some interesting questions about the growth of storage. I thought they were interesting, and decided to ask you this week what you think.

When will we get 1TB of RAM in a mainstream laptop, and when will we get 100TB of storage?

Those are large numbers, though I know some DBAs who have one, or even two, terabytes of RAM in large servers. My first thought was that we were a long time from getting those values in consumer machines, but as I look at my phone with 64GB of storage in flash, and this recent announcement of a 2TB SSD, perhaps they aren’t as far away as I might have thought.

My first professional computer had 4MB of RAM and 200MB-ish hard drive in the early 90s. Today I have a desktop with 24GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. Extrapolating that and I’d expect that I’d have over 1TB of RAM and 20PB of disk in 20 more years.

What do you think? When will we have laptop machines with the specifications of the largest SQL Server instances today?

Steve Jones


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One Comment
  1. I read once a number of years ago that space (both RAM and Storage) was increasing at a geometric rate, except that every 5-10 years it would make a huge jump say x10 or more as a new technology came out. For example the switch from CDs to DVDs. Based on that I would expect to see that 1TB of RAM and 20PB of disk space coming quite a bit faster than 20 years. Of course I remember being excited by my 8kb of RAM on my Atari 800.

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