IBM is building the largest hard drive on earth at their Almaden, California research lab. 120 Petabytes. That is equivalent to 120 million gigabytes. In reality, this is a ‘cluster’ of hard drives rather then one single drive. A data repository, you may call it. This is 10 times larger then any repository such as this, ever built.
At the moment, no one has been able to create anything like this. With great engineers, IBM has been able to create a small area with walls lined with horizontal drawers. This is similar to regular data centres except these were designed to hold more drives .
With over 200,000 single hard drives, you might wonder, “what if they break down?”. IBM is prepared for that. Each drive is slowly duplicated to another drive without loosing performance out of either. In case of a drive failure, the original is replaced with the backup.
This drive cluster is using a system called GPFS (General Parallel File System) this is the process of files being stored in multiple areas. This allows the machine to read and write to different parts of the file at any time.
The company, IBM has designed this system for an unknown client who is looking of a way to conduct complex simulations. Bruce Hillsberg, IBM’s director of storage research, says it is only a matter of time before all ‘cloud computing systems’ use a similar technology to what IBM is doing.