Visualizing Facebook’s Media Storage: How Big Is 100 Petabytes?

Just a little tidbit from everyone’s favorite reading material this week, the Facebook IPO filing: the company noted that it now stores over 100 petabytes of media (photos and videos) uploaded by its 845 million users. In case “100 petabytes” didn’t blow you over, the filing further explains that’s equal to “100 quadrillion bytes.”

OK, now you’re just showing off, Facebook.

The number was thrown out there in the section where Facebook details its data management and personalization technologies. It’s the technical part of the S-1 which focused on the company’s in-house technology like Haystack, which allows Facebook to efficiently serve and store data, Apache Hive, a data warehouse infrastructure built on top of Hadoop, and HipHop, a tool that transforms PHP source code into highly optimized C++ code.

But 100 petabytes is such a larger number, that’s it’s hard to really wrap your mind around it. However, with a little brainstorming, and the clever infographic created by TechCrunch’s Bryce Durbin, we came up with a way to visualize the size of Facebook’s media store. Using common 320 GB hard drives stacked on top of each other, Facebook’s collection of users’ photos and videos would taller than the world’s largest buildings, many times over.

Mind, blown.