University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers estimate that the world's 27 million business servers processed 9.57 zettabytes of information in 2008. "Most of this information is incredibly transient. It is created, used, and discarded in a few seconds without ever being seen by a person," says UCSD professor Roger Bohn.
The study included estimates of the amount of data processed as input and delivered by servers as output. The researchers used cost and performance benchmarks for online transaction processing, Web services, and virtual machine processing tasks to reach their estimates.
"The exploding growth in stored collections of numbers, images, and other data is well known, but mere data becomes more important when it is actively processed by servers as representing meaningful information delivered for an ever-increasing number of uses," says UCSD researcher James Short.
The study found that entry-level servers processed about 65 percent of the world's data in 2008, while midrange servers processed about 30 percent, and high-end servers processed about 5 percent.
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