Do data centers dream of electric sheep?

It’s that time of year again.  Dell World is upon us and this year marks some huge milestones for Dell and for DCS, including our first anniversary as a private company and the second anniversary of DCS shipping our one millionth cloud server.  Marking these major milestones got me thinking about how much we store every day in our brains, and how much capacity we’d need to capture those experiences if we could somehow download them into a server.

Paul Reber, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, answered that question a few years ago for Scientific American and concluded that the brain’s roughly one billion neurons would be capable of storing about 2.5 petabytes of data.  That’s a tremendous amount of information and I find it especially interesting in light of our announcement today of the DCS XA90, an ultra-dense storage server capable of holding 720 terabytes of data in a single 4U chassis.

Imagine being able to download your entire lifetime of memories onto just a few systems in a data center (or even your home) and you start to see the reality of some of those science fiction stories we marvel at in books and on film.

Taking that thought to the next level, a single Dell modular data center (MDC) filled with DCS XA90s would hold a staggering 220 petabytes of data, nearly a quarter of an exabyte.  In a world where we could download our memories into those servers, we could house the experiences of about 90 people; an entire neighborhood of digital lives.

As incomprehensible as that may seem, this level of storage is speeding us toward an exascale future with demand that grows every day as we put more and more of ourselves online worldwide.  That is what drove Dell to develop the DCS XA90 for our customers seeking extreme storage density and flexibility as they build out the cloud infrastructure of the future.

Along with its impressive storage capability, the DCS XA90 packs two independent server nodes featuring Intel Xeon E5-2600v3 processors into each chassis, which makes it ideal for data-intensive analytics as well as archival storage.  And as much as we try to imagine every use for it today, we’re just as sure that our customers will dream up their own applications in the future that seem like science fiction today.

So welcome once again to Dell World, whether you’re joining us online or in person.  We hope you’ll celebrate these milestones along with us and experience a glimpse of that exascale future you’re helping to build.  After all, we all have our part to play in seeing, as Morpheus quipped in The Matrix, just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

About the Author: Tracy Davis