I’ve been thinking about storage capacity lately. I had a couple of IO errors on my aging Synology NAS drive that caused a minor panic at the thought of losing all of my redundancy and archived media. At 6TB of RAID5 backing up all our photos, ripped DVDs and iTunes libraries, it’s a daunting prospect to imagine replacing it all.

For the curious, I upgraded to a Synology DS416 and 4x4TB Seagate NAS drives, rated for 3 years of warranty. After RAIDing, that’s 10-12TB of effective storage which can theoretically survive a drive failure, if not an all-out zombie apocalypse. This should serve as personal cloud storage for the next 6-10 years.

It’s been nearly 10 years since I last looked at how much storage I’m carrying when going nomad – something I’m going to have to deal with very soon. Back in 2007, I was toting around 338GB of capacity. That’s almost 4 times what Johnny Mnemonic was working with in the 1995 movie based on the William Gibson short story. That much seems decidedly lotek these days and that movie was set in a fictional 2021. (still no monomolecular filament whips either)

Let’s add it up!

  • 2012 Macbook Pro (I’m writing this on it!): 512GB (SSD)
  • 1TB Thunderbolt/USB3 drive, camera+video backup
  • 160GB iPod classic
  • 16GB Nexus 5
  • 64GB iPad Air
  • 64GB SD Card for my OM-D E-M1
  • 2x32GB SD Card backup
  • 64GB flash drive

The total: 1968GB.

2TB. Two. That’s not including any of the RAM in each of these devices, which probably adds up to another 20-30GB.  Nor does it include the many terabytes of cloud storage I have access to in varying drip-sized portions.

Also notable is how much of that is in purely solid state memory. Half of it – the slow half – is a spinning platter. There’s a tiny spinning harddrive in the iPod classic too. The rest, nearly 1TB of it is in solid state flash memory.

That’s roughly the amount of storage you’d need for a complete academic research library. It fits in my backpack. It’s amazing how fast you can fill it up with GoPro and HD video footage and stills from my camera, and I’m not even trying to deal with 4K. If VR takes off in any meaningful way, the storage requirements are going to be monstrous.