SQL Server 2008 1.1 Petabyte database

When we think of big databases, we probably think in the 20GB+ range – that’s just our experience. So getting to 100GB would be pretty serious.

Move that up to more than a TB in a database and you’re working with a seriously large database.

OK, so some database administrators reading this would be laughing, since they’ve likely worked with databases in this range a number of times.

But then when we hear about petabyte databases we just lose perspective. How do you put that in context? It’s bloody big right?

As announced this week, SQL Server 2008 is now preparing to crunch petabyte databases:

Perhaps the most impressive application of SQL Server so far – and one of the most dramatic – is the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, or Pan-STARRS for short, a wide-field celestial imaging facility being built at the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy. Its architects plan to photograph the entire available sky several times each month, trying to discover asteroids and comets that could pose a danger to Earth. The huge volume of images produced by this system will no doubt also prove valuable for many other scientific programs.

When Pan-STARRS is fully operational, it will have four telescopes, each with a digital camera capable of 1.4-gigapixel resolution. With just one telescope in operation so far, the facility already generates 1.4 terabytes of image data per night. For the longer term, its architects are installing 1.1 petabytes (quadrillion bytes) of disk storage. Although Pan-STARRS won’t use up all of that storage right away, it will still rank as one of the world’s largest databases.

Compressing, storing and crunching that data is the job of SQL Server.

Source: Microsoft PressPass

That’s seriously huge. It compares with Yahoo’s 2 petabyte database and the likes of eBay, Amazon and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center. The Top 10 largest databases are listed here.

3 thoughts on “SQL Server 2008 1.1 Petabyte database

  1. dacree

    Surely you don’t think this SQL database will be in the petabyte range. The image data may very well reach a petabyte or more, but the SQL database itself should be quite small.
    SQL tables will not be storing images but rather image related data.

  2. brad

    It’s very possible that image data could be directly stored in the SQL database — would make sense, architecturally. I’ve seen it done before.

  3. Andrew Fryer

    Guys,
    Filestream in SQL Swerver 2008 means that these files could be part of the database (for backup and transactions) but remain as physicakl files (for streaming for example).

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