|SI decimal prefixes||Binary
|IEC binary prefixes|
|kilobyte (kB)||103||210||kibibyte (KiB)||210|
|megabyte (MB)||106||220||mebibyte (MiB)||220|
|gigabyte (GB)||109||230||gibibyte (GiB)||230|
|terabyte (TB)||1012||240||tebibyte (TiB)||240|
|petabyte (PB)||1015||250||pebibyte (PiB)||250|
|exabyte (EB)||1018||260||exbibyte (EiB)||260|
|zettabyte (ZB)||1021||270||zebibyte (ZiB)||270|
|yottabyte (YB)||1024||280||yobibyte (YiB)||280|
|See also: Multiples of bits · Orders of magnitude of data|
The petabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix peta indicates the fifth power of 1000 and means 1015 in the International System of Units (SI), and therefore 1 petabyte is one quadrillion (short scale) bytes, or 1 billiard (long scale) bytes. The unit symbol for the petabyte is PB.
1 PB = 1000000000000000B = 1015bytes = 1000terabytes.
Examples of the use of the petabyte to describe data sizes in different fields are:
- The world's effective capacity to exchange information through two-way telecommunication networks was 281 petabytes of (optimally compressed) information in 1986, 471 petabytes in 1993, 2,200 petabytes in 2000, and 65,000 (optimally compressed) petabytes in 2007 (this is the informational equivalent to every person exchanging 6 newspapers per day).
- Computer hardware: Teradata Database 12 has a capacity of 50 petabytes of compressed data.
- Internet: Google processed about 24 petabytes of data per day in 2009. The BBC's iPlayer is reported to use 7 petabytes of bandwidth each month. Imgur transfers about 4 petabytes of data per month. Yahoo stores 2 petabytes of data on behavior. Netflix uses 1 petabyte to store the videos for streaming.
- Telecoms: AT&T transfers about 30 petabytes of data through its networks each day.
- Physics: The experiments in the Large Hadron Collider produce about 15 petabytes of data per year, which are distributed over the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid.
- Neurology: It is estimated that the human brain's ability to store memories is equivalent to about 2.5 petabytes of binary data.
- Climate science: The German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ) has a storage capacity of 60 petabytes of climate data.
- Archives: The Internet Archive contains about 10 petabytes in cultural material as of October 2012, having grown more than 190 terabytes per month since reaching 5.8 petabytes in December 2010. It was growing at the rate of about 100 terabytes per month in March 2009.
- Games: World of Warcraft uses 1.3 petabytes of storage to maintain its game. Steam, a digital gaming service developed by Valve, delivers over 30 petabytes of content monthly.
- Film: The 2009 movie Avatar is reported to have taken over 1 petabyte of local storage at Weta Digital for the rendering of the 3D CGI effects.
- In August 2011, IBM was reported to have built the largest storage array ever, with a capacity of 120 petabytes.
- In January 2012, Cray began construction of the Blue Waters Supercomputer, which will have a capacity of 500 petabytes making it the largest storage array ever if realized
- In July 2012 it was revealed that CERN amassed about 200 petabytes of data from the more than 800 trillion collisions looking for the Higgs boson.
- At its 2012 closure of file storage services, Megaupload held ~28 petabyte of user uploaded data 
- In August 2012, Facebook's Hadoop clusters include the largest single HDFS cluster known, with more than 100 PB physical disk space in a single HDFS filesystem.
- In May 2013, Microsoft announce that as part of their migration of Hotmail accounts to the new Outlook.com email system, they'd migrated over 150 Petabytes of user data in six weeks. 
- "The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information", Martin Hilbert and Priscila López (2011), Science (journal), 332(6025), 60-65; see also "free access to the study" and "video animation".
- "Teradata Database 13.0 - Database Management - SQL Database". Teradata.com. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- Paul Rubens (20 September 2004). "Thanks for memory (but I need more)". BBC News. "Of course there's no such thing as a petabyte iPod, but the good news is that we may not have too long to wait for one. Hitachi Data Systems already sells a product called the TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform which can manage up to 32 petabytes of storage for the very largest corporations, so you'd have to conclude that a pocket-sized consumer version isn't out of the question in a decade or so."
- "MapReduce". Portal.acm.org. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- "Article". CNET UK. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
- "I created Imgur. AMA.". Alan Schaaf. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- Lai, Eric. "Size matters: Yahoo claims 2-petabyte database is world's biggest, busiest". Computerworld. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "AT&T- News Room". Att.com. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- "3 October 2008 - CERN: Let the number-crunching begin: the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid celebrates first data". Interactions.org. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- Reber, Paul (2013-04-02). "What Is the Memory Capacity of the Human Brain?". Scientific American. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
- Treehugger, 11 Dec 2009: Meet the world's most powerful weather supercomputer
- "10,000,000,000,000,000 bytes archived!". Collections Team blog. Internet Archive. October 26, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-27. "On Thursday, 25 October, hundreds of Internet Archive supporters, volunteers, and staff celebrated addition of the 10,000,000,000,000,000th byte to the Archive’s massive collections."
- "Internet Archive: Petabox". Archive.org. Retrieved 2011-07-16.
- "Internet Archive Frequently Asked Questions". Archive.org. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- Mearian, Lucas (March 19, 2009). "Internet Archive to unveil massive Wayback Machine data center". Computerworld.com. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- Radd, David (September 18, 2009). "Blizzard Drops World of Warcraft Stat Bomb". Industrygamers.com. Retrieved 2009-09-18.
- "Steamworks Brochure 2011". SteamPowered.com. Text "Steamworks Brochure 2011" ignored (help)
- Kane, Zee (January 1, 2010). "Believe it or not: Avatar takes 1 petabyte of storage space". Thenextweb.com. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
- Ericson, Jim (December 21, 2009). "Processing AVATAR". Information-management.com. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
- Simonite, Tom (25 August 2011). "IBM Builds Biggest Data Drive Ever". Technology Review. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
- "Blue Waters petaflop supercomputer installation begins".
- "Big Data Software Problem Behind CERN's Higgs Boson Hunt".
- "Być może odzyskasz swoje pliki z Megaupload - Tech - WP.PL". Tech. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
- "Under the Hood: Hadoop Distributed Filesystem reliability with Namenode and Avatarnode". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
- "Outlook.com: 400 million active accounts, Hotmail upgrade complete and more features on the way".}
- Petabyte Infographic by Pedro Pimenta