How can big data reap big benefits with byte-sized data storage? Data centers require a massive amount of energy to support big data. Human interaction with devices is growing at an exponential pace with the help of technological advances over time. Approximately, one billion gigabytes of information require storage each day thanks to the vast number of individuals choosing cloud storage over their personal devices. With businesses and individuals regularly using their electronic devices, the method of saving and receiving data is making it necessary for enterprises with data centers to invest in larger facilities, some as big as a small town. Furthermore, many of these data centers must be placed in specific locations around the world to ensure fast access.

However, with the recent breakthrough in atomic-level data storage, IT has much to gain. Atomic-level storage is a way to store data on an individual level using bits and atoms. Here are four ways enterprise-level businesses stand to benefit from atomic-level data storage, including more space, energy efficiency, reduced costs and fewer limitations.

Fulfills the Ever Growing Data Storage Need

One of the main issues with data centers is that they are still limited by the amount of data they can hold. However, a Netherlands research team from the Delft University of Technology discovered a means to get closer to resolving the issue of exponential data storage. The team successfully figured out a way to store 500 terabits of data on just one square inch by using an atomic-scale method of storing data, making it currently the smallest hard drive.

“I don’t think this particular demonstration will end up in a commercialized data storage unit in the next few years, but it points to a technological possibility that is very real,” Sebastian Loth, Physicist, Max Planck Institute

This breakthrough means that enterprises can be one step closer to achieving atomic-level data storage capabilities for more storage space in comparison to the today’s data storage facilities.

Atomic-level data storage also offers greater stability and scalability because atoms can be rearranged like a sliding puzzle to bond together and close up holes left behind from missing atoms. The atoms can also be rearranged to create markers to indicate if there are atomic defects. That means enterprises will be able to safeguard data from loss, sustain clients’ growing need for more data and have more than enough storage for many years to come.

Conserve Energy for Efficiency

IT businesses that have large data centers can save energy thanks to the power of atomic-level data storage. This new data storage model can store data 500 times more efficiently than current hard drives can. That means that every book ever written will be able to be stored on a hard drive the size of a post stamp. This also means that enterprises can downsize from village-size facilities to small homes and conserve energy much more efficiently.

Reduced Costs

Running data centers is a significant issue that can cost companies millions and even billions of dollars due to vast energy requirements to power housed hard drives. Enterprises spend exuberant amounts on data storage each year to keep up with customer demands. Facebook spent $1.1 billion in 2014 on its operating lease obligations, such as servers, data centers, storage and network gear. By the end of 2015, that number exploded to $1.4 billion. Facebook also uses extensive energy to support its one million square feet of leased data centers. Although average enterprises won’t need space larger than 100,000 square feet due to growing trends in hybrid cloud data storage, data center costs can still take up 8 percent of their IT budgets.

The growing need for data becomes a pain point for large enterprises, such as Google and Facebook, because they must continue to divert company earnings to build and keep up with demands. Otherwise, their services may become much slower and affect users’ ability to save or receive data. However, atomic-level data storage can radically reduce the size of necessary square footage for data centers, which will allow them to use less energy. Replacing a server with the latest technology can save under $500 per server, but atomic-level storage would catapult it into the thousands. This storage option can also help enterprises dramatically cut their property and overhead costs.

Fewer Limitations

Due to the current size of hard drives used by businesses and individuals, servers will need a massive amount of data just to handle the load of information they will regularly receive from them. As of 2016, solid-state drive servers (SSDs) can hold up to 16 terabytes of data and are roughly 5.25 inches in dimension. Each server unit slot houses about 20 or more drives. That means that these servers need 320 terabytes per unit slot in a data center.

However, atomic-level storage solves this enterprise issue. An atom-scale hard drive of that size can store 2,625 terabytes of information in one drive. If 20 hard drives were in that unit slot, that would be 52,500 terabytes and, in an average size data center, there could be over thousands of server hard drive slots. This breakthrough can drastically help enterprises more effectively utilize the space at their data centers due to fewer limitations. With fewer constraints, there is more potential to gain new clients while maintaining existing ones.

Final Thoughts

There are still inherent limitations to this new technology, such as the fact that it must be stored at sub-zero temperatures. However, atomic-level storage offers an array of benefits for enterprise operations, such as reduced costs thanks to higher storage capacity and energy efficiency. While this new form of storage is not available for commercial use, it will be key for CIOs and technology leaders to watch as a shift to atomic-level storage will occur once the technology advances since it is a key high-level solution for the big data storage problem.