CyberKnowledge Technology Blog

Everything tech – reviews, tips, software, news

All tech all the time

Welcome to CyberKnowledge technology blog.

GMail – How Do They Have So Much Space?

Posted by Alex Bailey On July - 24 - 2006

I was looking at my gmail account yesterday, and noticed they were up to around 2.7 gigs of email space. So that got me thinking, how many users does gmail have? Well after doing some research, I found some estimates that gmail had around ~50 million users. So let’s do the math. claims to offer 2747 MBs of space. GMail has an estimated ~50 million users. 50,000,000 * 2747 =

  • 1152175308800000000 bits
  • 144021913600000000 bytes
  • 140646400000000 kilobytes
  • 137350000000 megabytes
  • 134130859.37500 gigabytes
  • 130987.167358 terabytes
  • 127.9171556 petabytes

I know this is Google we’re talking about, but come on is this posible? I was reading their website, in order to find out how many users they had, when I found this:

You may organize or delete your messages through your Gmail account or terminate your account through the Google Account section of Gmail settings. Such deletions or terminations will take immediate effect in your account view. Residual copies of deleted messages and accounts may take up to 60 days to be deleted from our active servers and may remain in our offline backup systems.

So now not only do we have 127.91 petabytes of hard drive space for gmail users, but offline backup server(s). Does this mean all of 127.91 petabytes of data is also backed up at least once offline somewhere? If everyone started using products such as GMail Drive, would Google be able to handle it? Speaking of Gmail drive, it is actually quite an impressive idea. It allows you to create a virtual partition in My Computer, to drag and drop files to. It then sends you an email with the attachment to your inbox. Like they say on their website you can create a filter to automatically archive these emails. Only thing I’d be worrying about with this software is saving my password. Not sure if it’s encrypted or not, their site doesn’t say and I couldn’t find my password anywhere. Remember, over 2747.349825 megabytes (and counting) of free storage so you’ll never need to delete another message. I’m holding them to that.

15 Responses to “GMail – How Do They Have So Much Space?”

  1. Michael says:

    They seem to be going good so far, and man its google. I’m sure they have 120+ petabytes of space and If not its obviously false advertisement. I currently use 150+ mb of my email space.
    Maybe they dont have that much space, they are just assuming that everyone wont use the full 2gig+ right?
    Now I’m confused.. good thinking must I add :|

  2. Joe says:

    why is my name in capitals. sigh anyway.

    All i have to say is, thats a lot of space 127.9171556 petabytes i would be lucky to use up 0.1 in my life time.

  3. tiandrive says:

    A list of some Gmail applications:


    Currently most of the applications are those using Gmail as online file storage space. Hope that the list is useful.

  4. Rub3X says:

    Heh cool nice list, glad to see some linux and mac apps out there. Too bad this article doesn’t look like it’s anywhere near making it to the digg homepage :(

  5. bAWKED says:

    Always interesting to know these things.. i got a gmail hack book, so i might start using it a bit more.
    I wont complain as long as they dont run out of space ^_^

  6. Prashant Singh Pawar says:

    Few things:
    Text Compression
    Forwarded mails, Replied Mails
    Common Attachments

    If you see all these things you will find that they actually require a lot less space then these, moreover GMail drive is illegal according to Google.

  7. Prashant Singh Pawar says:

    By the way, I used to run a web service for file sharing using your own google account. Had to shut down because all the WEbhosts were scared of google, so as soon as they came to know they kick us out.

    Basically it was a violation of google’s policies.

  8. sushirama says:

    127p is realtive childsplay now, when I was a storage engineer at HP before my job was shipped off to India we had built 2 of the largest SANs in the world at the time. (My office alone had a small 12TB system in it) The big one was well into the peda range and had 1500 servers attached and mapped It was used for protien modeling. We had done proof of concept for up to 8 exabytes on one 32 server cluster as one mounted volume (I think the National Reserve System was close but not on one volume). At the time only netware was capable of mounting a single volume that large and it was the only OS that would support more than 4 servers in a stable cluster. We were also working on a video archive system for Disney/ABC that would hold EVERY piece of film/video/audio tape done over some 75 years of disney – abc and whoever else they own. That was to be a prototype/proposal for a much larger National Archives System that would image everything under their domain like the Library of Congress. One of the largest issues with doing these systems is dealing with functional obsolesence not just over the typical 3 to 6 year life span of the hardware, but implementing a system that has to be maintained and updated for 75 to 100 years of technological advancement. Also at the time there was nothing on the market (and still isnt) anything that can back all that data up to tape or any other media efficiently other than a redundant array at another site. That was almost 5 years ago wonder what theyre up to now?

  9. Roshan says:

    man…. do you really think they dont have such amount of hard drives??? man … . they have clusters……. man…. otherwise how on the earth they have such amount of search data and stuff?? and i dont think they are out of money to do such a great thing… but actually, virtually no one is using entire amount of email. so, no worries.. they wont run outta space…

  10. Rub3X says:

    In my opinion GMail drive is against their TOS because they know if people started using it, their space would run out quite fast.

  11. mehdi says:


  12. Jesse says:

    I could definitely see this happening, yes.. When you have Bases for Google like the one they hav in california, you could imagine that there’s a -lot- of server room space. I would love to see google’s server rooms *drool*

  13. Mauricio says:

    Many people doesn’t use all the GMail storage. Google must have much of the 127.91 petabytes free on their hard drives, so, the backup don’t have all that size.

  14. Thrawn says:

    they do not actually have that much space

    Say I offered 100 mb to every user that asked me. I have a 250 gb HDD, so I can allow each user 100 mb, but I need to upgrade as the demands rise, not an initial buy

    get where I’m coming from?

    as long as they have extra, and cash to buy more, they can offer any amount to a user

    *just my take on it*

Leave a Reply