Apple to use up to 100 Petabytes delivering Mac OS X Lion

Apple’s move to force you to download its latest version of Mac OS X via the internet rather than just by buying a disk is no mean feat. It requires more than just hooking up a few servers and pressing the button to make that “buy now” button appear in the Mac App Store.

But how much data will Apple be possibly having to serve over the next couple of days? We decided to get the calculator out at Pocket-lint towers to find out.

Starting numbers

First things first, our calculator broke as the number was so big. A quick move to Excel and, with the help of Wikipedia, we got going.

Since the introduction of Snow Leopard in August 2009, Apple has, according to its earnings reports, sold just under 25,000,000 Macs.

We've used this number because you need Snow Leopard to upgrade to Lion. Yes, we know that you have been able to upgrade Leopard Macs to Snow Leopard, but we can’t find software update numbers to show how many people have done that, as Apple doesn’t break those figures out.

We also acknowledge that not everyone will upgrade, but it's still fun to see what would happen if they did.

That question aside – it only makes the numbers even bigger anyway – we have to draw the line somewhere and, therefore, have done so with 25m possible upgraders.

Fun facts

25m – that’s the number of Snow Leopard Macs that are eligible to download Mac OS X Lion.

4GB – That’s the size of the Mac OS X Lion download that will be going live when the new operating system is launched on the Mac App Store.

100,000,000GB – That’s the number of Gigabytes in total Apple would have to serve if every one of those Snow Leopard users paid their money and downloaded the new OS.

100,000TB – How many Terabytes that data amounts to.

100PB – Petabytes are next level up from a Terabyte and, incidentally, in the Star Trek Universe this amounts to the maximum storage android Data has in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

.1EB – Here’s a word you don’t here very often – Exabyte. Boil all the numbers down and Apple will be serving a tenth of an Exabyte.

10 per cent – The number of people we are expecting to download the new OS, most likely at the same time.

67 minutes – how long it’s likely to take you if you’ve got a 8Mbit/s broadband connection if Apple’s servers are doing their job and working to optimum performance.

6 days – that’s how long it will take you over a 56K modem to download the new Apple OS.

300 - There are over 300 Apple retail stores worldwide that you'll be able to visit to get more information about Mac OS X Lion.

Will you be downloading the new OS? Let us know in the comments below