Can We Store the Whole World's Data in DNA Storage?


Bingzhe Li, Nae Young Song, Li Ou, and David H.C. Du, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


The total amount of data in the world has been increasing rapidly. However, the increase of data storage capacity is much slower than that of data generation. How to store and archive such a huge amount of data becomes critical and challenging. Synthetic Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) storage is one of the promising candidates with high density and long-term preservation for archival storage systems. The existing works have focused on the achievable feasibility of a small amount of data when using DNA as storage. In this paper, we investigate the scalability and potentials of DNA storage when a huge amount of data, like all available data from the world, is to be stored. First, we investigate the feasible storage capability that can be achieved in a single DNA pool/tube based on current and future technologies. Then, the indexing of DNA storage is explored. Finally, the metadata overhead based on future technology trends is also investigated.

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

@inproceedings {254266,
author = {Bingzhe Li and Nae Young Song and Li Ou and David H.C. Du},
title = {Can We Store the Whole World{\textquoteright}s Data in {DNA} Storage?},
booktitle = {12th USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Storage and File Systems (HotStorage 20)},
year = {2020},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul

Presentation Video