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Cost to Store All US Phonecalls Made in a Year in Cloud Storage so it could be Datamined

Because of recent news reports, I wanted to cross check the cost feasibility of the NSA’s recording all of the US phonecalls and processing them.

These estimates show only $27M in capital cost, and $2M in electricity and take less than 5,000 square feet of space to store and process all US phonecalls made in a year.   The NSA seems to be spending $1.7 billion on a 100k square foot datacenter that can easily handle this and much much more.    Therefore, money and technology would not hold back such a project– it would not be done because someone would not have the opportunity or will.

Another study concluded about 4x my estimates, A Google Doc version of the spreadsheet and a cut and past version:

number of call-minutes per person per month 300 minutes (estimate from my family’s usage)
sides in a phonecall (caller+receiver) 2 since most calls are domestic, only need to record a call once for each reciever/caller pair
number of people in the US 315,000,000
number of bytes/sec in a phonecall 8,000 this is the uncompressed number, could be compressed to 1/2 to 1/4 easily
cost of a Petabyte (PB) of “cloud” storage $100,000 this is basically what the Internet Archive pays. Petabyte = 1,000 terabytes
Square feet of datacenter space per petabyte 16 2 feet wide by about 8 feet including corridor between racks
Power to run a PB 5 kilowatts
Cost per KWhr $0.15 California costs (higher than much of the country, could be 1/2 in other places)
number of bytes/min in a phonecall 480,000 calculated from above
number of bytes/month for a person 144,000,000 calculated from above
number of bytes/month for the US 22,680,000,000,000,000 calculated (divided by 2 because there is a caller and reciever, don’t need to double count)
number of PB/month for the US 23 calculated
number of PB/year for the US 272 calculated
Cost to store all phonecalls made in a year in the “cloud” $27,216,000
Square feet to store all phonecalls 4,355
Cost of datacenter power for all phonecalls for a year $1,788,091
Originally posted on The Internet Archive Blog by brewster.

Written by internetarchive

June 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Posted in News

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