Playing with numbers

Recently I strolled over the following disk ad from the early 80’s:

disk advertisement from the 80's

disk advertisement from the 80’s

This was the trigger to play with some numbers:

What would it cost to provide 1GB geo-redundant high availability storage (similar to Windows Azure storage) using these ancient disks?

  • Windows Azure stores data 6 times across two geo-redundant locations
  • Which means that storing 1GB of data requires 6GB of storage capacity
  • Taking the disk from the early 80s – storing 6GB of data would have required 600 10MB disks
  • This would have cost $2M+!
  • Let’s say we would have gotten a 50% discount on those drives, we would still have to pay around $1M
  • And that would be just the cost for the disks…

Today, Windows Azure provides geo-redundant storage for $0.095 per GB/month. Which means we can store a 1GB of data over 5 years and it costs less than $6.

This is 166’000 times cheaper than 30 years ago, not even considering that we’re not just getting the disks but a complete storage service.