So how much data can the NSA's new datacenter actually store?

+NetApp's Larry Freeman sent me this surprising analysis earlier.
It debunks all the crazy talk about zettabytes of disk. Larry seriously knows his stuff, so this is well worth a read. I'd love to hear your thoughts... 

[TL;DR: It's "only" 2 XB.]

"[The press] has some conflicting information: [some] say the Utah Data Center is the 2nd largest in the world with 1.5 million sq feet. [Other sources] put the data center at 100,000 sq ft. ... The most telling statistic is the 65 Megawatt substation, which will limit the amount of racks that can be powered and cooled.

"Assuming that 40% of the 25,000 sq ft floor space in each of the 4 data halls would be used to house storage, 2,500 storage racks could be housed on a single floor (with accommodations for front and rear service areas).  Each rack could contain about 450 high capacity 4TB HDDs which would mean that 1,125,000 disk drives could be housed on a single data center floor, with 4.5 Exabytes of raw storage capacity. (1 Exabyte = 1 million Terabytes).
"HOWEVER, each storage rack consumes about 5 Kilowatts of power, meaning the storage equipment alone would require 12.5 Megawatts.  On the other hand, servers consume much more power per rack. Up to 35 Kilowatts.  Assuming an equivalent number of server racks (2,500), servers would eat up 87.5 Megawatts, for a total of 100 Megawatts.  Also, cooling this equipment would require another 100 Megawatts of power, making the 65 Megawatt power substation severely underpowered - and so far we’ve only populated a single floor.  Think that the NSA can simply replace all those HDDs with Flash SSDs to save power?  Think again, an 800GB SSD (3 watts) actually consumes more power per GB than a 4TB HDD (7.8 watts).
"So, in my opinion, what we’re looking at here is a fairly typical enterprise data center, albeit with monumental security measures – and a few thousand servers and a couple Exabytes of storage."

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