Casey Brant

Aug 08, 2009

The Math

Recently, several Systems employees at my company have received stern emails berating them for their abuse of the H: drive (our personal network storage space). Thinly veiled and unverified accusations of CoC breach aside, the message is simple: you’re using too much space.

OK, fair enough – you set a quota, I went over it. It’s as easy to fix as me deleting all the things I was backing up in case of hard drive failure. Problem solved. So what is the quota? According to the emails, 300MB. That doesn’t sound like a lot to me, but the email did say that SAN space is “at a premium.”

“At a premium?” I thought I read somewhere that the cost of storage had been falling for a while now. Hey, I know! We’re geeks; let’s do some math.

You can’t buy a 300MB hard drive in 2009, but a quick search of got me a 320GB SeaGate external drive for about $80.

It costs $9 for a 6-pack of Scott toilet paper. The average American office worker uses a roll every two weeks. If we assume a 50-week year, that’s 25 rolls per employee per year. Adjusting for the fact that we’re buying in bulk (and it ain’t the nice stuff), that works out to something like $18 per employee per year for toilet paper.

Back to the hard drive. 320GB is a heck of a lot; we could split that up amongst, oh, let’s say 32 people. And just so we’re comparing apples to apples, let’s say a SeaGate drive will wear down and need replacing after one year of use. So, 10GB each at a cost of $2.50 per employee per year.

So for about 1/7 the cost of toilet paper, we could afford to increase every single employee’s H: drive by a factor of 30.

Or can we at least start buying nicer TP?

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