Thursday, June 20, 2013

More about a Yottabyte

             More about a Yottabyte

             In yesterday’s blog I spoke with amazement, and some incredulity, about the NSA's yottabyte-storage facility. I marvelled out loud what use the NSA could have for 1.6 moles of bytes; or how they could process it, or secure it.

             But I forgot to mention how much they say they paid for it. 2 billion dollars; small change by federal standards, to be sure, but it's the sort of moolah that'll get a 29-year old a 200 grand-per-year salary. I wondered out loud if the whole thing wasn't some kind of spook scam. Perhaps that was uncharitable of me. Let me take their figures seriously, and see where that leads me.

             2 gigabux for a yottabyte; at that rate, 2 bucks will buy you 10^15 bytes; a quadrillion! My machine is a thousand times too slow to use a petabyte drive; so better yet, how about 0.2 cents for a terabyte drive? Or one zinc cent for five terabytes? I'd snap that right up.

             NSA's getting bargains like that? Hey, I want in! It's a crime that
they're keeping this deal to themselves!

             But maybe it's just more spy-lies. The whole thing smells fishy. Maybe they paid a lot more than 2 gigabux, and got a lot less than 1 yottabyte. Since it's secret, how do I know that it's not corrupt?

             PS: all this gave me a workout in remembering the metric prefixes:
kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta, yotta. Here's a mnemonic:
             Kelley Meghan's Gigantic Terrapin Pets Extremely Zesty Yetis.
Then there's milli, micro, nano, pico, femto, atto, zepto, yocto:
             Millicent Might Not Pick Fetching A Zapped Yak.

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