The price of keeping digital materials for the long term is of vital interest for libraries and other cultural memory organizations. Dr. David S.H. Rosenthal, LOCKSS Program Chief Scientist has been looking at the storage costs of storing digital content for the long term. We are grateful to the Library of Congress for funding this work.
This turns out to be an extremely complicated research question. The LOCKSS team is fortunate to have Computer Science faculty from the University of California Santa Cruz and SUNY Stony Brook join us in our investigations.
Preliminary findings have been presented at a number of meetings, including CNI where Clifford Lynch wrote, “David Rosenthal of Stanford, who captivated attendees in a plenary session at a 2009 CNI meeting, will discuss a model for comparing the cost of local storage with cloud storage. He has developed a framework into which models including interest rates, technology evolution and other factors can be plugged and then used to explore a wide range of scenarios; this will be of great interest to campus IT units trying to design and price long-term reliable storage services.”
Earlier this month, David presented his findings on Cloud storage costs to PDA2012
Long Term Cloud Storage Costs – Key Points
- The cost of storing bits for the long term depends on current price and how fast it is dropping.
- The current price of cloud storage is much more expensive than doing it yourself with adequate redundancy.
- The price of cloud storage is dropping around an order of magnitude more slowly than raw disk prices.
Although cloud computing can be very cost-effective at coping with spikes in demand, using cloud storage for the long term is only going to be affordable if the pricing model changes dramatically from the history so far.