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NSA center may hold less data than expected, blueprints show

By Andrew Adams | Posted - Jul. 25, 2013 at 9:42 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — The new National Security Administration data center set to open this year in Bluffdale apparently won't hold as much data as previously thought, according to Forbes.

The magazine obtained blueprints of the facility and showed them to a leading expert on data storage, Brewster Kahle, who is the engineering mind behind the Internet Archive.

Kahle estimated that the facility will have only about 100,000 square feet of server space, which could hold 10,000 racks of servers. Each rack could store 1.2 petabytes of data. Kahle said voice recordings of all the phone calls made in the U.S. in a year would fill just over 200 of those racks.

He said based on current technology, there's really only room for about 12 exabytes of data. There are 1,000 exabytes in one zettabyte. Some previous estimates projected the Bluffdale data center would house 5 zettabytes of data.

By comparison, experts previously believed the center might be able to house 24-hour video and audio of every American for a year. Kahle said it's more likely the facility could house 24-hour video and audio for everyone living in Los Angeles.

Forbes points out that's still a lot of data but not of the scale previously reported.

The facility is set to open by September.

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