Zawodny on Backing Up to S3

By Deane Barker on October 4, 2006

Replacing my home backup server with Amazon’s S3: Zawodny is documenting his switch from local backups to pushing all his data out to Amazon’s S3 service.

He makes the economic case that shutting his computer off when he’s not using it would save him money on electricity and parts. I’m curious, however, when he plans on transferring all his stuff to Amazon, if not overnight.

My home server is a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 that contains 3 250GB SATA disks in a RAID configuration, plus an 80GB boot and OS disk. I decided to measure its power use using my Kill A Watt and found that it consumes roughly 120 watts of power with the CPU idle and disks spinning. That’s about 80 kilowatt hours every four weeks. According to PG&E’s Residential Rates, the average cost of electric power in San Jose is $0.16247 per kilowatt hour.

My home server costs me a minimum of $13 every four weeks just to leave powered on and idling, or $170 per year. That doesn’t count the roughly $700 I sunk into the disks and the other $700 I likely spent on the motherboard, CPU, case, RAM, and so on. Remember, these are absolute minimums, since the CPU does consume more power when it’s actually doing work.

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  1. While I understand the point he’s trying to make – he’s got 10x the disk space he needs and about 20x the CPU. And measuring power usage with the disks spinning is FOR SURE not an absolute minimum.

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