Your mailbox is almost full

August 1, 2010 | By | Add a Comment

Less than 2 months after I joined SAS Institute, I was somewhat surprised to see the following email in my inbox:

Your mailbox is almost full.

Your mailbox is approaching the allocated quota limit or has already reached it! Failure to act now may prevent you from sending, and in some cases, receiving any mail.

Conversely, my free Gmail account which I’d had for around 5 years was telling me:

“You are currently using 1229 MB (16%) of your 7491 MB”

In fact, since I started using email back in the mid-90s, I can’t recall ever having such a small email quota as 195Mb. So this got me to thinking…

195 megabytes = 0.1904296875 gigabytes
= 0.0001859664 terabytes

I think SAS has around 11,000 employees, so:
11,000 X 195 megabytes = 2,145,000 megabytes
= 2,094.7265625 gigabytes
= 2.0456314086 terabytes

So, if we were to see an increase in the allocated mailbox quota per employee to a more typical/common-sense 1Gb, this would give:
11,000 X 1 gigabytes = 11,000 gigabytes
= 10.7421875 terabytes

Now, I recently purchased a Seagate Blackarmor 6TB RAID NAS drive for my home network (cost around USD$730 on eBay). This has 4 hot-swappable 1.5TB Seagate drives, which in a RAID-5 configuration gives me around 6TB of useable storage. So, for purposes of storing SAS employee mailboxes, a 16TB NAS drive configured for RAID5 should give at least 12TB effective available storage. For example, I found the following on Amazon:

QNAP 16-Terabyte (16TB) Turbo NAS TS-809U-RP 8-Bay High Performance RAID 0/1/5/6/JBOD Network Attached Storage Server with iSCSI & Dual Redundant Power for Business – Powered by Western Digital WD20EADS 2TB 32MB Cache 7200RPM SATA/300 Hard Drive

This was listed at USD$4,595, which works out to 42c per employee..
Contrast that to the current scenario:

If we estimate a conservative 30 minutes per week wasted archiving emails @ an average employee cost to SAS of $50 per hour per employee = $275,000 per week lost productivity.
Let’s say we replace the network storage drive every year (call that preventative maintenance..) so:

  • Scenario 1: SAS employees with 1GB email quota – cost to SAS USD$4,595 p.a.
  • Scenario 2: SAS employees with 195Mb email quota – cost to SAS $275,000 X 52 = USD$14.3M

  • As they say, “Do the Math”…


    SAS Institute have subsequently increased the mailbox size limits for employees

    Filed in: General, SAS

    Patrick Spedding

    About the Author (Author Profile)

    Patrick Spedding is Senior Director of BI R&D for Rocket Software, and IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions. He is also a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Eastside Radio in Sydney, Australia. Prior roles include Director of Product Management for IBM Cognos, Director of Field Marketing for Cognos, Founder of Tableau partner See-Change Solutions, and SAS Solution Manager for BI and Strategy Management. Patrick's qualifications include an MBA degree in Marketing (AIU), Diploma in Management (University of Michigan), BSc (Hons) in Mathematics (Loughborough University, UK), Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (FAIM), and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). Find Patrick on Google+

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