Youtube bandwidth: terabytes per day04 May 2006
Youtube seems to be losing some of its early adopters: Coolz0r quits the service, while Nathan even embarks on a grassroots activism mission to ruin the company (by getting its most popular uploaders banned – I have mixed feelings about that one). The issue is: to protect themselves from lawsuits, Youtube is taking the approach of deleting videos and even users upon first suspicion of (copyright) problems. They already received an ultimatum from NBC in Feb, then a proof to Jason Calacanis that it was ‘not a real business‘.
What I found interesting in the whole controversy are the astounding numbers that popped up: # videos shown per day, bandwidth usage, bandwidth costs. Get ready for some big numbers:
Meanwhile the site’s bandwidth costs, which increase every time a visitor clicks on a video, may be approaching $1 million a month–much of which goes to provider Limelight Networks.
Industry observers estimate that YouTube, which is streaming 40 million videos and 200 terabytes of data per day, may be paying between a tenth of a cent and half a cent per minute. Neither YouTube nor Limelight would comment on their pricing.
forbes.com via Standaard Blog
“Terabyte per day”
I remember the days when a “TB/day” unit of bandwidth sounded like science fiction. Estimations of Youtube’s bandwidth go from 25TB/day to the 200TB/day above. Let’s get a feel for that number. 200 terabytes a day adds up to 6 petabyte per month, or 72 petabyte per year. That’s a lot of Libraries of Congress. It’s equivalent to a sustained 9.26 Gbps stream, more than any single Serial-ATA or Fibre Channel can deliver.
If you would build your own distributed network of ‘standard’ unmetered 100Mbps caching servers, optimistically delivering 20TB/month at $2000/month, you would need at least 300 servers – or $600K per month. With Streamload, it’s way more expensive: $4400/15TB or $1,76mio per month for Youtube’s 6PB/month. Although I think Youtube would get a better price since they would need 400 Streamload servers.
Videos per day
In Feb 2006 it was only 15 million movies per day, but now the number stands at 40 million. At 2-3 minutes average per video, that’s 100 million minutes per day, or a cumulated 19 years of waisted time per day. There’s probably a GDP loss to be calculated for that too, but that would sound so negative. Amusement has its value.
Limelight Networks, YouTube’s content delivery network provider (i.e. the movies come from their servers) reports a monthly income of $4 mio. This means that almost 25% of their income comes from 1 customer. So if Youtube runs through its last $8 mio of funding (around September 2006, say), it will make for a painful quarterly report for Limelight.
In the mean time, Youtube is trying to create a better connection with original content creators: the free Youtube Director account.
And the best benefit of all? The YouTube Director program is completely, 100% FREE. The only thing we ask? That you be a legitimate, original content creator.