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ARCHIVING DIGITIZED PHONE conversations is still a relatively rare practice, but regulatory compliance issues may prompt more companies to start, says Nick Shelness, senior analyst at Ferris Research in San Francisco.

But whatever regulatory rules you must follow, don't let fears of high storage costs scare you from archiving phone calls. "The cost of online retention of voice, on a per-user basis, is trivial," says Shelness.

Assuming a high-quality CS-ACELP digital-encoding scheme at 8Kb/sec (1KB/sec), a one-hour conversation would require 3.6MB. If an employee is on the phone one hour per day, 200 days per year, you're still storing less than 1GB of data per employee per year.

"You don't need 15,000 rpm high-end SCSI drives" for this sort of "write-once read-never" application, adds Shelness. "People look at the cost of their high-end SAN storage and assume that's what they need for this. It's not." According to his research, low-cost, SATA-based RAID 5 storage can be purchased for as little as $1.60/GB.

--Alex Barrett

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This was first published in July 2006

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