[SATLUG] 67 TB for less than $8K

Bruce Dubbs bruce.dubbs at gmail.com
Tue Oct 9 18:21:50 CDT 2012

Brad Knowles wrote:
> On Oct 9, 2012, at 2:42 PM, Bruce Dubbs <bruce.dubbs at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> A little dated as 3TB drives are now available.  This is more
>> recent:
>> http://blog.backblaze.com/2011/07/20/petabytes-on-a-budget-v2-0revealing-more-secrets/
> I've been following these guys for years.  Their architecture leaves
> a great deal to be desired.  No redundancy anywhere, and serious
> imbalances in the strings of SATA chains.  This unit is designed to
> be a single larger aggregate storage device in a much larger storage
> pool, and where the only interface into and out of the system is via
> their proprietary filesystem-replacement-over-HTTP.

Well I thought the redundancy was in the multiple systems.  RAID 
provides some redundancy for individual hard drives.  The rest of the 
redundancy would be in software.  I'm not sure what you mean by 
imbalances in SATA chains.  It's not like the drives are daisy chained. 
  There is one level of disk drive multiplexing, but that's all.

Is there any evidence that these guys actually lost customer data?

> Once you start trying to fix all the major problems they introduce
> with their architecture into something that could work okay with a
> single unit of this size, what you end up with ends up looking a lot
> like a Sun Fire X4500 "Thumper", but more expensive -- and probably
> not as well engineered.

Doesn't Google use large arrays of cheap disks also?

Wikipedia says "In November 2010, Oracle designated that the X4540 is 
end-of-life and has no next-generation replacement model."

I've never heard of anything from Sun/Oracle that is inexpensive.

> If you want to build something on commodity hardware to handle large
> amounts of storage, the Internet Archive recently posted some updated
> information about their latest hardware acquisitions, including cost,
> etc....  For a single rack of 31 machines plus a switch, their cost
> was less than $40k, each machine handling 8 drives, which could give
> you up to 744TB raw storage.  See
> <http://archive.org/web/hardware.php> for more information.
> In contrast, Backblaze would spend over $56k per rack although you
> would get a larger amount of storage in a single rack.

The difference is that I can afford to build one of these POD arrays 
myself and add 3T drives as needed.  The entire price for one without 
drives is about $2K and then increasing 3T at a time for $120 for each 

   -- Bruce

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