updated 09:45 pm EDT, Tue September 1, 2009
67TB of storage for $7900
Backblaze is in the business of providing online backup service and, by extension, wound up in the hardware business. Upset with the high cost of storage devices, the company designed and built it's own 67TB storage modules for about $7867 (materials alone) each. Now, CEO Gleb Budman says Backblaze is giving away the design, hoping the open approach will lead to improvements or inspire a separate company to build the boxes so Backblaze doesn't have to.
In a blog post, the company spells out how the storage pods are constructed, and how they can be stacked to quickly create large cloud-based storage systems. Budman says the pod was born out of necessity, as the company could not find a commercially available product cheap enough to make the $5 monthly backup service profitable. Budman says he can create 1 Petabyte of storage for about $117,000. Dell, he says would charge about $826,000 for the same size, while Amazon's S3 cloud-based storage would run $2.8 million over a three year period.
Each pod is a fully-contained storage server constructed from off-the shelf parts, including hard drives, 4U enclosures, processors and chipsets, power supplies and other components. The blog post includes an itemized parts list and basic wiring diagrams. Budman says giving away the design is the best way to promote development of low-cost storage solutions, possibly even cheaper than Backblaze can build them.