updated 10:00 am EST, Wed February 20, 2013
New model increases drive capacity, updates unit specs
Online backup provider Backblaze is publicizing its open-source rack storage solution, dubbed the Storage Pod in 2009. The specification of the rack solution has now been upgraded to version 3.0, which "stores more data, costs less, is more reliable, and is easier to service." Among the improvements made are a redesigned chassis, and upgraded components.
In a new blog post, the company spells out how the storage pods are constructed, and how they can be rack mounted to quickly create large cloud-based storage systems. CEO Gleb Budman says the pod was born out of necessity, as the backup company could not find a commercially available product cheap enough to make the low-cost backup service profitable.
Each pod is a fully-contained storage server constructed from off-the shelf parts, including SATA hard drives, 4U enclosures, Intel i5 processors and chipsets, power supplies and other components. Using 4TB drives, each rack can hold 180TB of storage. The blog post includes an itemized parts list and basic wiring diagrams, as well as a custom case vendor suggestion, along with an analysis of how the Thailand flooding continues to affect the hard drive market.
While the company does not make the storage pods available for purchase, it cites a $7,568 cost to construct a 135TB unit, and a $10,718 bill of materials for a 180TB unit, roughly 16 percent of the price of an equivalent Dell storage device, and five percent the cost of an Amazon S3 solution.
The company itself has over 450 storage pods deployed, managing nearly 50 petabytes of user data. Organizations using the design in part or in whole include The Geographic Information Network of Alaska, Vanderbilt University Institute of Image Science, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Netflix, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NASA JPL, Heritage Auctions, and the University of New Mexico.