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Facebook uses Blu-ray arrays for cold storage prototype

Sometimes to see the future, you have to look to the past
Thu Jan 30 2014, 10:32
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SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook has looked to the recent past to find ways of managing its huge data storage requirements.

The social media giant has had to find a way of storing the billions of photos that are on its servers but receive no regular hits. Apparently it decided that the answer is a proprietary array of Blu-ray discs. The system is capable of storing up to one petabyte in a single cabinet, with plans to scale up that capacity to five petabytes.

Gigoam reported the news from this years Open Computer Summit, where Facebook VP of engineering Jay Parikh told a keynote audience that the new system will save the company up to 50 percent in storage costs and 80 percent in energy bills.

Parkih said that within a couple of months the company will be storing 150 petabytes of data this way in facilities capable of housing up to three exabytes. Although Parikh hopes one day to be able to use low cost flash memory, he said that costs mean it would have to be "the worst flash possible".

Facebook will make the Blu-ray storage system available to all under the Open Compute Project, but at the moment it is still deciding what portions of the system design to submit. 


Those who remember refrigerator sized disk subsytems and magnetic tape libraries probably will be nodding and thinking that sometimes the old ways are still the best, they just need a little innovation. µ


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