I posted few years ago How to build cheap cloud storage. That article talks about how Backblaze decided to build their own custom Backblaze (67 terabyte) Storage Pods. Their Petabytes on a budget: How to build cheap cloud storage gives quite good view on the special design they used. At the time I was really fascinated by the fact that this company was putting their “secret sauce” out into the public.
Petabytes on a Budget v2.0: Revealing More Secrets is a newer article shows how to build the Backblaze Storage Pod 2.0: a 135-terabyte, 4U server for $7,384. It’s double the storage and twice the performance—at lower cost than the original. This new Backblaze Storage Pod is also a self-contained unit that puts storage online. It’s made up of a custom metal case with commodity hardware inside. The cost of the hard drives dominates the price of the overall pod and that the system is made entirely of commodity parts. If you figure that storage resellers, such as NetApp and EMC, tack on a three-year support fee, a petabyte of Backblaze storage costs less than their support contract alone.
One important note: Because all of the parts (including drives) in the Backblaze storage pod come with a three-year warranty, we rarely pay for a replacement part. The drive manufacturers take back failed drives with “no questions asked” and send free replacements.
Remember that the Backblaze storage pod is just one building block in making a cloud storage service. If all you need is cheap storage, this may suffice. If you need to build a reliable, redundant, monitored storage system, you’ve got more work ahead of you.
Developers of Netflix Open Connect Appliance team seem to have been impressed by Petabytes on a Budget design. Their Open Connect Appliance hardware page even has link to Petabytes on a Budget v2.0 article. Check also their software page to get idea of open source software they use.