How to build cheap cloud storage

Petabytes on a budget: How to build cheap cloud storage tells how to store hundreds of petabytes of customer data in a reliable, scalable way—and keep costs low. Backblaze decided to build their own custom Backblaze Storage Pods: 67 terabyte 4U servers for $7,867. Petabytes on a budget: How to build cheap cloud storage article shows how to make one of these storage pods, and you’re welcome to use this design.


A Backblaze Storage Pod is a self-contained unit that puts storage online. It’s made up of a custom metal case with commodity hardware inside. Specifically, one pod contains one Intel Motherboard with four SATA cards plugged into it. The nine SATA cables run from the cards to nine port multiplier backplanes that each have five hard drives plugged directly into them (45 hard drives in total).

Backblaze decided to build their own server because the price of off-the-shelf storage solutions was 10 times as much (or more) than the raw hard drives. Here’s a comparison chart of the price for one petabyte from various venders:



  1. Conrad Angell says:

    do you guys think they will upgrade this product to a better one ?

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    It is amazing to me how big and how cheap hard drives are getting. These 1 Tb drives could hold so much stuff! I think my first computer had a like an 8 Gb hard drive…lol. It think it also ran only on DOS!

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  18. Tomi says:

    Petabytes on a Budget v2.0: Revealing More Secrets

    It’s been over a year since Backblaze revealed the designs of our first generation (67 terabyte) storage pod. During that time, we’ve remained focused on our mission to provide an unlimited online backup service for $5 per month. To maintain profitability, we continue to avoid overpriced commercial solutions, and we now 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.

  19. Tomi says:

    Developers of Netflix Open Connect Appliance seem to have been impressed by Petabytes on a Budget design

  20. Petabytes on budget 2.0 « Tomi Engdahl’s ePanorama blog says:

    [...] on budget 2.0 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) [...]

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  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hard Drive Temperature – Does It Matter?
    Brian Beach May 12, 2014

    How much does operating temperature affect the failure rates of disk drives? Not much.

    The unlimited online backup service provided by Backblaze requires a lot of storage. In fact, we recently passed the 100-petabyte mark in our data center. This means we use disk drives. A lot of disk drives.

    The Backblaze Storage Pod is designed to provide good airflow over the disk drives, so they don’t get too hot. Still, different locations inside a pod, and different locations within a data center will have different temperatures, and we wondered whether that was a problem for the drives.

    What Other People Say

    Google and Microsoft have both done studies on disk drive temperature in their data centers. Google found that temperature was not a good predictor of failure, while Microsoft and the University of Virginia found that there was a significant correlation.

    Disk drive manufacturers tell Backblaze that in general, it’s a good idea to keep disks cooler so they will last longer.
    All Drives: No Correlation

    After looking at data on over 34,000 drives, I found that overall there is no correlation between temperature and failure rate.

    Overall, there is not a correlation between operating temperature and failure rates. The one exception is the Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB drives, which fail slightly more when they run warmer.

    As long as you run drives well within their allowed range of operating temperatures, keeping them cooler doesn’t matter.

  26. tomi says:

    There is RSS feed (subscribe button on right) and you can follow the posts on Twitter (user name epanoramanet).


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