Petabytes 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) 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.


  1. golf putting says:

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  2. EllisGL says:

    The redundancy can be done easily externally via Distributed file systems like XteemFS ( and Gluster ( Using RAID 6 like they state they do, this give even more error correction and allows to fix issues before they really go down hill. I guess you could do LVM and do RAID 10 on top of the RAID 6 to make it more resilient and maybe a little more speedy on reads, since RAID six will really kill your write speeds.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Backblaze shares third-gen storage server design

    Want to launch your own high-capacity networked storage infrastructure? Backblaze just shared its new 180-terabyte Storage Pod design.

    It was something of a PR stunt when the company shared its first-gen Storage Pod design back in 2009

    Netflix was inspired to share its Open Connect Appliance Hardware design, and Backblaze also showed its Storage Pod 2.0 design, which could accommodate 135TB of data.

    Now the Storage Pod 3.0 design is out, too. Backblaze uses 450 pods to hold more than 50 petabytes of customer data, it said.

    The third-generation pods use 4TB drives — up to 45 of them — which increases the total capacity. Instead of being held in place by a band, they’re now squeezed by an anti-vibration panel that also shaves an hour off storage pod assembly time and makes it easier to replace failed drives.

    The new design also switched to a Supermicro MBD-X9SCL-F motherboard, upgraded to a second-generation, lower-power Intel Core i3-2100 processor, improved airflow to keep components cool. The total cost for the pod — without drives — dropped to $1,942.59, $37.41 less than the second-gen Storage Pod.

    Indeed, the cost per gigabyte is somewhat higher for new 4TB drives than for the earlier 3TB models it’s been using. But lower costs for power consumption, rack space, and installation mean the 4TB drives work out to be the same cost.

  4. dressesforbest says:

    The structure for the weblog is a bit off in Epiphany. Nevertheless I like your blog. I may have to use a normal web browser just to enjoy it.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    For smaller storage needs:

    Hacked together NAS in a box

  6. CrashPlan backup software and service « Tomi Engdahl’s ePanorama blog says:

    [...] that give space enough to backup all your data from PC for few dollars/euros per month (for example Backblaze and [...]

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Server, server in the rack, when’s my disk drive going to crack?
    Backblaze’s 25,000-drive study scries the future of your storage

    Cloud backup outfit Backblaze has cobbled together all the data it’s gathered from the 25,000 or so disk drives it keeps spinning and drawn some conclusions about just how long you can expect disks to survive in an array.

    The study’s not the best of guides to data centre performance, because Backblaze happily makes do with consumer-grade drives. As even those drives routinely offer mean time between failure (MTBF) in the hundreds of thousands of hours – decades of operation – or the storage industry’s preferred longevity metric of annualised failure rates (AFR) of under one per cent per year, the study tests those claims as well as any other

    Backblaze’s study finds that both AFR and MTBF are bunk. The document finds that disks follow the predicted “bathtub” curve of failure: lots of early failures due to manufacturing errors, a slow decline in failure rates to a shallow bottom and then a steep increase in failure rates as drives age.

    The study then looked at when drives fail and found a drive that survives the 5.1 per cent AFR of its first 18 months under load will then only fail 1.4 per cent of the time in the next year and half. After that, things get nasty: in year three a surviving disk has an 11.8 per cent AFR. That still leaves over 80 per cent of drives alive and whirring after four years, a decent outcome.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Backblaze’s 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

    Backblaze is transitioning from using 4 TB hard drives to 6 TB hard drives in the Storage Pods they will be deploying over the coming months.

    Our 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off


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