Imagine cloud storage that didn’t cost much more than bare drives. High density storage with RAID 6 protection, reasonable bandwidth and web-friendly HTTPS access.
And really, really cheap.
Raw disk cost is only 5-10% of a RAID systems cost. The rest goes for corporate jets, sales commissions, 3 martini lunches, tradeshows, sheetmetal, 2 Intel x86 mobos, obscene profits and a few pale and blinking engineers in a windowless lab who make the whole thing work.
Storage for ascetics
But let’s say you didn’t want the 3 martini lunch or the barely-clad booth babes. All you want is really
cheap economical, reasonably reliable storage.
You aren’t running the global financial system – what’s left of it anyway – and you don’t have a 2500 person call center hammering on a few dozen Oracle databases 7 x 24. No, you’re thinking a quiet cloud storage business for SMB’s, maybe backup and some light file sharing, that will give you a nifty little revenue stream with annual renewals so you can see trouble coming 12 months in advance.
Enough redundancy so when something breaks you can wait until morning to fix it instead of an 0300 pajama run to the data center. Easy connectivity so you aren’t blowing the savings on Cisco switches.
Well, you aren’t the only one. Backblaze, a new online backup provider, designed the Storage Pod for their own use and are sharing it with everyone. They aren’t in the hardware business and I think they figured sharing it would be a nice little attention-getting device.
It worked for me. Here’s the box – which they are using in production.
Here’s an exploded diagram with a simplified BOM:
And then there’s the (free) software. 64-bit Debian Linux, IBM’s open source JFS file system and HTTPS access. Put a stateless webserving front end on it and you’re good to go. Scale out the webserver and add storagepods to grow the system.
The StorageMojo take
This isn’t general purpose or high-performance storage. Nor is it backed by global network of 7 x 24 service professionals. But there are a lot of applications out there that just need a big bit bucket. This is it.
No one is manufacturing this for you either – which is a good thing. If you don’t know what you’re doing you can get in a lot of trouble with a lot of data real fast. Want to be the Bernie Madoff of cloud storage?
But the density is good, the performance is reasonable, the availability is decent and the price is right. This is a DC-3, not a 747. It is all you need for the right application.
Courteous comments welcome, of course. See the plans and get the box model in the paper Backblaze put together.