Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe
marypcb

Pimping petabytes

I'm usually a little cynical about online storage, because the limitations of bandwidth and the high price of a truly unlimited amount of storage make many of the options either trivial or more expensive than buying a NAS or a Windows Home Server. Just because something is 'in the cloud' doesn't mean it's secure or well-designed, Magnolia. So when Backblaze said 'unlimited storage for $5 a month' I said 'Yeah, right'. It's not the solution I want myself; no files over 4GB is fair enough but it's another $5 per computer and it doesn't do Windows Server, just client machines. I don't keep files on my laptop; they live on the server but I can't back those up with Backblaze, so it's really not 'unlimited' at all. According to the Web site: "Network (NAS) drives, remotely mounted computers or volumes, or shared volumes do not get backed up. The reason for this is not technical, but a business decision. Backing up mounted or network drives can easily be abused. A user could mount the 10 or 20 computers in their home or small business and back them all up to one account for $5/month." They could; and if you were really offering unlimited storage, you'd let them. In fact Backblaze is actually more expensive than the $55 a year Carbonite service I use. So why am I blogging about them at all? Because in their quest for cheap massive storage, they did the same sums everyone else does, saw the same inflated prices everyone sees and came up with the idea of building their own petabyte arrays in custom boxes.

http://blog.backblaze.com/2009/09/01/petabytes-on-a-budget-how-to-build-cheap-cloud-storage/
The blog post actually leaves out a lot of the important stuff: management, load balancing and reliability statistics - which are some of the reason for the higher prices storage vendors charge. But it's interesting to see the attitude to massive storage - it's absolutely the future.
Tags: storage, technology
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