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Build Your Own 135TB RAID6 Storage Pod For $7,384 239

An anonymous reader writes "Backblaze, the cloud-based backup provider, has revealed how it continues to undercut its competitors: by building its own 135TB Storage Pods which cost just $7,384 in parts. Backblaze has provided almost all of the information that you need to make your own Storage Pod, including 45 3TB hard drives, three PCIe SATA II cards, and nine backplane multipliers, but without Backblaze's proprietary management software you'll probably have to use FreeNAS, or cobble together your own software solution... A couple of years ago they showed how to make their first-generation, 67TB Storage Pods"
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Build Your Own 135TB RAID6 Storage Pod For $7,384

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  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @10:21AM (#36834390)

    The article says it uses RAID 6 - 45 hard drives are in the pod, which are grouped into an arrays of 15 that use RAID 6 (the groups being combined by logical volumes), which gives you an actual data capacity of 39TB per group (3TB * (15 - 2) = 39TB), which then becomes 117TB usable space (39TB * 3 = 117TB). The 135TB figure is what it would be if you used RAID 1, or just used them as normal drives (45 * 3TB = 135TB).

    And these are all "manufacturer's terabytes", which is probably 1,024,000,000,000 bytes per terabyte instead of 1,099,511,627,776 (2^40) bytes per terabyte like it should be. So it's a mere 108 terabytes, assuming you use the standard power-of-two terabyte ("tebibyte', if you prefer that stupid-sounding term).

  • by demonbug ( 309515 ) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @11:47AM (#36835272) Journal

    Or can somebody tell me if the cooling of the HDs is ok if they are stacked like in the picture?

    According to their blog post about it, they see a variation of ~5 degrees within unit (middle drives to outside drives) and about 2 degrees from the lowest unit in a rack to the highest. They also indicate that the drives stay within the spec operating temperature range with only two of the six fans in each chassis running.

    Keep in mind these are 5400 RPM drives, not the 10K+ drives you would expect in an application where performance is critical. These are designed for one thing - lots of storage, cheap. No real worries about access times, IOPS, or a lot of the other performance measures that a more flexible storage solution would need to be concerned with. These are for backup only - nice large chunks of data written and (hopefully) never looked at again.

  • by brianwski ( 2401184 ) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @01:43PM (#36836454) Homepage

    ... if you really care about the data.

    (Disclaimer: I work at Backblaze) - If you really care about data, you *MUST* have end-to-end application level data integrity checks (it isn't just the hard drives that lose data!).

    Let's make this perfectly clear: Backblaze checksums EVERYTHING on an end-to-end basis (mostly we use SHA-1). This is so important I cannot stress this highly enough, each and every file and portion of file we store has our own checksum on the end, and we use this all over the place. For example, we pass over the data every week or so reading it, recalculating the checksums, and if a single bit has been thrown we heal it up either from our own copies of the data or ask the client to re-transmit that file or part of that file.

    At the large amount of data we store, our checksums catch errors at EVERY level - RAM, hard drive, network transmission, everywhere. My guess is that consumers just do not notice when a single bit in one of their JPEG photos has been flipped -> one pixel gets every so slightly more red or something. Only one photo changes out of their collection of thousands. But at our crazy numbers of files stored we see it (and fix it) daily.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.