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Facebook Puts 10,000 Blu-ray Discs In Low-Power Storage System 153

itwbennett writes "Facebook said last year that it was exploring Blu-ray for its data-center storage needs, and on Tuesday it showed a prototype system at the Open Compute Project summit meeting in San Jose, California. It designed the system to store data that hardly ever needs to be accessed, or for so-called 'cold storage' (think duplicates of users' photos and videos that it keeps for backup). The Blu-ray system reduces costs by 50% and energy use by 80% compared with its current cold-storage system, which uses hard disk drives, said Jay Parikh, Facebook's vice president of infrastructure engineering." It's a prototype, and they're also evaluating low power flash as another alternative to keeping seldom accessed data on hard drives.
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Facebook Puts 10,000 Blu-ray Discs In Low-Power Storage System

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  • Re:Write once? (Score:4, Informative)

    by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:53AM (#46100231)

    Doesn't Facebook have a right to control over their product? (you) ::ducks:::

  • Re:Out of touch (Score:4, Informative)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @12:00PM (#46100293)

    Ah, nevermind. I saw the $20 per 100 price on Google shopping. But when I cilck on it, they are just DVD-Rs. Blu Ray seems to be $1, which puts them in a similar price/gig with hard drives. Mods, kill my original post please! :)

  • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <> on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @12:06PM (#46100337) Homepage Journal

    NONE of those solutions, including the current one, have been tested for longevity.

    I went a year between my honeymoon and getting pictures off of my 1st gen digital camera, stored in flash memory. About half were corrupt.

  • Re:Write once? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @12:08PM (#46100347)

    Some technologies come full circle. I'm reminded of Kodak's optical storage technologies that stored 3-6 gigs on large (8 inch?) MO platters in a jukebox that had its built in "clean room". The advantage of this technology was the fact that once burned, the data was there forever, which was useful for long term archiving.

    Rewritable MO disks came out in drive arrays after that, arrays that had the ability to flip disks, so it could read/write the both sides (300 megs per side.)

    Optical tech ended up on the sidelines because tape got cheap, especially when DLT started having decent capacities and tapes with WORM capabilities hit the data centers.

    Now, tape drives are very expensive, and require a LOT of I/O on the attached computer, or else they will shoe-shine themselves into oblivion.

    In the past, optical burners had issues, buffer underrun was one of those. Now, with modern ones that just turn off the laser once the buffer empties and resume very close to where it left off once data starts arriving again.

    With tape out of the price range, I have not understood why someone hasn't made a Blu-Ray autochanger. Sony has one, but it is a carousel unit made for playing. However, couple that with a BDXL drive, "flippy" disks that have two sides for twice the writability, and that would provide more than adequate storage on an archival basis for large volumes of data. Two autochangers will allow one to have the ability to move data offsite, and almost every backup program out there has some form of encryption on it.

    I just don't see why this isn't done. Even a 5-10 Blu-Ray autochanger that used five disk caddies (so one could just load the pack, and then not have to touch the media after that) would be immensely useful for critical backups.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @12:13PM (#46100385)

    LTO-6 holds 2.5TB/tape (native, not compressed), so it's more space dense than Blu-ray since a single tape can replace fifty 50GB bluray disks. A 1 petabyte cabinet would only need 400 tapes, and LTO tape libraries of that size are readily available off the shelf - plus the software to manage it is also off the shelf.

    Cost-wise, the tapes and disks are around the same, branded dual-layer blurays seem to cost $1 - $2, and LTO-6 tapes are around $60.

    The only advantage I can see for blu-rays is in random access performance, but for a rarely used cold archive system, you'd think that wouldn't matter.

  • Re:News flash (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheloniousToady ( 3343045 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @02:46PM (#46102353)

    FWIW, I did a little quick research on Amazon and came up with the dollars/GB of various media as shown below:

    Compact Flash: $1.06 / GB
    SSD: $0.68 / GB
    HDD: $0.04 / GB
    Blu-ray: $0.04 / GB
    DVD: $0.08 / GB
    Data tape: $0.02 / GB

    This suggests that flash media would need to come down in cost by more than a factor of 20 to be competitive with HDDs and cheaper media. Also, Compact Flash seemed to be more expensive per GB than SSDs.

    Although flash prices may drop, other media likely will also, so a relative drop by a factor of 20 seems unlikely. Factors other than cost may be a consideration, but if I were running things at Facebook, it would be pretty hard to pay 20x as much per GB just to save space.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright