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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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  • Write once? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WPIDalamar ( 122110 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:51AM (#46100219) Homepage

    Anyone know if these burners are write-once drives?

    If so, it pretty much guarantees that Facebook keeps a copy of your stuff forever, even if you "delete" it.

  • Tape? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:54AM (#46100247)
    I guess tape just isn't sexy anymore.

    For cold storage it is still pretty hard to beat, but I have noticed a lot of tech companies have blinders regarding 'stodgy' technology.
  • Tape? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bored ( 40072 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @12:09PM (#46100355)

    Sounds like what they really want is tape..

    Besides the difficulty of dealing with 174 bluray disks instead of 1 tape... You have to wonder about the reliability of those disks sitting around on a shelf for ten years..

    Oh, and you can write said tapes at 500+ MByte/sec.

    Plus, tape is well understood, and there are tons of media management applications that track whats on the tape, when it expires, where its located, what encryption keys are used to decrypt it.. Basically 40 years of data management infrastructure.

  • Re:No tape? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @12:21PM (#46100455)

    For a drive + 50 BD-R disks per TB, I'm looking at a C-note for the drive and $25 for each terabyte after that.

    For a modern tape drive, I'm looking at $3500 for the drive and $65 per 2.5 TB, native capacity.

    This also doesn't include hardware and software. For the LTO-6 drive, I need a dedicated server with a SAS card and a high end backup program. For Blu-Ray... it can be used, albeit slowly, with a USB 2.0 connection, but works decently with eSATA or USB 3.0.

    For the big stuff, the relatively cheap price per TB of the LTO-6 drive is useful. However, not everyone can spend about $6000 for the drive, I/O card, and a decent server that can run it.

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

    by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @12:53PM (#46100803)

    How do you get 36GB per bluray disc? Commercially available BD-R discs come in a variety of capacities (25, 50, 100, 128) depending on number of layers and density, and 36GB isn't one of them.

    10 BDs equals up to 1280GB of storage for quad-layer high density discs, although I can't find any of the 128GB discs for sale, only 100GB discs. Either way, the higher capacity discs are rather expensive, but if you're buying them in big enough bulk, it may not matter as much.

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

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @01:36PM (#46101395)
    There are larger capacity BDs, but they still don't amount to much storage. As others are speculating, this is probably a pre-emptive action by Facebook, so when they eventually get sued for not deleting someone's data, they can truthfully testify in court that it's logistically "too hard" to comply with a single user's delete request.
  • Re:Write once? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @02:35PM (#46102203)

    When I started at Kodak in 2000 they were ramping down development on their DOTS product for Digital Optical Tape Storage. It used optical film spooled in a cartridge in an automated mini-lab type machine to process data stored on the film with exposure from LEDs. Each cartridge was 1.2TB and has a 100 year shelf life. For long term, write-once archival storage it is very cost competitive against magnetic tape but they just gave up on it. The cool thing is that it looks like a company acquired the patents [] and is going to bring it to market after all these years.

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

    by CTachyon ( 412849 ) <(ten.noyhcat-sonorhc) (ta) (sonorhc)> on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @04:31PM (#46103369) Homepage

    Anyone know if these burners are write-once drives?

    If so, it pretty much guarantees that Facebook keeps a copy of your stuff forever, even if you "delete" it.

    Where I work, we use large-scale tape backup (complete with robots), but tapes are so crappy that you basically have to treat them as write-once media anyway, so you have the same problems. (And tape drives are a consumable, but that's another story.) We solved this by encrypting each backup batch with a unique symmetric crypto key, and when a backup expires a cron job throws away the crypto key and marks the batch as "deleted" in our tape index. If all the batches present on a given tape end up deleted, only then do we bother to recall the physical tape from off-site storage and throw it out.

    Has the bonus that we don't have to trust the security of our off-site storage provider.

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