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Businesses Data Storage Facebook Social Networks

Panasonic To Commercialize Facebook's Blu-Ray Cold Storage Systems (cio.com) 56

itwbennett writes: A couple of years ago, Facebook revealed it was using Blu-ray disks as a cost-efficient way to archive the billions of images that users uploaded to its service. When Facebook users upload photos, they're often viewed frequently in the first week, so Facebook stores them on solid state drives or spinning hard disks. But as time goes on the images get viewed less and less. At a certain point, Facebook dumps them onto high-capacity Blu ray discs, where they might sit for years without being looked at. Now, Panasonic has said it plans to commercialize the technology for other businesses, and is working on new disks that will hold a terabyte of data.
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Panasonic To Commercialize Facebook's Blu-Ray Cold Storage Systems

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  • by Big Hairy Ian ( 1155547 ) on Thursday January 07, 2016 @08:47AM (#51254745)
    So Face book has bluerays that are full of kittens and selfies does anyone care if they store them for more than a month I mean really!
    • There are literally thousands of government agencies who care :) So they can reconstruct anything or do face recognition on them in case of something :)
    • That's what I was thinking. If nobody views them after a week or so, then why keep them around at all? Seems like Facebook could cut their costs quite a bit if they just deleted the data after a couple months. If you want a cloud storage provider to store your pictures indefinitely, then go ahead and get provider for that, but there's little reason why Facebook needs to hold on to stuff for more than a month.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's what I was thinking. If nobody views them after a week or so, then why keep them around at all? Seems like Facebook could cut their costs quite a bit if they just deleted the data after a couple months.

        Seriously? Wow.. You are an idiot. So you expect people to completely rebuild their photo pages etc etc every month? Yeah, that's the kind of business decision that would keep people coming back to facebook. And that's coming from someone who doesn't use it and never will. What you said is just that stupid.

      • by dave420 ( 699308 )

        It's quite impressive that you thought that, then assumed you know better than they do. Maybe - just maybe - Facebook knows when and how often their assets are viewed, and the best way to store them for the uses they provide. And as for finding a cloud provider that will store all your images - it's called Facebook, and plenty of people use it for that. You also fail to even consider that photos generate revenue for Facebook. Considering the assumptions you made, it's probably a safer bet to listen to F

    • So Face book has bluerays that are full of kittens and selfies does anyone care if they store them for more than a month I mean really!

      I'm just imagining archaeologists of the future (you know, after "The Event") discovering landfill full of these disks and thinking... "but why?!!"

  • So, similar to the IBM 3850 family with write-once media and a massively higher media density?

  • Facebook has this new feature called Memories where they show you pictures that you uploaded on this date X number of years ago. On days in the past (like when I was on vacation), they might show me a new picture every day for a week straight.

    Wouldn't moving these pictures over to "cold" storage significantly slow down whatever batch process they are using to recover this data every day? You would think that they would want to keep this data on active disk if they are running through it daily with huge batc

  • A more cynical and literal interpretation of "Panasonic has said it plans to commercialize the technology for other businesses" might be:

    Facebook has been collecting these unused photos for years with the intent of providing them to the CIA (who originally invested in FB, Google it). Then, instead, NSA staffed plant employees and stole the data for free. Panasonic has said it has plans to commercialize the technology (and data) for other businesses. An obvious first customer will be car companies with large

  • In the past, one could buy a 400 CD or DVD changer for a few C-notes.

    Why can't we have this technology, except with a BDXL or other high capacity Blu-Ray drive? This isn't rocket science, as the autochanger mechanism has lasted for decades in a lot of people's homes before they put their collection on their computer. Sony does have it, but it is priced into the stratosphere.

    Putting the pieces together, it wouldn't be surprising to see the autochanger mechanism in many audiophile hi-fi cabinets still usabl

    • What would the consumer do with such a beast? The average consumer isn't using tape backup. I use Amazon Glacier myself for backups. You could do all you said and then send the blurays somewhere offsite for backup, but it is cheaper and easier and safer to use something like Glacier. I pay $1 a month for it.
    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      I just wish this type of solution can hit the consumer market.

      It absolutely could. But how many people would buy it? A 6TB external drive is more than the vast majority of people need to hold all their personal files, simpler, smaller, and costs less than $200. And still most people don't bother backing stuff up.

      • It would be useful for backing up documents in a ransomware-resistant fashion. Heck, with deduplication and compression built into backup software, it would take some pieces of media for a beginning, as well as periodic full backups for redundancy reasons, but incremental backups would be easy.

        An external HDD is useful, but with ransomware squashing backup drives, having WORM capability can come in handy, as well as the ability to go back snapshots.

        This might be even more useful if coupled with a NAS. Tha

    • by m00sh ( 2538182 )

      In the past, one could buy a 400 CD or DVD changer for a few C-notes.

      Why can't we have this technology, except with a BDXL or other high capacity Blu-Ray drive? This isn't rocket science, as the autochanger mechanism has lasted for decades in a lot of people's homes before they put their collection on their computer. Sony does have it, but it is priced into the stratosphere.

      Putting the pieces together, it wouldn't be surprising to see the autochanger mechanism in many audiophile hi-fi cabinets still usable, add in a 300GB to 1TB Blu-Ray writer, add a few TB of SSD as a landing zone for data, then add some backup software like NetBackup. This would give tape a run for its money.

      Now, add some form factor like disk packs (sort of like the 5-10 disk caddies that were popular way back when), some redundancy (basically one disk with a PAR archive on it), and it would have the ability to function almost exactly as tape... but for far cheaper. To boot, removed disks take up 0 watts of power (other than environmental), not to mention being immune from remote tampering.

      I just wish this type of solution can hit the consumer market.

      But what would people store in it that they can't on a multi-TB hard drive?

      The only thing I can see is huge movie collections. But, we have Netflix and cloud storage for that.

      Family photos, videos and other such files are not big enough to warrant such a thing.

      If you work produces large files, it is valuable and might as well store them in hard disks because compared to the labor costs, the cost of storage systems is negligible.

      The only people who want low cost storage of 99% fluff throwaway data ar

  • Optical discs? Isn't that some crap from like the days of dual floppy drives. Cold storage? How come they gotta keep the storage cold, doesn't the refrigeration cost a bunch? One Terabyte? Is that all?
  • "working on new disks that will hold a terabyte of data"

    I know you were just about to ask 'Why don't we already have TB optical disks?'

    I don't have a clue. You will just have to go to Disney, the MPAA, the RIAA and all the other copyright hoarders for the answer.

    • We do have 1.5TB optical disks. Sony has a unit (ODSD77U) for those that attaches via a USB 3 cable, has rewritable and WORM functionality. It uses UDF so it doesn't need special software.

      Of course, you will be spending $7500.00 for this... but it is there.

      If Sony could mass produce the drive for 1/10 the price and the ODC1500R media for $20 instead of $150, that takes care of backups, archiving, and a lot of other needs, especially if part of a NAS.

      • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

        No, the 1.5TB cartridge for the ODSD77U has twelve seemingly normal 128GB BDXL-R discs in it, it's not a single 1.5TB disc.

  • So I guess when a user decides to delete photos they effectively live on in Facebook storage indefinitely?
    • From their Terms of Service:

      When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).

      Reasonable according to Facebook that is, not reasonable according to a real person.

      • by Malenx ( 1453851 )

        That is exactly what I would expect, as should any person with a real understanding of the technology. There is no way an IT company is going to spend the time or resources going through their long term backups just to make sure they removed all of your data.

        Even the EU data laws state companies must only make reasonable efforts.

  • There were plenty of these jukeboxes storage systems with CD-R in use even before 2000, and I am sure tapes with automatic tape-loader were in use for even longer before then.

    So Panasonic now just re-discovered the jukebox? And that is supposed to be news? What's next? They found that they can also make duplicate disks to send one to offsite storage?

  • I'm remembering ~20 years back when HP made MO disk jukeboxes. All was well until they started mis-filing disks and randomly erasing data that was supposed to be kept. Ugly. Maybe Panasonic can overcome this, but I'm skeptical of the value.

  • by lazarus ( 2879 )

    This is called Information Lifecycle Management [wikipedia.org] and has been common practice for many decades now. Yes decades. I worked on Panasonic jukebox WORM (Write Once Read Many) ILM systems (both hardware and software) in the 90s. The real news here is not that Facebook is using ILM, but the new BlueRay technology being used.

  • So that's why it takes so darn long to load each page when I scroll down through my old pictures!
  • Ignoring for the moment how long it'll take them to develop this.. I am reminded of the farce that went on for years for me with backup tapes. I'd buy a tape drive and tapes, back stuff up. The tapes would either degrade, or the drive would degrade, and all the above would be useless; I'd buy a new drive, not be able to read the old tapes even if they appeared to be good, so I'd buy new tapes, start all over again. Rinse, repeat; eventually I gave up and chucked the whole mess and didn't bother anymore. Are
  • I know on CD's and CDR's, the data deteriorates after a few years. Errors. Pretty soon unreadable.
    Doesn't the same situation arise with BlueRay? Or is it eternal like the Pyramids?

  • I'm curious as to what type of Blu-ray media they're using. Discs made using photo-sensitive dyes can degrade to the point of being unreadable very quickly. M-Disc based media is supposed to be much more robust, but you pay for it.

    A 25 GB M-Disc Blu-ray costs about $3 in smaller volumes. You can also buy 100 GB discs, but they are quite expensive, relatively speaking, at around $15 each. If you value your data, then you probably don't mind paying that much.

  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Friday January 08, 2016 @12:29AM (#51260125) Journal

    Haha Facebook jokes..........

    This is an actually interesting article.
    1, people ACTUALLY genuinely working on large optical disks (instead of another "theoretically, we could do 1TB discs!" post, which I've been seeing for a decade
    2, some kind of fairly cool optical disc changing system - aren't you interested in the file system? What about redundancy? The article indicated it's significantly lower power. What about long term reliability.

    Nope, facebook jokes instead, this isn't reddit.

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