Data Storage: Newcomer Backblaze Offers Ultra-Cheap, Do-It-Yourself Cloud Storage

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-09-22 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Newcomer Backblaze Offers Ultra-Cheap, Do-It-Yourself Cloud Storage
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Newcomer Backblaze Offers Ultra-Cheap, Do-It-Yourself Cloud Storage

Backblaze is Bay Area-based a startup that provides unlimited online backup for laptops or desktops to its customers for $5 per month, which is similar in many ways to cloud storage services such as Carbonite, Mozy and Amazon S3. To make his business commercially viable, founder Gleb Budman had to figure out how to store hundreds of petabytes of customer data in a reliable, scalable way—and still keep his costs low. After looking at several commercial solutions that he considered overpriced, Budman told eWEEK that he and his team decided to build their own custom Backblaze Storage Pods with commodity hardware. They constructed 67TB worth of capacity in a 4U-sized server array. Total cost: $7,867. Budman isn't afraid to document everything about this project. The new cloud storage system is now working well for Backblaze, Budman said.

However, he and his crew didn't stop at that. They have since decided to share their development recipe and parts list for this low-cost storage system in an open-source manner. They figure that if companies can build their own cloud storage for a lot less up-front money, then perhaps those same companies will consider utilizing Backblaze's cloud storage management software.

"Our hope is that by sharing, others can benefit and, ultimately, refine this concept and send improvements back to us," Budman said. "Evolving and lowering costs is critical to our continuing success at Backblaze."

In this slideshow, we'll show a general overview about how to make one of these storage pods yourself and save thousands of dollars. Backblaze has made the actual blueprints available in a free download.

You can view a more detailed blog post and a short 3D video illustrating the storage box.

 
Backblaze is Bay Area-based a startup that provides unlimited online backup for laptops or desktops to its customers for $5 per month, which is similar in many ways to cloud storage services such as Carbonite, Mozy and Amazon S3. To make his business commercially viable, founder Gleb Budman had to figure out how to store hundreds of petabytes of customer data in a reliable, scalable way—and still keep his costs low. After looking at several commercial solutions that he considered overpriced, Budman told eWEEK that he and his team decided to build their own custom Backblaze Storage Pods with commodity hardware. They constructed 67TB worth of capacity in a 4U-sized server array. Total cost: $7,867. Budman isn't afraid to document everything about this project. The new cloud storage system is now working well for Backblaze, Budman said. However, he and his crew didn't stop at that. They have since decided to share their development recipe and parts list for this low-cost storage system in an open-source manner. They figure that if companies can build their own cloud storage for a lot less up-front money, then perhaps those same companies will consider utilizing Backblaze's cloud storage management software. "Our hope is that by sharing, others can benefit and, ultimately, refine this concept and send improvements back to us," Budman said. "Evolving and lowering costs is critical to our continuing success at Backblaze." In this slideshow, we'll show a general overview about how to make one of these storage pods yourself and save thousands of dollars. Backblaze has made the actual blueprints available in a free download. You can view a more detailed blog post and a short 3D video illustrating the storage box.
 
 
 
 
 
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz
 
 
 
 
 
 

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