Backblaze Launches 60-Drive Storage Pod in Single Chassis

Backblaze storage, cloud or on-premises, can be used for any application, and developers can do anything they want with it.

Last September, Backblaze—a storage mouse that roars—entered the cloud storage wars to compete directly against the likes of Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Storage.

Backblaze claimed at the time—and it can back it up—to have built the world's lowest-cost cloud storage. AWS, Google and Microsoft can argue this point, but they would lose the debate. None of those well-known storage names can claim to charge unlimited data backup in the cloud for laptops and desktops for $5 per month, nor can they offer enterprise data storage for less than Backblaze charges.

"We're going to charge one-half cent/GB/month," Backblaze founder and CEO Gleb Budman told eWEEK back then. "The lowest cost [AWS] S3 tier is 2.2 cents/GB/month, and even [AWS] Glacier, which has a 4-hour data transfer delay and other charges, is 1 cent/GB/month."

So the San Mateo, Calif-based company opened its cloud storage directly to users through the Web, a command line or an API—take your pick.

Now Backblaze is taking its business to a whole new level. It dropped its storage pricing again May 1; this time with its new Storage Pod 6.0, which deploys 60 off-the-shelf hard drives in a 4U chassis, offering this latest data storage server for a mere .036 cents/GB.

So Inexpensive, It's Almost Free

"That's 22 percent less than our Storage Pod 5.0 storage server that used 45 drives to store data for .044 cents/GB," Budman told eWEEK. "The Storage Pod 6.0 hardware design is, as always, open source, so we've included the blueprints, STEP files, wiring diagrams, build instructions and a parts list so you can build your very own Storage Pod.

"Your cost may be a bit more, but it is possible for you to build a 4U server with 480TB of data storage for less than a nickel ($0.05) a gigabyte."

How is Backblaze able to do this and still stay in business? Well, just in case you haven't seen stories about this on eWEEK previously, we'll reiterate.

"Most people don't realize that consumer-type hard drives and other components generally work just as well and crash just as often as commercial drives, only they cost a great deal less," Budman said. "We use the least-expensive hardware possible, and because the software is so good, it's as reliable and available as much more expensive services. We just make everything very redundant."

Backblaze can be used for any application, and developers can do anything they want with it: build the next hot mobile app on the platform, stash historical development files or use it for personal backup.

A Little Storage Pod History

In 2009, Storage Pod 1.0 changed the landscape in data storage servers by delivering 67.5TB of storage in a 4U box for just $0.11/GB–that was up to 10 times lower than comparable systems on the market at the time. Budman also open-sourced the hardware design of Storage Pod 1.0 and companies, universities and even weekend hobbyists started building their own Storage Pods.

Over the years the company introduced updates to the Storage Pod design, driving down the cost while improving the reliability and durability with each iteration, Budman said. Storage Pod 5.0 marked its initial use of the Agile manufacturing and design methodology, which helped identify and squeeze out more costs, driving the cost per GB of storage below $0.05.

"Agile also enabled us to manage a rapid design prototyping process that allowed us to stretch the Storage Pod chassis to include 60 drives, then produce 2-D and 3-D specifications, a build book, a bill of materials and update our manufacturing and assembly processes for the new design—Storage Pod 6.0. All of this in about six months," Budman said.

What's New in Storage Pod 6.0

"What's new is 60 drives in a 4U chassis. That's a 33 percent increase to the storage density in the same rack space," Budman said. "Using 4TB drives in a 60-drive Storage Pod increases the amount of storage in a standard 40U rack from 1.8 to 2.4 PB. Of course, by using 8TB drives you'd get a 480TB data storage server in 4U server and 4.8 PB in a standard rack."

Backblaze Storage Pod 6.0 is available now.

There's a lot more technical information available for developers. Go here to obtain it.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...