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    Backblaze Storage Pod v4.0 - Now with Direct Wired Drives

    Link: Backblaze Blog

    For the first time since the original Storage Pod, Backblaze is announcing a completely redesigned approach with the introduction of the first “direct wire” Storage Pod. This new Storage Pod performs four times faster, is simpler to assemble, and delivers our lowest cost per gigabyte of data storage yet. And, once again, it’s open source.

    The New Storage Pod Design
    Fast forward nearly 5 years as we introduce Storage Pod 4.0 and a completely new way of attaching 45 drives to the motherboard. The 5-drive backplanes are gone, replaced by individual direct wire SATA/Power connectors. In concert with this we replaced the three 4-port SATA cards with two high performance 40-port HighPoint Rocket 750 cards delivering SATA 3 throughput. Simpler to build and maintain, and seriously fast.

    The New Storage Cost – $0.051 per GB
    When we designed Storage Pods 2.0 and 3.0 our goal was to reduce the total cost per GB to store data. Pod 2.0 was great, but when the Thailand Drive Crisis pushed up hard drive prices we struggled to lower the cost of Storage Pod 3.0. With Storage Pod 4.0 we are pleased to announce it delivers 180TB of storage for just $0.051 per GB – our lowest cost per GB to date.




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    Why now is the time for Backblaze to build a 270TB Storage Pod

    Storage Pod 796 went through the standard build process for any Backblaze Storage Pod. Little did it know that destiny was waiting. At the end of the assembly line, instead of 45 Seagate 4TB drives, Pod 796 would receive 45 Western Digital 6TB drives (Model: WD60EFRX). Doing the math, 45 times 6 is 270, Pod 796 would be the first 270TB Backblaze Storage Pod. We also just received a shipment of Seagate 6TB drives (Model: ST6000DX000), which we will be building into a pod shortly, but first up is Western Digital.

    What’s the Big Deal?
    The most obvious thing about a 270TB Backblaze Storage Pod is there is now 50% more storage in the same 4U chassis as before. No changes or updates were required to the Storage Pod 4.0 design to accommodate the new drives. That’s one of the advantages of using off-the-shelf, standardized components in our Pod design.

    We usually rack 10 Backblaze Storage Pods into each individual cabinet in the data center. The increase in drive size to 6TB means a data center cabinet that held 1.8 petabytes of data (10 pods times 180 TB per pod) before can now hold 2.7 petabytes of data.

    One of the nice things about the 6 TB drives from Western Digital is that they appear to use less electricity than the current Seagate 4 TB drives we are using. In our case, we pay a flat rate for our data center cabinets, which includes electricity up to a 24 Amp peak. So while the WD 6 TB drives may lower our electrical use, it will not lower our costs. Still it is nice that the WD drives may help us save a few watts.



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