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Facebook Finds Cold Data Storage

William Opalka

facebook logoFacebook may use Blu-Ray in the data center to provide cold storage for older photos to save money and energy.

The storage system that packs 1 petabyte of data into a single cabinet filled with 10,000 Blu-Ray optical discs, according to Data Center Knowledge. The company showed off its prototype at the recent Open Compute Summit.

The storage unit may be put into production by the end of this year. Long term, Facebook believes Blu-Ray has the potential to move beyond its origins in consumer video and became a durable, cost-effective data storage medium.

Data cannot be retrieved instantly from Blu-Ray, but its low cost offers an advantage. Blu-Ray disks offers savings of up to 50 percent compared with the hard disks Facebook is using in its cold storage data facility at its data center in Oregon. The Facebook prototype also uses 80 percent less energy than cold storage racks, since the Blu-Ray cabinet only uses energy when it is writing data during the initial date “burn,” and doesn’t use energy when it is idle.

Facebook expects this method will catch on within five years as the technology will find its way into uses that were formerly limited to magnetic disks. Blu-Ray is an optical data storage format created as a high-volume successor to DVDs. Facebook stumbled into its Blu-Ray experiment as part of a broader evaluation of storage options. The use of Blu-Ray is not an alternative storage means, but complements the colder storage tiers by making them more financially viable.

 



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