Facebook's New Cold Storage: 10,000 Blu-Ray Discs, 1 Petabyte of Data

Illustration for article titled Facebooks New Cold Storage: 10,000 Blu-Ray Discs, 1 Petabyte of Data

Facebook has a whole heap of data to store, but much of it sits so deep within our profiles that it rarely need to be served. So the social network has been trying to develop cold storage systems to file older content away—and a new prototype uses Blu-Ray discs.


Whilst talking at this year's Open Compute Summit, Facebook's vice president of engineering, Jay Parikh, explained how a prototype cold storage system could allow the social network to free up vital space on its servers. The new system, he explained, uses 10,000 Blu-ray discs at a time to store a petabyte of data.

The system uses a robot arm to pluck specific discs from a large cartridge, each of which is held in a larger magazine. Despite those kinds of mechanics, the new system could save Facebook 50 percent in costs and 80 percent in energy use when compared to standard HDD cold storage techniques.


The prototype is apparently already in use, and all told Facebook has 30 petabytes of storage in this form. According to GigaOm, that will be joined by a second similar resource soon, and it should expand up to 150 petabytes within a few months. Some way off the 3 exabytes the site requires, but a step in the right direction. [GigaOm via Ars Technica via Verge]

Image via AHMAD FAIZAL YAHYA / Shutterstock.com

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It makes complete sense with as cheap as Blu-ray tech is now. My only concern is (and something I have always wondered about for my own use) - the longevity of the Blu-ray media itself. Is write-able (or rewrite-able) media like that really stable enough for longer term archiving or should you hedge your bets with some other offline storage method like tape?