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BackBlaze details new 4U storage pods with a massive 480TB of space

BackBlaze’s business is selling online backup solutions, but it has also been so kind as to release data on hard drive failure rates and the design/specs of its storage hardware. Today is a big day for BackBlaze as it’s announcing a new version of its 4U rack-mounted storage pods. The Storage Pod 5.0 crams an astonishing 480TB into a single 4U case. This makes BackBlaze’s online storage platform more efficient, but you can also buy a Storage Pod 6.0 of your very own if you’ve got the cash.

The first Storage Pod design was announced and released back in 2009. It consisted of 45 hard drives at the maximum mainstream capacity available at the time, a mere 1.5TB. All told, the Storage Pod 1.0 could hold 67.5TB of data. BackBlaze has been working ever since to increase the capacity of its pods without expanding the footprint. The Storage Pod 6.0 can accommodate 60 drives, an entire extra 15-drive row compared with past 45-drive designs. It hits the theoretical 480TB ceiling by taking advantage of the latest 8TB drives.

BackBlaze did have to make a few sacrifices to get to this point. A standard 4U case is 29-inches deep, but the Storage Pod 6.0 is longer at a little over 35-inches. It’ll fit fine in an open rack, but it’s not like you want to put a door on it anyway with all those hard drives gasping for air. It still runs on the same Ivy Bridge Xeon and 32GB of RAM as previous pods.

BackBlaze itself doesn’t sell the pods, but the design is freely available with CAD files and parts lists. It recommends Backuppods as a good source of the same hardware it uses if you want your own pod. Backuppods will soon offer the Storage Pod 6.0 assembled for $5,950 sans drives. BackBlaze was kind enough to break down exactly how much it will cost you to assemble your own backup pod with various drives.

The most cost-effective general use configuration has 60 4TB Seagate drives for a total capacity of 240TB and a cost of $10,364. BackBlaze is pretty proud of the per gigabyte cost of this configuration, which is only $0.043/GB. With 8TB drives the total cost is $22,595, but that’s just $0.047 per gigabyte. If you want the best bang for your buck and don’t mind using slower archival drives, an array of 8TB Seagate SMR drives (480TB) works out to $16,364 for a cost of $0.034 per gigabyte.

Odds are you probably don’t need a 4U Storage Pod with nearly half a petabyte of storage, but there are people who do. Or at least they think they do. Either way, now they’ve got an option.

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