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Howard Marks
Howard Marks
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Can Facebook Bring Back Optical Storage?

The social media giant shows off a prototype Blu-ray library for cold data storage, but optical storage isn't likely to make a big comeback.

Like most in the storage business, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to optical disks since Plasmon went into receivership in 2009. Sure, 9GB magneto-optical WORM disks were the medium of choice for compliance archives at the turn of the century, but software-based WORM systems such as EMC Centera and NetApp SnapLock could store more data and access it faster.

As magnetic disk and tape capacities steadily increased and optical capacity stalled at 60GB in Plasmon’s UDO2, I figured optical storage’s day had come and gone.

However, at last week’s Open Compute Summit, Facebook Vice President of Infrastructure Engineering Jay Parikh demonstrated a prototype Blu-ray library for cold data storage. Does this mean optical storage due for a comeback? Or is this a solution only Facebook could love?

While most organizations have a constantly growing pool of data that needs to be retained but isn’t actively accessed, Facebook’s endless collection of frat boy selfies and kitty photos dwarfs pretty much anyone else's. Parikh said the company just brought up its first cold storage facility holding 30PB of data and expects to have 150PB of cold data in just a few months.

Read the rest of the article on Network Computing.

Howard Marks is founder and chief scientist at Deepstorage LLC, a storage consultancy and independent test lab based in Santa Fe, N.M. and concentrating on storage and data center networking. In more than 25 years of consulting, Marks has designed and implemented storage ... View Full Bio
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Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Ninja
2/6/2014 | 10:30:58 AM
FB's Movie Marathon
As I watched everyone posting Facebook movies about their past 10 (or however many) years on the social network, I kept thinking about the processing power to be able to go back nine or 10 years and run analytics to pick the top photos and posts and knit them together almost instantly. It was pretty impressive and makes you wonder - is ANY of the data on FB really in cold storage?
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