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.

Howard Marks

February 6, 2014

1 Min Read
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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.

About the Author(s)

Howard Marks

Network Computing Blogger

Howard Marks</strong>&nbsp;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 systems, networks, management systems and Internet strategies at organizations including American Express, J.P. Morgan, Borden Foods, U.S. Tobacco, BBDO Worldwide, Foxwoods Resort Casino and the State University of New York at Purchase. The testing at DeepStorage Labs is informed by that real world experience.</p><p>He has been a frequent contributor to <em>Network Computing</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>InformationWeek</em>&nbsp;since 1999 and a speaker at industry conferences including Comnet, PC Expo, Interop and Microsoft's TechEd since 1990. He is the author of&nbsp;<em>Networking Windows</em>&nbsp;and co-author of&nbsp;<em>Windows NT Unleashed</em>&nbsp;(Sams).</p><p>He is co-host, with Ray Lucchesi of the monthly Greybeards on Storage podcast where the voices of experience discuss the latest issues in the storage world with industry leaders.&nbsp; You can find the podcast at: http://www.deepstorage.net/NEW/GBoS

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