Facebook Uses Blu-Ray Discs For Its ‘Cold Storage’ Data

Blu-ray discs may sound a little obsolete but Facebook may be unwittingly reviving the optical storage format. The social network has built a storage system comprising of 10,000 Blu-ray discs, using them for ‘cold storage.’

Facebook Blu-ray disc storage system

Cold storage‘ refers to such pieces of data which are rarely accessed by the users. Normally, Facebook’s data sits in hard drives which quickly retrieve and present us with our data on the site. But there is such data which is nearly never needed and keeping that data in a hard drive is an expensive affair.

So the company has decided to use Blu-ray discs which trim down the storage cost by 50% and the energy use by a whopping 80%. The system was highlighted at Open Compute Summit by Facebook’s vice president of infrastructure engineering, Jay Parikh.

According to Parikh, the current Blu-ray system at Facebook has a storage capacity of one petabyte and over time, the social network intends to expand it to five petabytes over the years. In an on-stage demo of the system, it looked like a 7-feet server cabinet. But dig into the details of this nifty storage system and you see all sorts of robotic activity going on inside.

The robotic picker picks up a disk quickly from the pile of 10,000 and brings it to the burner. The burner writes data to the disc and then it goes back in the rack. Although implementing the robotic equipment may have cost a little something, the fact that Blu-ray discs are a lot cheaper than conventional hard drives, offsets such expenses.

This is certainly a very innovative move, when it comes to the world of data storage. Given its low power consumption and affordability, other companies may follow in Facebook’s footsteps and adopt the Blu-ray storage system. And if that happens, we may see a revival of the optical disc industry.

Courtesy: PC World

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Salman Latif is a software engineer with a specific interest in social media, big data and real-world solutions using the two.Other than that, he is a bit of a gypsy. He also writes in his own blog. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter .

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