Musings on IT, data management, whitewater rafting, and backpacking

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thoughts on cloud storage

We have hundreds of terabytes of active storage on our servers. Most of that storage is cold storage, so we've focused on inexpensive, reliable, slow, online storage. We use tape for offsite backups only, more on that later.

Lots of noise about cloud storage, so I started running the numbers using Amazon's published numbers.

Two problems popped out immediately:



1. AWS storage is a lot more expensive than doing it our selves, even with some imaginative scenarios.

2. We need a lot more Internet bandwidth if we're going to move multiple terabytes of files between our servers and Amazon's.

As I run across other companies offering cloud storage, I run the numbers again, and pretty much come to the same conclusion. Nobody's undercutting Amazon by much, and Amazon has been dropping prices.

Problem #2 is a problem for everyone, and will continue to be a problem, until another solution is offered. Possible solutions:
  • We take a "station wagon full of tapes" or disks to an Amazon site for upload to their servers.
  • We rent fat pipes, space, and power for short terms from a well-connected ISP, so we can truck a server to their location to upload the files.

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