Cost effective replacement of on-premise storage with cloud storage.
The time had come for Vintage Aerial to upgrade or replace
their storage servers. The quotes they were getting for a
replacement system were in the $25-$30K range after
discounts. One of their primary goals was to simplify the
operations side of the business especially as it related to
their data storage technology. They would rather write and
manage the software powering the Vintage Aerial web site
versus spending time operating and managing their
They decided it was time to look at
using cloud storage instead of buying more hardware.
Kevin Marsh is a Partner and Director
of Engineering at Vintage Aerial. The
company stores more than 20 million
high-resolution aerial photographs
scanned in from 1/2 million rolls of
35mm film. Their customers enjoy
unique heirloom-quality prints of rural
areas, farms, small towns, and
villages, taken over the second half of
the 20th century.
Vintage Aerial utilizes Amazon AWS services to help run their day-to-day operations.
Before Backblaze B2, when a customer on their website decided to purchase a
photo package, the photo was moved from the local on-premise storage system to
the AWS environment, where it was processed according to the customer order. The
finished product was packaged and shipped to the customer.
To replace the on-premise storage system, Kevin first considered using Amazon S3
to store the 20+ million photographs, 80 terabytes, in the cloud. A quick calculation
told him that just the storage cost for this amount of data was going to be about
$1,680 per month if he used S3. That would be at least $100,000 over five years for
S3 cloud storage versus spending about $30,000 if he just replaced his current
Projected 5-year cost to store 80 TB of photos
Kevin then looked at Backblaze B2. He had calculated that his storage cost would
be $400 a month, meaning he would spend just $24,000 over a five-year period.
That was considerably less than S3 and even slightly less than buying an on-premise
system. He tested B2 out to ensure the performance was acceptable. B2 passed.
Backblaze B2 was the
tipping point in
enabling us to move
to cloud storage.
- Kevin Marsh
Backblaze had not yet introduced its Fireball data loading service and at the time Kevin had a 5Mbps upload connection. To upload 80
terabytes of data to Backblaze was going to take years. Instead, he rented a server in a local datacenter with a 10Gbps upload connection
at a cost of $500/month. Then he used sneaker-net to transfer data from his office to the rented server using a 4 TB USB hard drive.
Once the data was on the server it could be uploaded to Backblaze B2 using the datacenter’s network connection. The entire process
took 80 days, for an average transfer rate of 1 terabyte per day, including those days when the sneaker-net took the day off.
With the data loaded in B2, Vintage Aerial is now spending their
time adding capabilities to the service. For example, they will
soon introduce the ability for a web site visitor to zoom in to a
photograph on the site. Currently, for efficiency, low-resolution
thumbnails are displayed on the site. The customer can zoom in,
but the images pixilate very quickly. With the new feature Vintage
Aerial will be able to quickly download from B2 the high-resolution
version of the photograph so the customer can zoom in without a
loss in resolution. Kevin expects this capability to create a better
customer experience and increase sales. This new functionality
was one of the reasons, Kevin did not consider Amazon Glacier
and similar services which can take hours to restore data.
Once all the photographs were loaded in B2, Kevin was able to
turn off the old storage servers and reclaim the closet space he
had dedicated to them.
B2 had allowed him cost effectively replace his on-site storage
servers. Better yet, B2 has reduced the amount of time Kevin
spends on storage management and allows him to focus on
making the Vintage Aerial service even better.
About Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage
Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage is a cloud storage solution that
provides data storage at one-fourth the cost of leading cloud
storage providers: $0.005 GB/month for storage, free
uploads, and $0.02 ($/GB) for downloads. Things to know
Upload and download data using a Web GUI, API, or CLI.
Stored data is instantly available. There are no offline or near-line delays.
There are no pricing tiers for data storage, it is simply $0.005 per GB per month.
Data durability is 99.999999% and availability is covered by an SLA.