Back To Our Future

By | October 21st, 2015

blog-back-to-future

As you’ve probably already read, today is that day. October 21st, 2015. The day Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel to the future to help the McFly descendants. If you haven’t seen the Back To The Future series, I highly recommend it (though to many people’s dismay I like the third film, the western, best). It’s an unpopular opinion, but something about a time locomotive makes me really happy.

In honor of Back to the Future, I wanted to take a brief moment and call out our own “Back To The Future” moment. Some of you may have seen this before, but if you’re new to our blog, you might get a kick out of it. Anyway, reminiscing about Back to the Future got me thinking, as many things do, about the Backblaze Storage Pods.

When Backblaze first had the idea to build our own storage pods, we created several prototypes. Being somewhat cash-strapped at the time there wasn’t money to actually use a contract manufacturer so we had to build the first few prototypes ourselves using the skills we had in-house. In other words we had to get creative. The original concept behind Backblaze Storage Pods was to wire a bunch of drive bays (like Drobos) together.

p29b_2008_05_28_datacenter_configured_on_table

From there we decided we could just use bare (internal) drives, but how would we hold them. Our answer was was to build a server out of wood. Yes, wood. I’ll let you process that for a moment.

p35b_2008_08_26_pod_made_out_of_wood_inside

No, wood is not one of the most commonly used materials in a datacenter. In fact, as a fairly flammable object, it’s quite heavily frowned upon. Yet, we soldiered on and even got one of the wooden prototypes in to the datacenter to test it.

p33b_2008_08_26_pod_made_out_of_wood

Since then we’ve moved to metal, and sometimes aluminium (mostly for the Marketing department, so we can lug one around). Today we have over 1,000 Storage Pods deployed as we’ve built our entire data storage infrastructure around Storage Pods and now Backblaze Vaults. Added to that, countless others around the globe have followed our blueprint for Storage Pods to build media servers, medical data storage and more. As we look back from the future, it is hard to believe that our wooden prototype would beget 150 Petabytes of data storage and counting. It really is the future, at least ours. Thanks for reading, and for taking a moment to go back to the future with us. Puns.

Yev

Yev

Chief Smiles Officer at Backblaze
Yev enjoys speed-walking on the beach. Speed-dating. Speed-writing blog posts. The film Speed. Speedy technology. Speedy Gonzales. And Speedos. But mostly technology. He also runs social for Backblaze.

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Yev

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Category:  Backblaze Bits
  • Love this company & how you share your methods and hardware and give us a glimpse behind the scenes— so fun!
    I recommend your service to everyone because it is literally the best. The reason I switched to you a few years ago was that your competitor’s app was taking 25% CPU doing its hourly backup while yours barely registers.

  • Chris Robertson

    Awww, you kept the picture! Faulty power harness and all! Cool to see the blast from the past!

    Plywood + foamcore = the original rapid prototyping environment ;)

  • Alan Harvey

    Glad I don’t live where I pay more during peak hours vs non peak hours so glad it cheaper for me to run a 64TB server back then

  • cartman94501

    Did you mean to spell “aluminum” the British way?

    • Sometimes I like to be fancy :D