Back to Our 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.


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.


No, wood is not one of the most commonly used materials in a data center. 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 data center to test it.


Since then we’ve moved to metal, and sometimes aluminum (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 150PB 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.


About Yev

Yev Pusin is the senior director of Marketing and sometimes Marketing chief of staff at Backblaze, which he joined in 2011. Yev has a degree in business and communications from the University of Iowa, where he developed an alliteration affinity. Yev enjoys writing in an amusing way about the "why" of things and how decisions are made, so that readers can learn and be entertained all at once. Follow Yev on: Twitter: @YevP | LinkedIn: Yev Pusin