Facebook on ice: Using Blu-ray for cold storage

Facebook Cold Storage

Facebook has a lot of data, a frankly mind-boggling amount of data, and vast swathes of it are accessed approximately never. Rather than keep that archive-level data readily at hand on expensive, distributed, replicated content delivery networks Facebook keeps it in cold storage, saving money at the expense of recall speed. The company recently announced plans to replace their existing hard-drive-based cold storage system with a custom Blu-ray archive. 10,000 discs in a seven-foot rack with a capacity of about a petabyte. That’s a lot of photos of cats, parties and babies. However…

The technology is fascinating and it’s encouraging to see Facebook leading the way on the Open Compute Project, but one implication seems to have escaped much of the attendant commentary, and it’s worth emphasising.

Ars Technica chronicles the long journey to actually deleting photos from Facebook, but now? Your photos are probably ending up on a read-only disc in a data centre somewhere. Good luck having that deleted. Sure, your cat photos may not be publicly accessible any more but they’re still just one robbery or hack away from escaping Facebook.

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