Backblaze's new Storage Pod 6.0 can hold up to 480 terabytes for less than cloud prices

Online storage is cheap. But you can build your own cloud even cheaper using Backblaze's open source design for the new Storage Pod 6.0, which can hold from 180TB to almost half a petabyte.

Backblaze Storage Pod 6.0 with 60 hard drives

Backblaze Storage Pod 6.0 with 60 hard drives

Photo: Backblaze

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Backblaze has announced a new 60-drive version of its Storage Pod, which reduces the cost of storage by 22 percent compared with the previous 45-drive version. The hardware design is open source, and Backblaze claims "it is possible for you to build a 4U server with 480TB of data storage for less than a nickel ($0.05) a gigabyte."

Racks that use smaller hard drives can be even cheaper, so companies could build their own permanent on-site cloud storage for around the cost of using Amazon S3 for a month.

Backblaze has increased the Storage Pod 6.0's capacity by adding an extra row of 15 drives. This extends the depth of the chassis from slightly over 28 inches to almost 35 inches. Companies that use 29-inch server racks will find the new chassis projects out of the back, "but there's plenty of room between the rows of racks, so there's no issue with space," says Backblaze. They will also fit closed racks that are often 36 inches deep.

Other changes with the new Storage Pod 6.0 include three more backplanes, one more SATA card, and three more SATA cables. Backblaze has also changed the routing of the SATA-3 cables "to stay within the 1-meter length spec".

Backblaze says it can build a 180TB Storage Pod 6.0 for $8,733.73, with a cost per gigabyte of $0.036. It reckons you could buy the parts and assemble one yourself (PDF) for $10,398.57, or buy one from a third-party supplier for $12,849.40. The 4TB hard drives cost extra.

The cost obviously varies according to which hard drives are used. Backblaze has standardized on 4TB Seagate drives because they are cheap and reliable. (See: The most reliable hard drives in 2015, according to Backblaze.) Backblaze's table (below) shows the relative costs.

Backblaze does not sell Storage Pods or parts: its real business is offering "the lowest cost cloud storage on the planet: $0.005/GB a month". It also sells personal and business backup services with unlimited storage at very low prices. So far, the 9-year-old company only has one data center, in California, but it is looking to expand.

Backblaze cost per gigabyte table