Facebook Starts Building Their Own Storage Hardware

Facebook already has built a couple of their own data centers and their own servers. Now Facebook is building their own storage hardware for keeping all of the digital content uploaded by their 800+ million users. “We store a few photos here and there,” stated the Facebook hardware design head Frank Frankovsky in an interview with Wired. Facebook is estimated to be storing about 140 billion digital photos.

At their data center in Oregon, Facebook stopped using electric chillers and uninterruptible power suppliers. By working with various hardware manufacturers, the company was able to reduce their power consumption. Frankovsky calls this “vanity free” engineering.

“We’re taking the same approach we took with servers: Eliminate anything that’s not directly adding value. The really valuable part of storage is the disk drive itself and the software that controls how the data gets distributed to and recovered from those drives. We want to eliminate any ancillary components around the drive — and make it more serviceable,” stated Frankovsky. “Break fixes are an ongoing activity in the data center. Unfortunately, disk drives are still mechanical items, and they do fail. In fact, they’re one of the higher failure-rate items. So [we want to] be able to quickly identify which disk has failed and replace it, without going through a lot of mechanical hoops.”

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at

Facebook Starts Building Their Own Storage Hardware Comments

  1. Samantha Roubidani says:

    Amit, there's no information of interest in your story. Please give us more detail as to what Facebook has built in terms of storage. Surely some platitude about "eliminating indirect value" isn't what they've built (or if it is, that's better done as a Powerpoint rather than as storage hardware.)

    Would you please find out more about this?

    • Amit Chowdhry says:

      There aren't enough details about what Facebook has already built thus far. Facebook will be releasing its new storage designs in early May at the next Open Compute Summit. Stay tuned and we will provide more details then.

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