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The hardest part of designing the pods was trying to get all the pieces to work together without having the drives pop out of the Raid 6 arrays, said Budman.

The storage pods use Debian Linux for their operating system. Backblaze tried several versions of Linux to find compatibility with components but otherwise the OS needed little configuration. "Once we got it right it was fine," said Budman.

Backblaze has a "tonne of our own software" running on the pods to encrypt, deduplicate and assign data, which was "incredibly complicated" to write, said Budman.

Backblaze was releasing details of the software stack but withholding its own proprietary software from the public.

"We wanted to release enough so that someone could make the pods and write data to it over the network. Then it becomes a general purpose device that a VAR could install in their data centre and could be used in various shapes and sizes," said Budman.

The company has had many requests to buy or resell the pods and Budman is working out what Backblaze does next. He has considered making one-off sales but said that it was not the company's focus.

"We don't like to say no," said Budman. "But to be totally frank we are busy. Our core online backup business is growing quickly and we are pretty heads- down focused on growing that. We didn't really plan for a path where everybody wants one."

Backblaze has an affiliate program with 150 partners. The affiliate receives an ongoing share of revenue for each user it signs up.

A reseller version is in the works which adds custom billing and a management portal that lets the reseller view the status of customers' backups. Budman said 10 to 20 resellers are contacting him every week.

"We've had 70 sellers in the past 24 hours sign up to be resellers of the core online backup service or these storage pods," said Budman.

Some readers expressed an interest in making the pods for their own companies. "We had a lot of people saying we are using X vendor's products internally but we are going to try and experiment with this."

For more information see https://www.backblaze.com/partners.htm.


Want a petabyte for under US$120,000?
 
 
 
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