Facebook using Blu-ray archive for ‘cold storage’

Facebook has demoed a prototype Archive Solution for “cold storage” at this years Open Compute summit. Currently, the system stores 10,000 Blu-ray discs that holds a petabyte of data and is highly energy efficient. However, this configuration has been blamed for Facebook going down from time to time.

“Blu-ray discs are a good option for cold storage because they cost less to buy than hard disks and there’s a lot of room for manufacturers to increase the storage density of Blu-ray”, said Jason Taylor, Facebook’s director of infrastructure.

Read more about the design and features of Facebook’s Archive Solution at pcworld.com

Digistor offers industrial and enterprise customers Blu-ray based Archive Solutions for cold data and offline storage. Visit our Enterprise Archive page for more information.

Why do hard drives have less actual space than advertised?

How much storage space are users actually getting when they buy a new computer or hard drive? In many cases, the formatted capacity is much lower than what's advertised.

There are several reasons for this discrepancy, including differences in how computers and humans count, as well as the widespread bundling of space-hogging software. Either way, users aren't getting the transparency they need, especially in light of how the gap is more pronounced the larger the hard drive is.

Why hard drive storage space doesn't live up to its billing
Most of the world counts in base ten, or decimal, notation, in which each number is ten times the value of the number to its immediate right. However, computers utilize the base two, or binary, which contributes to the discrepancy.

For example, a kilobyte is equal to 1000 bytes (ten to the third power) in decimal. However, a kilobyte is actually 1024 bytes (two to the tenth power) in binary. At a small scale, such a discrepancy is nearly insignificant, but with large drives, users may be looking at as much as several Gigabytes' worth of difference. The International Electrotechnical Commission has defined a Gigabyte as 1000 bytes (using the decimal system), enabling manufacturers to advertise that hard drive have more capacity than they actually do, according to Popular Mechanics.

Writing for TheNextWeb, Paul Sawers bemoaned this practice, stating that consumers have no way of knowing a computer's storage capacity without purchasing it. For users that need large amounts of hard drive space, the discrepancy is not only misleading, but a bad financial deal, too.

"The broader issue for many people is less about this discrepancy than it is about a lack of clarity and transparency on what you're actually getting for your money," Sawers asserted. "If you're paying north of [$2400/$1600] for a state-of-the-art, super-duper Ultrabook, surely it's not unreasonable to have the full information at your disposal when making that buying decision?"

Bundled software exacerbates hard drive storage space discrepancies
The decimal/binary divide is only part of the issue. Many PCs come with a large amount of pre-installed software from OEMs and/or software vendors.

Examples may include security scanners or productivity suites. Combined with the basic mathematical issues, these bundles can eat up tons of space. Sawers explained that some laptops ship with less than half of the advertised capacity available to users. A "128GB" laptop may end up with roughly 60GB of real space.

Ideally, retailers and manufacturers will eventually come up with a more transparent system for advertising hard drive space. Until then, consumers will have to keep an eye out and buy carefully.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera gets firmware update with RAW video support

Blackmagic Design recently announced that its Pocket Cinema Camera now supports digital RAW video. Previously, the camera only supported the more compressed, lower quality ProRes422 format. The changes will allow for much greater dynamic range and expand the Pocket Cinema Camera's use cases.

When the Pocket Cinema Camera was unveiled several months ago, it impressed media professionals with its low price tag and high capabilities. It was priced at under $1000 and had 1080p capabilities, and as technology writer and executive Clinton Stark explained, it opened up new possibilities in areas such as filmmaking.

"By offering high-end cameras for not-so-high-end prices the Blackmagic Design has rewritten the rules for budget filmmaking," explained Stark. "Their two new cameras – the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera – are such hot stuff that you would be hard pressed to get any enthusiast to stop talking about the possibilities."

However, Blackmagic Design warned would-be buyers of the Pocket Cinema Camera that the device might ship without RAW support. Initially, it did work only with ProRes422, which is still high-quality but less desirable than RAW.

Fortunately, a firmware update has rectified this shortcoming. Engadget contributing editor Steve Dent stated that the Pocket Cinema Camera now supports RAW CinemaDNG video recording. With the new format, all frames are losslessly compressed like an archive file. Accordingly, videographers can capture 1080p video from the camera's Super 16mm sensor. With superior dynamic range, they will also benefit from improved flexibility when performing color correction.

The welcome change boosts the Pocket Cinema Camera's usefulness in many different contexts and makes it a direct competitor to traditional portable pocket size cameras such as the GoPro. Writing for Real Screen, Carl Mrozek asserted that the camera's small profile and strong capabilities made it a great fit for shooting video from "jibs, cranes, dollies and drones" and for working with special effects.

Moving Day is Here! This is How to Contact Us.

Digistor BlogWell, that day is finally here. DIGISTOR is moving to a new larger facility. Please bare with us as our phone lines will be down for a few days. We should be back up Tuesday September 24th. If you need to contact us, please either email us directly or fill out the contact form on our website: http://www.digistor.com/Contact_Digistor_Today

We wanted to share a few perks of the new move:

  • Our design and testing lab is three times larger
  • Expanded production facility for our Assembled in USA line of products
  • Dedicated distribution warehouse
  • Its 35 seconds down the road from our current location, we get to stay in Campbell, CA
  • We have more skylights than ever!

See official Press Release for more information.

Looking Beyond Blu-ray: Next-gen Optical Discs

Sony and Panasonic are the two powerhouse companies behind the Blu-ray technology that we know and love today. Large storage capacity for HD movies with lossless audio, and with scratch resistant long storage life, they’re excellent for personal archives. These two companies are now working together to provide the next generation of optical discs focusing primarily on the professional archive market.

Target capacity: At least 300GB per disc
Target release: End of 2015 

We live in a culture of big data. We create 2.5 quintrillion bytes of data each day. Some of this data must be retained for years from video production industries, broadcasting, data centers and so on. Both companies plan on improving their development efficiency based on technologies held by each company respectively to begin the process of tackling professional archiving solutions.

Via Panasonic.co.jp