The Fourth Generation Petabox

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Behind all the cool stuff users see on is some serious hardware. I was curious about the ongoing development of data storage here at Internet Archive. I spent a little time with Mario, Master of the Machines, while he gave me a tour of the newest generation of our staff designed and built Petabox storage units.

Here are some of the specs he gave me for the newest version.
• each has 480 terabytes of raw storage
• each Petabox contains: 240 2-terabyte disks in 4U high rack mounts
• each computer has: 2 – 4 core xeon processors, 12 gigs of RAM each, speed-2 GHz
• each machine has pair of 1Gbit interfaces that are bonded so it’s effectively 2Gbit
• the rack has a switch with uplink of 10Gbit
• Ubuntu OS is stored on a pair of mirrored internal hard drives separate from the data disks
• each has IPMI management interface (allows remote control power cycling and remote console)
• in all there will be a total of 8 units (that’s about 4 million gigabytes).

-Jeff Kaplan

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10 Responses to The Fourth Generation Petabox

  1. T says:

    Sweeeeeet… Beats my PE2500

  2. Yorick says:

    Dang! That’s impressive.

  3. Burnout Jeff says:

    Yowsa …

  4. Walker says:

    Totally neat-o. It’s great you all are designing your storage systems.

  5. Baetis says:


    I want one.

  6. Fco. Arriaga says:


    I will ask to Santa for one as these…!

  7. georgie62 says:

    I like to believe that there’s a small inscription in this machine: “In memory of Alan Mathison Turing (1912 – 1954), one of the 20th Century’s greatest intellects.” Moreover, I propose that this work of art, math, and science showcased at University of Manchester in England celebrating A.M. Turing’s 100th birthday on June 23, 2012. Preferably, I would point at the School of Mathematics housed in the Alan Turing Building, Turing worked at The University of Manchester from 1948 to 1954. The demonstration would be a great honor for this organization, serve as reminder to Americans the power of our young intellects, and what a “jobs” program can produce.

  8. Patrick says:

    Any info on if those newer systems are still designed / built by Capricorn Technologies or if it’s an entirely in-house work? Their website hasn’t been updated since the first or second generation petaboxes came out and there is definite interest in that kind of high density storage.

  9. Thank you very much

  10. gb_lucas says:

    First time at your blog, really nice place to be.

    Hoy much could one of these cost?
    Just in case I want one at my home 🙂

    Saludos from Madrid

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