How do you move a terabyte?

I recently discovered Brewster Kahle’s speech on the NotCon ‘04 podcast about the ambition of The Internet Archive to archive absolutely everything (all books, all movies, all music, …). (There is an excellent transcript on .) They are currently setting up a second datacentre in Amsterdam, as an off-site copy of the original They use massive parallel storage nodes grouped together in a PetaBox rack. You actually need 10 Petaboxes to get to 1 Petabyte (1 rack = 80 servers x 4 disks x 300 GB/disk = +- 100 TB). Since the rack uses node-to-node replication (every node has a sister node that holds a copy of all its data, so that if one of both nodes crashes, the data is still available), the net storage is 50TB.
So this got me thinking: how do you ‘copy’ the contents of PetaBox A to PetaBox B, how do you move 50TB?
Let’s try some numbers from my bandwidth calculator:

Can this be done without a network connection? Can we tap the data out of one system, put it on some kind of transport and reload it at the new location? (see Microsoft’s Jim Gray who calls this a kind of ‘sneakernet‘)

This exercise is only half of the picture, of course. I did not take into account bandwidth, system, media and shipping prices. But since the PetaBox has no public pricetag, I didn’t bother searching for the other ones. Maybe later.

💬 technology 🏷 bandwidth 🏷 disk 🏷 network