Cloud storage is a bit of a darling in venture capital circles and almost without fail seems to achieve enormous sums of capital from investment institutions and the big companies who buy them out. One common thread running through every single one of them that noone ever seems to question is the physical hardware itself. We all just assume, rightfully so, that they are keeping the drive manufacturers in the black with bulk drive purchases. Not only that, but with the constantly changing technology in storage mediums, cloud storage companies are always behind the eight ball trying to get more bang out of their Buck with more efficient hardware.
But what happens to all the old hard drives in the world? I wouldn’t be surprised, as a technology professional, if I didn’t have between 7 and 10 old hard drives just sitting around collecting dust in boxes right now. I can tell you first hand that most of them, if not all of them, likely still have plenty of life left in them having been discarded simply because we picked up another one with more space.
What if a cloud storage company could be given life that takes these old drives and puts them to good use until they’ve TRULY “bought the farm”. Some of them could have many years of service remaining on their MTBF.
Naturally their presense would have to be augmented with a healthy dose of solid, brand new hardware, and you might have a hard time convincing big money people (to say nothing of the general consumer) that its a reliable place to store your stuff, but I see these more as marketing and messaging issues than one based in technological fact. You could, theoretically configure the arrays at the highest raid level – RAID 60 – therefore shielding yourself from catastrophic data killing outages.
Anyway… just a thought.