never underestimate the bandwidth of a van full of hard drives

vox, avatar

reminds me of factotrio’s cars on belts…

okawari avatar

Reminds me of AWS Snowmobile, which is literally a shipping container filled with harddrives.


I'm somewhat surprised to learn that each Snowmobile unit is only about 100PB in a 45x8x9.6ft highwall shipping container

Gonna ballpark in stupid units to see how wrong my intuition that that's not very dense is:

Assuming dense but not hot new thing spinning rust, 16TB per 34.5 cubic inch standard 3.5" disc.

(100PB/16TB)*2 (assume at least two spindle redundant) is about 12,000 discs, so about 414,000 cubic inches of just discs without any of the supporting equipment.

A highwall shipping container is like 5,900,000 cubic inches, so only like 7% of that thing would be discs.

Or, accommodating a little bit of the support, let's say it's just full of those commodity 90-bay 4U storage servers. Those are 19" x 7" x 26.4" (3511.2 cubic inches) for 1440 raw TB each, again 2 spindle redundancy so you'd need about 140 of the things for 100PB, round up to 500,000 cubic inches of those... still less than 9%.

Yeah, unless I did my math radically wrong, that's surprisingly not very dense.

okawari avatar

Yeah, it really sounds a bit low. I'm not sure what else goes into these containers. I assume there might also be a bunch of portable equipment and cabling that goes into moving the data in and out of the container? Power infrastructure and cooling and what probably takes up quite a bit of space as well.

Kerb, avatar

Id assume rhey put in some standard racks on shock absorbers and more redundancy than usual,
And wired all that up to acentral input.

Its probably not build to minmax the capacity,
but to fit the largest usecases.

cptapathetic, (edited )

There's also versions at smaller scales that Google and Amazon have. A lot of times even less than 10TB of data can be easier to physically ship than to upload since you may have to saturate your connection for while for that which isn't feasible for many especially businesses


We have 1 TB microSDs. A pigeon could probably carry at least 100. If I did my math right(which i probably didn't), if it takes 24 hours of travel that's still a 8Gb/s connection.


I also like the Definitions of RFC2324 -

This document describes HTCPCP, a protocol for controlling, monitoring, and diagnosing coffee pots.


The bandwidth is probably amazing. How many micro-SD cards could a pigeon safely carry?


I did some very rough math here:


Unfortunately this protocol is vulnerable to FITM (Falcon-In-The-Middle) attacks.


Relevant xkcd What If?


Never underestimate the bandwidth of a semi truck full of SD cards.




"Bird internet"


This is an example of internet speed meaning two very different things


Latency vs Throughput!

ICastFist, avatar

Man, these always fly right over my firewalls!


My packets were intercepted by a cat

BurningCat avatar

How would that work when birds aren't even real??

PenguinLover, avatar approves this comment


Since they are government drones, they might as well ship USBs everywhere they go


Bird's don't eat worms, they charge off secret buried worm-textured USB cables.


That's why it's important to encrypt your data in coconuts before utilizing avian carriers

Ronno avatar

Isn't this what Twitter is doing? /s

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