Half a billion people store photos videos and other files on Dropbox but until recently those were sitting in someone else’s cloud, Amazon’s to be exact. But Dropbox now has its own super storage service and has taken back 500 PB of data from Amazon. Though many thought the relationship between the two would last forever, Dropbox took everyone by surprise with their recent announcement, specially Amazon. Until now it was unthinkable for a cloud based storage startup to operate without the Amazon Web Service, but Dropbox decided it was time they moved away from the giant and become more self reliant as they took back 90% of their data back.
Dropbox has grown to be one of the most successful startup and it currently valued at $10 billion. With great promises and performance to deliver, Dropbox realised back in 2013 that it would eventually need its own storage system. Currently with 500 million users and 500 PB data to store, they finally set up their custom cloud based storage server. The hardwares are dense and powerful, and designed from scratch just for their need. Each box can store 1 PB of data, that’s 1 million GB! They are so heavy that a rack of box weighs as much as a small car, and only 8 box can fit in a rack. Vice president of infrastructure, Akhil Gupta, realized that the company’s need for storage capacity is unique and requires a custom scalable solution with more control. “The scale that we’re operating on is one that very few other companies will get to,” Gupta said, and it makes sense. Now with their own solution, Dropbox can offer better user experience as well as be independent.
Dropbox Is a fraction of the size of its competitor’s Amazon, Microsoft and Google, and also much newer in the game. Though the move might seem risky, it does also hold a great return on investment for Dropbox. There aren’t many companies out there who are dealing with petabytes of data in the market and for the few who do, public servers might not be enough. Public servers are generally great for business, if the size of data is not significant enough to invest in hardware. Cloud servers can offer storage services without the need for hardwares, but can put additional cost as volume goes up. There is no clear guideline to what point it would be good to switch from public cloud service to private one, as both has its ups and downs. Dropbox is still taking a small portion of its storage service from Amazon and will continue to do so for the near future.
Over the years, there has been many companies who provide cloud based tools and pre-built software service to business. There has been an increase in demand for platforms to work on, and Dropbox can now enter that battle too. With their innovative engineer and development of the “Diskotech” custom hard-drive, Dropbox can now also offer reliable platforms for others explore. But this won’t be easy. The company will face increasing competition from Amazon and Google and Microsoft as they continue to expand into pre-built software. In fact, these giants are already challenging the likes of Dropbox and Box with their own file-sharing tools. However, Dropbox has been a team of successful and smart engineers who know what to do, and backed by some solid investments. The company is aware of the direction it wishes to pursue and is equipping itself with all the gears needed.