Today Dropbox released a blog post announcing their multi-year effort to bring their file storage in-house and almost completely off of Amazon S3. They have kept their metadata services in-house since the beginning. Had they not announced it, nobody except Amazon and Dropbox would have known.
The very definition of a successful IT Engineering project.
During this simple blog post they also highlighted what truly competent IT Operations staff do every day.
- They used the best tools for the job to solve their problem.
When Dropbox started they had nowhere near the expertise to build out a storage infrastructure that would scale at a pace to suite their customers’ needs. So they used Amazon S3 to solve their scalability issues. It worked like a dream.
And all the while they were gathering data and figuring out what was important to their application from the view of their infrastructure.
- They adapted as they learned more
Dropbox has grown to over half-a-billion users and 500 petabytes of data since 2008.
They started their ‘Magic Pocket’ project to bring their data in-house in 2013. That means they have SPENT HALF OF THEIR COMPANY’S LIFE WORKING ON THIS SOLUTION.
They spent years cultivating data on how to build the best-performing infrastructure for their unique use case. And then they spent years developing it. In a world consumed with ‘release early, release often’ they decided to take the tack that defined success for them.
- They didn’t get caught up in buzzwords.
Obviously they haven’t released details on this new infrastructure. But I would bet anyone lunch that this infrastructure isn’t ‘hyperconverged’. It’s going to end up being a properly tuned, layered, robust infrastructure.
They also didn’t ‘rush to the cloud’. They actually moved AWAY from Amazon. While they will adopt a Hybrid Cloud approach for at least some of their regions (details were a little fuzzy), they have in-housed 90% of their data at this point.
Dropbox IS a cloud application. It has an API, and mobile apps, and a clean interface and everything else a cloudy thing is supposed to have. But here they are solving their problems with a good solution tailored to their needs instead of the latest buzzword. There’s no school like the old school. Sometimes. As long as the old school is in a container to future-proof it.