Reddit user acquires decommissioned Netflix cache server, finds 36 hard drives inside
An old Netflix server from 2013 packing 262TB of storageBy Shawn Knight 23 comments
Background: With more than 223 million subscribers, it should come as no surprise that Netflix is responsible for a large chunk of daily Internet traffic. To help keep the service operating smoothly, Netflix utilizes a content delivery network known as Open Connect that consists of an array of local servers containing copies of video content.
Storing content in close geographical proximity to viewers helps to ensure speedy delivery but with so many subscribers and so much content, it's requires loads of storage. Netflix supplies plenty of documentation about Open Connect but doesn't provide a ton of information about the hardware powering the servers. That's where Reddit comes in.
A user that works for a large ISP recently had the opportunity to acquire a decommissioned Netflix Open Connect server from circa 2013 and couldn't say no. The Reddit user, PoisonWaffle3, knew Netflix had wiped the serve clean, that they ran FreeBSD and contained lots of storage drives but that's about it.
Removing three screws and taking the top panel off revealed a "pretty standard" Supermicro motherboard, a single Intel Xeon E5 2650L v2 processor (10 cores / 20 threads), 64GB of DDR3 RAM, a whopping 36 Western Digital (formerly HGST) hard drives (7200 RPM, 8TB each), six 500GB Micron SSDs, a quad-port 10-gigabit Ethernet NIC, four LSI SAS9211-8I controllers and a pair of 750 watt power supplies.
Related reading: Against All Odds: How Netflix Made It
The new owner said the rig is a little on the loud side but aims to swap out the four standard case fans for models from Noctua to help cut down on noise. In total, the system boasts 262TB of raw storage. Early testing has revealed just one bad drive.
PoisonWaffle3 was open to suggestions on what to do with the rig and even said a second machine is available, which could come in handy for spare parts. How would you use a rig with this much storage? Suggestions floated on Reddit include a Plex media server or a mining rig for Chia, a storage-based cryptocurrency.
Image credit: PoisonWaffle3