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Western Digital bought Upthere, and just sent its software out there

Storage company's core project joins the GitHub undead

Western Digital has taken software acquired with personal storage outfit Upthere in 2017, packed it gently in a wicker basket, and laid it at the door of a GitHub orphanage.

It's a far cry from WD's bullish boast that its acquisition had created "a new and better way to keep, find and share what's important and meaningful to consumers".

Yell at cloud

Whatchu doin' Upthere? Western Digital moves on cloud storage space


Founded by former Apple OS X product marketing guru Chris Bordon, Upthere looked like yet another personal cloud drive company, but touted having built an "entirely new core technology" that could store "lifetimes of data".

Coders can now test those claims for themselves, because Western Digital has decided not to put its own devs on the project and published Upthere's Blb on GitHub.

"Blb was originally developed at Upthere (a cloud storage service) as the intended storage system for most of our bulk data. It ran in production for several months, although not as the sole storage system. In September 2017, Upthere was acquired by Western Digital, and it was decided to pause development on Blb and move data to other storage systems," the GitHub repo noted.

"Although Blb is not being actively developed as a production system, its authors plan to continue improving the system in their spare time as an educational project."

The authors describe their Go implementation of Blb as a distributed object store "designed for use on bare metal in cluster computing environments", and there's also a client library in Go.

The basic architecture is that blobs are broken up into 8MB "tracts", spread across storage nodes. Each node runs a "tractserver" to manage its storage, and above the tractservers, "curators" that store tract locations.

"Curators store their metadata in an embedded database (Bolt DB) and use the Raft protocol to guarantee consistency of updates across replicas," the notes say.

Upthere's idea was that to scale Blb clusters, admins just had to add more curators.

The new maintainers of the project hope to keep it going, if they can attract contributors. ®

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