Dropbox now has its own in-house storage system to meet the demands of its growing number of users and customers.
The company decided to start building its own storage system in 2013 and initially set out to launch it in early 2015.
In October, the company said it had successfully reached its target of serving 90 percent of its data through its in-house storage system.
"Our goal was to serve 90 percent of our data from in-house infrastructure by Oct. 30, 2015," says Akhil Gupta, Dropbox's vice president of Infrastructure, in a blog post. "We actually hit the mark almost a month early, on Oct. 7, 2015. The team not only delivered on time, but also achieved this significant technical undertaking without any major service disruptions or any loss of data."
According to Gupta, there are two kinds of data that are stored by Dropbox. Using a hybrid cloud architecture, the company was able to store file content, the first type of data, on Amazon. The other type, the metadata about files and users, is then hosted in data centers that they manage.
Gupta reveals that Dropbox is one of the early adopters of Amazon S3 and credits Amazon Web Services (AWS) as an invaluable partner for the company's rapid growth.
Over time, the company saw the need to keep up with the increasing growth in the number of its users and customers. Dropbox now has more than 500 million signups and 500 petabytes of user data. The company felt the need to seriously invest in building its own in-house storage system even if it meant building everything from scratch.
Dropbox explained the reasons behind the move. In-house storage allows the company to customize its full stack end-to-end, which eventually delivers enhanced performance, something it considers as one of its key product differentiators. The move also allows the company to gain better unit economics through scale and use case leveraging and customization of both the hardware and software.
The new in-house storage is just the beginning as Dropbox plans to deliver more innovative solutions in the future. The company will continue investing in its own infrastructure and will maintain its partnership with Amazon for the sake of global users.
Toward the latter part of the year, Dropbox intends to expand its collaboration with AWS by adding Germany as a data storing location, where it will cater to business customers from Europe.