There is always a tension inside companies about whether to build or to buy, whatever the need. A few years ago Dropbox decided it was going to move the majority of its infrastructure requirements from AWS into its own data centers. As you can imagine, it took a monumental effort, but the company believed that the advantages of controlling its own destiny would be worth all of the challenges they faced to get there.
For starters, a company like Dropbox is dealing with a huge number of customers storing an enormous amount of data. The latest numbers are 500 million users and 200,000 business customers. When they made the transition, they had to move an epic 500 petabytes — that’s five followed by 17 zeros — that had been sitting on AWS servers. (They still use AWS for some workloads.)
The first step was building the infrastructure to replace it. We’re talking
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