SE Radio 285: James Cowling on Dropbox’s Distributed Storage System

Venue: Dropbox headquarters, San Francisco
James Cowling of Dropbox (architect of their distributed storage system), speaks to Robert Blumen about their move from Amazon’s S3 to their own infrastructure; The show covers: the size, scope and scale of Dropbox’s data management; their experience on Amazon’s S3; why S3 over time did not meet their needs; how the decision was made to build their own; the architecture of Magic Pocket; building the skill sets they needed but did not have at the time; are layer violations ever a good thing?; his team’s “zero errors” policy; the important of invariants; how devops (sre) made the move easier; how they migrated; a brief excursion into the hardware side; what can engineers learn from this migration that will apply to other migrations (even smaller ones)?

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  • THis episode skips quite a lot. The distortion in the sound is periodic, rhythmic, ( if that helps work out the problem ) every few seconds or so.

    it was bad enough to stop me listening a few minutes in.

    I hope it gets fixed. I love the show and tune in all the time to pick up advice, tips on contemporary challenges and to hear about emerging concepts. Keep up the great and valuable work.


  • Good episode. The article on WIRED is also a good read.

    There are some sound glitches in the beginning, but more than 90% are good quality.

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