back to article FYI: Alibaba Cloud says it has robot sysadmins that swap faulty disks in four minutes

Alibaba claims its online marketplace coped with a peak load of 583,000 orders per second on this year's Singles Day, China’s internet shopping frenzy event akin to Cyber Monday. The web giant's traffic hit that high watermark 26 seconds after sales opened at midnight on November 11, we're told. The biz also claimed its “ …

  1. Lars Silver badge

    Try to do that using Windows.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows don't have anything to grab hold of the disks with, or wheels (unless on the back of a lorry) to move about on, so don't think they will be able to change faulty disks.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It should come with a robotic leg and soft shoe to save the odd dropped disk.

    Wonder if these storage arrays are shielded against EM pulses like massive CME spikes?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, I noticed that Amazon UK had the iPlay20 Android tablet at 135 quid, I wonder what it is on Alibaba?

    ... around $100, so 75 quid plus sales tax about 89 quid.

    Gee I wonder why Alibaba sells so well and Amazon sells relative badly? It's a real puzzler!

    1. NeilPost Silver badge

      Is that in bulk???

      ... plus shipping, plus import duty, plus locally applicable taxes.

  4. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Hierarchical storage management

    Next thing we know, robots will be swapping out good drives and storing them in off-line caddies.

    I suppose the reason they won't is poor connector life.


    "It should come with a robotic leg and soft shoe to save the odd dropped disk."

    Ha, who needs a caddy if a robot is good at juggling?

    1. JacobZ

      Re: Hierarchical storage management

      Funnily enough, I proposed a patent for both of these things to my employer several years ago. There was no prior art nor competing patents at the time. Nobody was interested, basically the response was "there's no value in that, it'll never happen".


      1. Bitsminer Silver badge

        Re: Hierarchical storage management

        Massive Array of Idle Disks.....MAID.

        SGI was selling that a few years ago. They bought some company, and relaballed it as their own. Not sure they sold much. I did have a quote from them once. For a petabyte, back in the days when that was a lot of storage.

        If you google it, there is even an article from El Reg from a few years ago, and some papers from 2002.

        IIRC, there was no robot, just electrically switched SATA drives, and some erasure coding.

        1. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: Hierarchical storage management

          The robot swapping drives is as plausible as Amazon Drones delivering shit.

          In the real world, you would have something much simpler with a standard storage racking and a simpler frame based removal and swap automation tool.

          It’s a neat free PR video, but rather R2D2 impracticality.

  5. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Ahhh, somebody is a BOFH fan. Put a disk-swapping robot in a data centre to "swap out" faulty hard drives, but said robot is also equipped with several "features", some lethal, some not, to keep folks away from your illegal stash of money/drugs/diamonds etc....

    I'll wait for the Rise of the Machines to commence soon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Leathal "features"? Heavens no! Robots are dangerous, though, and it's such a tragedy that our head accountant ignored the warning lights and signs around the robot. Not to speak ill of the departed, but he really should have been more careful.

      Maybe if he wasnt carrying an armload of paper (paper that looked like an equipment audit report, which sadly burned in the post accident fire), he would have been more observant.

  6. EVP
    Thumb Up

    “...event tried to go greener by using less tape on packing material to make it easier to recycle.“

    What a relief.

    (I’m leaving out the title to make it easier to recycle this post.)

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Gosh ...

    ... they've re-imagined tape robotics or the jukebox. How clever.

    I had a 10 CD autochanger in the boot of my car 20 years ago. It could work at bloody cold to bloody hot, dusty environment whilst going around a corner at *cough* the speed limit on a bumpy road.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gosh ...

      I think the smart part is that the robots can handle the cradle's open and close mechanism, which suggests it was cheaper to make the robots smart than to design and use custom cradles for this automation.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Gosh ...

        Seems probable; hundreds of drives per cabinet vs. one robot per cabinet.

      2. gotes

        Re: Gosh ...

        Yes, I was expecting a custom designed caddy system, but it looks pretty standard. I like the wobble as it inserts the new drive.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    defective what?

    Now just hope that whomever wrote the code for the robot removing defective DISKS didn't misspell it in their code as dicks...

  9. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    The racks are for human use.

    Note the robot's behaviour on insertion. It slightly misses the slot first time, and raises the drive a snidge and tries again. Then it actually gently wiggles it side-to-side to get it in with no snags.

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