Anyone just starting out with the cloud is going to need answers to some basic questions.
The first, of course, is what exactly is the cloud? Put simply, the cloud is a collection of purpose built servers. These servers could perform one or more services (storage, compute, database, email, web, etc.) and could exist anywhere as long as they’re accessible to whomever needs to use them.
The next important question to ask is whether the servers are in a private cloud or a public cloud. This distinction is often tied to where the servers are located, but more precisely, it reflects who uses the servers and how they use them.
What is Private Cloud?
If the servers are owned by and dedicated to only one tenant (user) or group of related tenants, they are in a private cloud. The private cloud is typically on-site (or on-prem or on-premises in IT lingo), but it could be off-site, as well. The owner is responsible for the management and maintenance of the servers and for planning for future capacity and performance to meet the needs of its users. This planning usually involves long lead times to add additional hardware and services (electricity, broadband, cooling, etc.) to meet the future demand.
What is Public Cloud?
In a public cloud, the servers are shared between multiple unrelated tenants (users). A public cloud is off-site (or off-prem or off-premises). Public clouds are typically owned by a vendor who sells access to servers that are co-located with many servers providing services to many users. Users contract with the vendor for the services they need. The user isn’t responsible for capital expenses, data is backed up regularly, and customers only have to pay for the resources they use. If their needs change, they can add or remove capacity very quickly and easily by requesting changes from the vendor who reserves additional resources to meet demand from its clients.
Differences: Private Cloud vs Public Cloud
On-premises or off-premises
Capital cost to set up and maintain
No capital cost
High IT overhead
Low IT overhead
Fully private network
Possible under utilization
Scalable with demand
Which Cloud is Right For You?
If you’re a big company or organization with special computing needs, you know whether you need to keep your data in a private data center. For businesses in certain industries, for example, government or medical, the decision to host in a private or public cloud will be determined by regulation. These requirements could mandate the use of a private cloud, but there are more and more specialized off-premises clouds with the necessary security and management to support regulated industries.
The public cloud is the cloud of choice for those whose needs don’t yet include building a dedicated data center, or who like the flexibility, scalability, and cost of public cloud offerings. If the organization has a global reach, it also provides an easy way to connect with customers in diverse locations with minimal effort.
The growing number of vendors and variety of public cloud services indicate that the trend is definitely in favor of using the public cloud when possible. Even big customers are increasingly using the public cloud due to its undeniable advantages in rapid scaling, flexibility, and cost savings.
Enter Multi Cloud and Hybrid Cloud
For some, a combination of clouds could provide the best solution. Using multiple public cloud vendors (multi cloud) for independent tasks and duties can provide redundancy and cost savings. The data centers and infrastructure can be spread out geographically to decrease the risk of service loss or disaster, and it makes sense financially to store the second or third copy of data with an additional vendor that offers a good and reliable service at a lower cost.
Hybrid cloud refers to the presence of multiple deployment types (public or private) with some form of integration or orchestration between them. The hybrid cloud differs from multi cloud in that in the hybrid cloud the components work together while in the multi cloud they remain separate. An organization might choose the hybrid cloud to have the ability to rapidly expand its storage or computing when necessary for planned or unplanned spikes in demand, such as occur during holiday seasons for a retailer, or during a service outage at the primary data center. We wrote about the hybrid cloud in a previous post, Confused About the Hybrid Cloud? You’re Not Alone.
Choose the Best Cloud Model For Your Needs
For businesses in highly regulated industries, the decision to host in a private or public cloud will likely be determined by regulation. For most businesses and organizations, the important factors in selecting a cloud will be cost, accessibility, reliability, and scalability. Whether the private or public cloud, or some combination, offers the best solution for your needs will depend on your type of business, regulations, budget, and future plans. The good news is that there are a wide variety of choices to meet just about any use case or budget.
Once the hot new marketing strategy, content marketing has lost some of its luster. If you follow marketing newsletters and blogs, you’ve likely even seen the claim that content marketing is dead. Some say it’s no longer effective because consumers are oversaturated with content. Others feel that much of content marketing is too broad a strategy and it’s more effective to target those who can directly affect the behavior of others using influencer marketing. Still others think that the hoopla over content marketing is over and money is better spent on keyword purchases, social media, SEO, and other techniques to direct customers into the top of the marketing funnel.
Backblaze has had its own journey of discovery in figuring out which kind of marketing would help it grow from a small backup and cloud storage business to a serious competitor to Amazon, Google, and Microsoft and other storage and cloud companies. Backblaze’s story provides a useful example of how a company came to content marketing after rejecting or not finding success using a number of other marketing approaches. Content marketing worked for Backblaze in large part due to the culture of the company, which will reinforce our argument a little bit later that content marketing is a lot about your company culture. But first things first: what exactly is content marketing?
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the practice of creating, publishing, and sharing content with the goal of building the reputation and visibility of your brand.
The goal of content marketing is to get customers to come to you by providing them with something they need or enjoy. Once you have their attention, you can promote (overtly or covertly) whatever it is you wish to sell to them.
Conceptually, content marketing is similar to running a movie theatre. The movie gets people into the theatre where they can be sold soft drinks, popcorn, Mike & Ikes and Raisinets, which is how theatre owners make most of their money, not from ticket sales. Now you know why movie theatre snacks and drinks are so expensive; they have to cover the cost of the loss leader, the movie itself, as well as give the owner some profit.
The Growth of Content Marketing
Marketing in recent years has increasingly become a game of metrics. Marketers today have access to a wealth of data about customer and marketing behavior and an ever growing number of apps and tools to quantify and interpret that data. We have all this data because marketing has become largely an online game and it’s fairly easy to collect behavioral data when users interact with websites, emails, webinars, videos, and podcasts. Metrics existed before for conventional mail campaigns and the like, and focus groups provided some confirmation of what marketers guessed was true, but it was generally a matter of manually counting heads, responses, and sales. Now that we’re online, just adding snippets of code to websites, apps, and emails can provide a wealth of information about consumers’ behavior. Conversion, funnel, nurturing, and keyword ranking are in the daily lexicon of marketers who look to numbers to demystify consumer behavior and justify the funding of their programs.
A trend contrary to marketing metrics grew in importance alongside the metrics binge and that trend is modern content marketing. While modern content marketing takes advantage of the immediacy and delivery vehicles of the internet, content marketing itself is as old as any marketing technique. It isn’t close to being the world’s oldest profession, but it does go back to the first attempts by humans to lure consumers to products and services with a better or more polished pitch than the next guy.
Benjamin Franklin used his annual Poor Richard’s Almanack as early as 1732 to promote his printing business and made sure readers knew where his printing shop was located. Farming equipment manufacturer John Deere put out the first issue of The Furrow in 1895. Today it has a circulation of 1.5 million in 40 countries and 12 different languages.
One might argue that long before these examples, stained glass windows in medieval cathedrals were another example of content marketing. They presented stories that entertained and educated and were an enticement to bring people to services.
Much later, the arrival of the internet and the web, and along with them, fast and easy content creation and easy consumer targeting, fueled the rapid growth of content marketing. We now have many more types of media beyond print suitable for content marketing, including social media, blogs, video, photos, podcasts and the like, which enabled content marketing to gain even more power and importance.
What’s the Problem With So Much Content Marketing?
If content marketing is so great, why are we hearing so many statements about content marketing being dead? My view is that content marketing isn’t any more dead now than in was in Benjamin Franklin’s time, and people aren’t going to stop buying popcorn at movie theaters. The problem is that there is so much content marketing that doesn’t reach its potential because it is empty and meaningless.
Unfortunately, too many people who are running content marketing programs have the same mindset as the people running poor metrics marketing programs. They look at what’s worked in the past for themselves or others and assume that repeating an earlier campaign will be as successful as the original. The approach that’s deadly for content marketing is to think that since a little is good, more must be better, and more of the very same thing.
When content marketing isn’t working, it’s usually not the marketing vehicle that’s to blame, it’s the content itself. Hollywood produces some great and creative content that gets people into theaters, but it also produces a lot of formulaic, repetitive garbage that falls flat. If a content marketing campaign is just following a formula and counting on repeating a past success, no amount of obscure performance metric optimization is going to make the content itself any better. That applies just as much to marketing technology products as it does to marketing Hollywood movies.
When content marketing isn’t working, it’s usually not the marketing vehicle that’s to blame, it’s the content itself.
The screenwriter William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, Marathon Man, The Princess Bride) once famously said, “In Hollywood, no one knows anything.” He meant that no matter how much experience a producer or studio might have, it’s hard to predict what’s going to resonate with an audience because what always resonates is what is fresh and authentic, which are the hardest qualities to judge in any content and eludes simple formulas. Movie remakes sometimes work, but more often they fail to capture something that audiences responded to in the original: a fresh concept, great performances by engaged actors, an inspired director, and a great script. Just reproducing the elements in a previous success doesn’t guarantee success. The experience in the new version has to capture the magic in the original that appealed to the audience.
The Dissatisfaction With So Much Content
A lot of content just dangles an attractive hook to entice content consumers to click, and that’s all it does. Anyone can post a cute animal video or a suggestive or revealing photo, but it doesn’t do anything to help your audience understand who you are or help solve their problems.
Unfortunately for media consumers, clickbait works in simply getting users to click, which is the reason it hasn’t disappeared. As long as people click on the enticing image, celebrity reference, or promised secret revelation, we’ll have to suffer with clickbait. Even worse, clickbait is often used to tip the scales of value from the reader, where it belongs, to the publisher. Many viral tests, quizzes and celebrity slideshows plant advertising cookies that benefit the publisher by increasing the cost and perceived value of advertising on their site, leaving the consumer feeling that they’ve been used, which of course is exactly what has happened.
Another, and I think more important reason that content marketing isn’t succeeding for many is not that it’s not interesting or even useful, but that the content isn’t connected in a meaningful way with the content publisher. Just posting memes, how-tos, thought pieces, and stories unrelated to who you are as a business, or not reflecting who your employees are and the values you hold as a company, doesn’t do anything to connect your visitors to you. Empty content is like empty calories in junk food; it doesn’t nourish and strengthen the relationship you should be building with your audience.
Is SEO the Enemy?
SEO is not the enemy, but focusing on only some superficial SEO tactics above other approaches is not going to create a long term bond with your visitors. Keyword stuffing and optimization can damage the user experience if the user feels manipulated. Google might still bring people to your content as a result of these techniques, but it’s a hollow relationship that has no staying power. When you create quality content that your audience will like and will recommend to others, you produce backlinks and social signals what will improve your search rankings, which is the way to win in SEO.
Despite all the supposed secret formulas and tricks to get high search engine ranking, the real secret is that Google loves quality content and will reward it, so that’s the smart SEO strategy to follow.
What is Good Content Marketing?
Similar to coming up with an idea for the next movie blockbuster to get people into theaters, content marketing is about creating good and useful content that entertains, educates, creates interest, or is useful in some way. It works best when it is the kind of content that people want to share with others. The viral effect will compound the audience you earn. That’s why content marketing has really taken off in the age of social media. Word-of-mouth and good write-ups have always propelled good content, but they are nothing compared to the effect viral online sharing can have on a good blog post, video, photograph, meme or other content.
How do you create this great content? We’re going to cover three steps that will take you from ho-hum content marketing to good and possibly even great content marketing. If you follow these three steps, you’ll be ahead of 90 percent of the businesses out there that are trying to crack the how-to of content marketing.
First — Start with Why You Do What You Do
Simon Sinek in his book, Start with Why, and in his presentations, especially his TED Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, argues that people don’t base their purchasing decisions primarily on what a company does, but on why they do it. This might be hard to envision for some products, like toothpaste or laundry detergent, but I think it does apply to every purchase we make, even if in some cases it’s to a small degree. For some things it’s much more apparent. People identify with iOS or Android, Ford or Chevy, Ducati or Suzuki, based on much more than practical considerations of price, effectiveness, and other qualities. People want to use products and services that bolster their image of who they are, or who they want to be. Some companies are great at using this desire (Apple, BMW, Nike, Sephora, Ikea, Whole Foods, REI) and have a distinct identity that is the foundation for every message they put out. ￼
To communicate the why of your products and services, you can’t just put out generic content that works for anyone. You have to produce content that shows specifically who you are. The best content marketing is cultural. The content you deliver tells your audience what kind of company you are, what your values are, who are the people in the company, and why they work there and do the things they do. That means you must be authentic and transparent. That takes courage, and isn’t easy, which is why so few companies are good at it. It takes vision, leadership, and a constant reminder from company leaders of what you’re doing and why it matters.
Unfortunately, this is hard to maintain as companies grow. The organizations that have grown dramatically and yet successfully maintained the core company values have either had a charismatic leader who represented and reiterated the company’s values at every opportunity (Apple), or have built them into every communication, event, and presentation by the company, no matter who is delivering them (Salesforce).
If your company isn’t good at this, don’t despair. These skills can be learned, so if your company needs to get better at understanding and communicating the why of who they are, there’s still hope that with some effort, it can still happen.
Second — Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes
You not only need to understand yourself and your company and present yourself authentically, you have to really understand your customer — really, really understand your customer. That takes time, research, and empathy to walk a mile in their shoes. You need to visit your customers, spend a day fielding support calls or working customer service, go places, do things, and ask questions that you’ve never asked. Are they well off with cash to burn, or do they count every penny? Do they live for themselves, their parents, their children, their community, their church, their livelihood? How could your company help them solve their problems or make their lives better?
The best marketers have imagination and empathy. They, like novelists, playwrights, and poets, are able to imagine what it would be like to live like someone else. Some marketing organizations formalize this function by having one person who is assigned to represent the customers and always advocate for their interests. This can help prevent falling into the mindset of thinking of the customer only as a source of revenue or problems that have to be solved.
One common marketing technique is to create a persona or personas that represent your ideal customer(s). What is their age, sex, occupation? What are their interests, fears, etc.? This can help make sure that the customer is never just an unknown face or potential revenue source, but instead is a real person whom you need to be close to and understand as deeply as possible.
Once you’ve made the commitment to understand your customers, you’re ready to help solve their problems.
Third — Focus on Solving Your Customers’ Problems
Once you have your authentic voice down and you really know who your customer is and how they think, the third thing you need to do is focus on providing useful content. Useful content for your customers is content that solves a real problem they have. What’s causing them pain or what’s impeding them doing what they need or want to do? The customer may or may not know they have this pain. You might be creating a new need or desire for them by telling a story about how their life will be if they only had this thing, service, or experience. Help them dream of being on a riverboat in Europe, enjoying the pool in their backyard on a summer’s day, or showing off a new mobile phone to their friends at work.
By speaking to the needs of your customers, you’re helping them solve problems, but also forging a bond of trust and usefulness that will go forward in your relationship with them.
Mastering Blogging for Content Marketing
There are many ways to create and deliver content that is authentic and serves a need. Podcasts, Vlogs, events, publications, words, pictures, music, and videos all can be effective delivery vehicles for quality content. Let’s focus on one vehicle that can return exceptional results when done right, and that is blogging, which has worked well for Backblaze.
Backblaze billboard on Highway 101 in Silicon Valley
Backblaze decided early on that it would be as transparent as possible in its business practices. That meant that if there were no good reason not to release information, the company should release it, and the blog became the place where the company made that information public. Backblaze’s CEO Gleb Budman wrote about this commitment to transparency, and the results from it, in a blog post in 2017, The Decision on Transparency. An early example of this transparency is a 2010 post in which Backblaze analyzed why a proposed acquisition of the company failed, Backblaze online backup almost acquired — Breaking down the breakup. Companies rarely write about acquisitions that fall through.
Backblaze’s blog really took off in 2015 when the company decided to publish the statistics it had collected on the failure rate of hard drives in its data centers, Reliability Data Set For 41,000 Hard Drives Now Open Source. While many cloud companies routinely collected this kind of data, including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, none had ever made it public. It turned out that readers were tremendously hungry for data on how hard drives performed, and Backblaze’s blog readership subsequently increased by hundreds of thousands of readers. Readers analyzed the drive failure data and debated which drives were the best for their own purposes. This was despite Backblaze’s disclaimer that how Backblaze used hard drives in its data centers didn’t really reflect how the drives would perform in other applications, including homes and businesses. Customers didn’t care. They were starved for the information and waited anxiously for the release of each new Drive Stats post.
It Turns Out That Blogging with Authenticity and Transparency is Rewarded
As Gilmore and Pine wrote in their book, Authenticity, “People increasingly see the world in terms of real and fake, and want to buy something real from someone genuine, not a fake from some phony.” How do you convince your customers that you’re real and genuine? The simple answer is to communicate honestly about who you are, which means sometimes telling them about your failures and mistakes and owning up to less than stellar performances by yourself or your company. Consider lifting the veil occasionally to reveal who you are. If you put the customer first, that shouldn’t be too hard even when you fall short. If your intentions are good, being transparent will almost always be rewarded with forgiveness and greater trust and loyalty from your customers.
Many companies created blogs thinking they had to because everyone else was and they started posting articles by their executives and product marketers going on about how great their products were. Then they were surprised when they got little traffic. These people didn’t get the message about how content should be used to help customers with their problems and build a relationship with them through authenticity and transparency.
If you have a blog, you could use that as a place to write about how you do business, the lessons you’ve learned, and yes, even the mistakes you’ve made. Don’t assume that all your company information needs to be protected. If at all possible, write about the tough issues and why you made the decisions you did. Your customers will respond because they don’t see that kind of frankness elsewhere and because they appreciate understanding the kind of company they’re paying for the product or service.
Your Blog Isn’t One Audience of Thousands or Millions, But Many Audiences of One
Don’t be afraid to write to a specific audience or group on your blog. You might have multiple audiences, but you might have specialized ones, as well. When you’re writing to an audience with specialized vocabulary or acronyms, don’t be afraid to use them. Other readers will recognize that the post is not for them and skip over it, or they’ll use it as an entry to a new area that interests them. If you try to make all your posts suitable for a homogeneous reader, you’ll end up with many readers leaving because you’re not speaking directly to them using their language.
If the piece is aimed at a novice or general audience, definitely take the time to explain unfamiliar concepts and spell out abbreviations and acronyms that might not be familiar to the reader. However, if the piece is aimed at a professional audience, you should avoid doing that because the reader might think that the post isn’t aimed at professionals and they could dismiss the post and the blog thinking it’s not suitable for them.
Strive to match the content, vocabulary, graphics, technical argot, and level of reading to the intended market segment. The goal is to make each reader feel that the piece was written specifically for him or her.
Taking Just OK Content Marketing and Making It Great
Authenticity, honesty, frankness, and sincerity are all qualities that to some degree or other are present in the best content. Unfortunately, marketers have the reputation for producing content that’s at the opposite end of the spectrum. Comedian George Burns could have been parodying a modern marketing course when he wrote, “To be a fine actor, you’ve got to be honest. And if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”
There’s a reason that the recommendation to be authentic sounds like advice you’d get from your mom or dad about how to behave on your first date. We all learn sooner or later that if someone doesn’t like you for who you are, there’s no amount of faking being someone else that will make them like you for more than just a little while.
Be yourself, say something that really means something to you, and tell a story that connects with your audience and gives them some value. Those intangibles are hard to measure in metrics, but, when done well, might earn you an honest response, some respect, and perhaps a repeat visit.
We’re very sorry to interrupt your time enjoying the beach, pool, and other fun outdoor and urban places.
We’ve got some important advice you need to hear so that you can be responsible students when you go back to school this fall.
Now that all the students have stopped listening and likely it’s just us now, I’d like to address the parents of students who are starting or about to return to school in the fall.
You’re likely spending a large amount of money on your children’s education. That money is well spent as it will help your child succeed and be good adults and citizens in the future. We’d like to help by highlighting something you can do to protect your investment, and that is to ensure the safety of your students’ data.
Our Lives Are Digital Now — Students’ Especially
We don’t have to tell you how everything in our lives has become digital. That’s true as well of schools and universities. Students now take notes, write papers, read, communicate, and record everything on digital devices.
You don’t want data damage or loss to happen to the important school or university files and records your child (and possible future U.S. president) has on his or her digital device.
Think about it.
Has your child ever forgotten a digital device in a vehicle, restaurant, or friend’s house?
We thought so.
How about water damage?
Yes, us too.
Did you ever figure out what that substance was clogging the laptop keyboard?
We’ve learned that parenting is full of unanswered questions, as well.
Maybe your student is ahead of the game and already has a plan for backing up their data while at school. That’s great, and a good sign that your student will succeed in life and maybe even solve some of the many challenges we’re leaving to their generation.
Parents Can Help
If not, you can be an exceptional parent by giving your student the gift of automatic and unlimited backup. Before they start school, you can install Backblaze Computer Backup on their Windows or Mac computer. It takes just a couple of minutes. Once that’s done, every time they’re connected to the internet all their important data will be automatically backed up to the cloud.
If anything happens to the computer, that file is safe and ready to be restored. It also could prevent that late night frantic call asking you to somehow magically find their lost data. Who needs that?
Let’s Hear From the Students Themselves
You don’t have to take our word for it. We asked two bona fide high school students who interned at Backblaze this summer for the advice they’d give to their fellow students.
My friends do not normally back up their data other than a few of them putting their important school work on Microsoft’s OneDrive.
With college essays, applications, important school projects and documents, there is little I am willing to lose.
I will be backing up my data when I get home for sure. Next year I will ensure that all of my data is backed up in two places.
After spending a week at Backblaze, I realized how important it is to keep your data safe.
Always save multiple copies of your data. Accidents happen and data gets lost, but it is much easier to recover if there is another copy saved somewhere reliable. Backblaze helps with this by keeping a regularly updated copy of your files in one of their secure data centers.
When backing up data, use programs that make sense and are easy to follow. Stress runs high when files are lost. Having a program like Backblaze that is simple and has live support certainly makes the recovery process more enjoyable.
Relax! The pressures of performing well at school are high. Knowing your files are safe and secure can take a little bit of the weight off your shoulders during such a stressful time.
I definitely plan on using Backblaze in the future and I think all students should.
We couldn’t have said it better. Having a solid backup plan is a great idea for both parents and students. We suggest using Backblaze Personal Backup, but the important thing is to have a backup plan for your data and act on it no matter what solution you’re using.
Learning to Back Up is a Good Life Lesson
Students have a lot to think about these days, and with all the responsibilities and new challenges they’re going to face in school, it’s easy for them to forget some of the basics. We hope this light reminder will be just enough to set them on the right backup track.
Have a great school year everyone!
P.S. If you know a student or the parent of a student going to school in the fall, why not share this post with them? You can use the Email or other sharing buttons to the left or at the bottom of this post.
There are many uses for the cloud, and many services that provide storage drives, sync, backup, and sharing. It’s hard for computer users to know which service is best for which use.
Every spring for the past twelve years we’ve commissioned an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll to help us understand if and how computer users are backing up. We’ve asked the same question, “How often do you backup all the data on your computer?” every year. We just published the results of the latest poll, which showed that more surveyed computer owners are backing up in 2019 than when we conducted our first poll in 2008. We’re heartened that more people are protecting their valuable files, photos, financial records, and personal documents.
This year we decided to ask a second question that would help us understand how the cloud compares to other backup destinations, such as external drives and NAS, and which cloud services are being used for backing up.
This was the question we asked:
What is the primary method you use to backup all of the data on your computer?
1 Cloud backup (e.g., Backblaze, Carbonite, iDrive) 2 Cloud drive (e.g., Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive) 3 Cloud sync (e.g., Dropbox, iCloud) 4 External hard drive (e.g., Time Machine, Windows Backup and Restore) 5 Network Attached Storage (NAS) (e.g., QNAP, Synology) 6 Other 7 Not sure
Where Computer Users are Backing Up
More than half of those who have ever backed up all the data on their computer (58 percent) indicated that they are using the cloud as one of the primary methods to back up all of the data on their computer. Nearly two in five (38 percent) use an external hard drive, and just 5 percent use network attached storage (NAS). (The total is greater than 100 percent because respondents were able to select multiple destinations.)
Backup Destinations (Among Those Who Have Ever Backed Up All Data on Their Computer)
What Type of Cloud is Being Used?
The survey results tell us that the cloud has become a popular destination for backing up data. Among those who have ever backed up all data on their computer, the following indicated what type of cloud service they used:
38 percent are using cloud drive (such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive)
21 percent are using cloud sync (such as Dropbox or Apple iCloud)
11 percent are using cloud backup (such as Backblaze Computer Backup)
Cloud Destinations (Among Those Who Have Ever Backed Up All Data on Their Computer)
Choosing the Best Cloud for Backups
Backblaze customers or regular readers of this blog will immediately recognize the issue in these responses. There’s a big difference in what type of cloud service you select for cloud backup. Both cloud drive and cloud sync services can store data in the cloud, but they’re not the same as having a real backup. We’ve written about these differences in our blog post, What’s the Diff: Sync vs Backup vs Storage, and in our guide, Online Storage vs. Online Backup.
Put simply, those who use cloud drive or cloud sync are missing the benefits of real cloud backup. These benefits can include automatic backup of all data on your computer, not being limited to just special folders or directories that can be backed up, going back to earlier versions of files, and not having files lost when syncing, such as when a shared folder gets deleted by someone else.
Cloud backup is specifically designed to protect your files, while the purpose of cloud drives and sync is to make it easy to access your files from different computers and share them when desired. While there is overlap in what these services offer and how they can be used, obtaining the best results requires selecting the right cloud service for your needs. If your goal is to back up your files, you want the service to seamlessly protect your files and make sure they’re available when and if you need to restore them due to data loss on your computer.
As users have more time and experience with their selected cloud service(s), it will be interesting in future polls to discover how happy they are with the various services and how well their needs are being met. We plan to cover this topic in our future polls.
• • •
Survey Method This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Backblaze from June 6-10, 2019 among 2,010 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,858 own a computer and 1,484 have ever backed up all data on their computer. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Backblaze.
For the past twelve years we’ve conducted an annual poll asking people the simple question, “How often do you backup all the data on your computer?” and published the results here on the blog. In 2009 we decided to make this an annual event and declared June to be Backup Awareness Month.
How We Are Doing
The good news from this year’s poll is that more computer owners than we’ve ever surveyed (four out of five) have backed up all the data on their computer. That’s up 4 percent from last year and up 15 percent from our first poll in 2008.
The fact that 20 percent of those who own a computer have never backed up all the data on the computer is still alarming, however, as they are vulnerable to losing important documents, photos, and other files. We still have work to do to reach all those people to convince them how easy and economical it is to protect their data through regular backups.
The trend is positive however, as according to the poll, most people back up more frequently now (whether yearly, monthly, weekly, or daily) than they did in 2008.
Key Takeaways From Our Latest Poll
Four in five Americans who own a computer (80 percent) have ever backed up all the data on their computer, which is up from roughly three-quarters (76 percent) in 2018.
9 percent who own a computer back up their computer once a day or more often.
Among those who have ever backed up all data on their computer, nearly three in five (58 percent) use the cloud as the primary method to back up all of the data on their computer, 38 percent use an external hard drive, and just 5 percent use network-attached storage (NAS).
Here’s a detailed look at the numbers from our surveys in 2008 through 2019.
How We Can Improve
Every year after the poll we sift through the poll data to see what conclusions we can draw from the results. Our pollster gives us demographics about the subjects surveyed, such as the region of the U.S. where they live, level of education, income, and whether they own a computer or not (kinda important, we think, for this poll).
What stood out for us is that more people in 2019 backed up more frequently than in 2008, and we wondered why.
There are a lot of things that get in the way of backing up: managing a household, job(s), taking care of children, travel, and social activities. The fact that more people are backing up more often tells us that they have found a way to make backing up easier and a part of their regular lives.
Our Backing Up Action Plan
The best way to succeed at a task that’s sometimes neglected is to make it so easy that it gets done. Fortunately, computers are good at automation and backing up can be configured to happen quietly and automatically in the background.
We believe that the reason more people are successful at backing up is that they have discovered automated backup solutions such as Backblaze Personal Backup.
Backblaze Personal Backup can be installed on a Mac or PC and in less than a couple of minutes will be on the job continuously backing up your data. In many situations, the default settings are fine so there’s nothing else to do.
If more people used solutions like Backblaze Personal Backup and automate their backups, the poll results will continue to improve, but more importantly, people will be less likely to lose their valuable photos, messages, financial records, and other important files and documents.
It will be interesting to see whether the poll results next year show even more people backing up. We hope so.
How You Can Help!
You can help improve the results for next year’s survey. If you’re already a Backblaze customer, you can let your friends and family know that backing up is important and can even refer them to Backblaze using our Refer-a-Friend program. If you’re not a Backblaze customer, consider signing up for a trial, and help us ensure that no one ever loses data again.
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Survey Method These surveys were conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Backblaze among U.S. adults ages 18+ who own a computer in June 6-10, 2019 (n=1,858), June 5-7, 2018 (n=1,871), May 19-23, 2017 (n=1,954), May 13-17, 2016 (n=1,920), May 15-19, 2015 (n=2,009), June 2-4, 2014 (n=1,991), June 13–17, 2013 (n=1,952), May 31–June 4, 2012 (n=2,176), June 28–30, 2011 (n=2,209), June 3–7, 2010 (n=2,051), May 13–14, 2009 (n=2,154), and May 27–29, 2008 (n=2,723). These online surveys were not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Backblaze.
12 Power Tips for Business Users of Backblaze Business Backup and B2
1 Manage All Users of Backblaze Business Backup or B2
Backblaze Groups can be used for both Backblaze Business Backup and B2 to manage accounts and users. See the status of all accounts and produce reports using the admin console.
2 Restore For Free via Web or USB
Admins can restore data from endpoints using the web-based admin console. USB drives can be shipped worldwide to facilitate the management of a remote workforce.
3 Back Up Your VMs
Backblaze Business Backup can handle virtual machines, such as those created by Parallels, VMware Fusion, and VirtualBox; and B2 integrates with StarWind, OpenDedupe, and CloudBerry to back up enterprise-level VMs.
4 Mass Deploy Backblaze Remotely to Many Computers
Companies, organizations, schools, non-profits, and others can use the Backblaze Business Backup MSI installer, Jamf, Munki, and other tools to deploy Backblaze computer backup remotely across all their computers without any end-user interaction.
5 Save Money with Free Data Exchange with B2’s Compute Partners
Spin up compute applications with high speed and no egress charges using our partners Packet and Server Central.
6 Speed up Access to Your Content With Free Egress to Cloudflare
You can use Backblaze’s Fireball hard disk array to load large volumes of data without saturating your network. We ship a Fireball to you and once you load your data onto it, you ship it back to us and we load it directly into your B2 account.
8 Use Single Sign-On (SSO) and Two Factor Verification for Enhanced Security
Single sign-on (Google and Microsoft) improves security and speeds signing into your Backblaze account for authorized users. With Backblaze Business Backup, all data is automatically encrypted client-side prior to upload, protected during transfer, and stored encrypted in our secure data centers. Adding Two Factor Verification augments account safety with another layer of security.
9 Get Quick Answers to Your Backing Up Questions
Refer to an extensive library of FAQs, how-tos, and help articles for Business Backup and B2 in our online help library.
10 Application Keys Enable Controlled Sharing of Data for Users and Apps
11 Manage Your Server Backups with CloudBerry MBS and B2
Automate and centrally manage server backups using CloudBerry Managed Backup Service (MBS) and B2. It’s easy to set up and once configured, you have a true set-it-and-forget-it backup solution in place.
12 Protect your NAS Data Using Built-in Sync Applications and B2
When shopping for a cloud storage provider, customers should ask a few key questions of potential storage providers. In addition to inquiring about storage cost, data center location, and features and capabilities of the service, they’re going to want to know the numbers for two key metrics for measuring cloud storage performance: durability and availability.
Think of durability as a measurement of how healthy and resilient your data is. You want your data to be as intact and pristine on the day you retrieve it as it was on the day you stored it.
There are a number of ways that data can lose its integrity.
1. Data loss
Data loss can happen through human accident, natural or manmade disaster, or even malicious action out of your control. Whether you store data in your home, office, or with a cloud provider, that data needs to be protected as much as possible from any event that could damage or destroy it. If your data is on a computer, external drive, or NAS in a home or office, you obviously want to keep the computing equipment away from water sources and other environmental hazards. You also have to consider the likelihood of fire, theft, and accidental deletion.
Data center managers go to great lengths to protect data under their care. That care starts with locating a facility in as safe a geographical location as possible, having secure facilities with controlled access, and monitoring and maintaining the storage infrastructure (chassis, drives, cables, power, cooling, etc.)
2. Data corruption
Data on traditional spinning hard drive systems can degrade with time, have errors introduced during copying, or become corrupted in any number of ways. File and operating systems and utilities have ways to double check that data is handled correctly during common file and data handling operations, but corruption can sneak into a system if it isn’t monitored closely or if the storage system doesn’t specifically check for such errors such as is common with systems with ECC (Error Correcting Code) RAM. Object storage systems will commonly monitor for any changes in the data, and often will automatically repair or provide warnings when data has been changed.
How is Durability Measured?
Object storage providers express data durability as an annual percentage in nines, as in two nines before the decimal point and as many nines as warranted after the decimal point. For example, eleven nines of durability is expressed as 99.999999999%.
Of the major vendors, Azure claims 12 nines and even 16 nines durability for some services, while Amazon S3, Google Cloud Platform and Backblaze offer 11 nines, or 99.999999999% annual durability.
What this means is that those services are promising that your data will remain intact while it is under their care, and no more than 0.000000001 percent of your data will be lost in a year (in the case of eleven nines annual durability).
How is Durability Maintained?
Generally, there are two ways to maintain data durability. The first approach is to use software algorithms and metadata such as checksums to detect corruption of the data. If corruption is found, the data can be healed using the stored information. Examples of these approaches are erasure coding and Reed-Solomon coding.
Another tried and true method to ensure data integrity is to simply store multiple copies of the data in multiple locations. This is known as redundancy. This approach allows data to survive the loss or corruption of data in one or even multiple locations through accident, war, theft, or any manner of natural disaster or alien invasion. All that’s required is that at least one copy of the data remains intact. The odds for data survival increase with the number of copies stored, with multiple locations an important multiplying factor. If multiple copies (and locations) are lost, well, that means we’re all in a lot of trouble and perhaps there might be other things to think about than the data you have stored.
The best approach is a combination of the above two approaches. Home data storage appliances such as NAS can provide the algorithmic protection through RAID and other technologies. If you store at least one copy of your data in a different location than your office or home than you’ve got redundancy covered, as well. The redundant location can be as simple as a USB or hard drive you regularly drop off in your old bedroom’s closet at mom’s house or a data center in another state that gets a daily backup from your office computer or network.
What is Availability?
If durability can be compared to how well your picnic basket contents survived the automobile trip to the beach, then you might get a good understanding of availability if you subsequently stand and watch that basket being carried out to sea by a wave. The chicken salad sandwich in the basket might be in great shape but you won’t be enjoying it.
Availability is how much time the storage provider guarantees that your data and services are available to you. This is usually documented as a percent of time per year, e.g. 99.9% (or three nines) means that your data will be available to you from the data center and you will be unable to access the data for no more than about ten minutes per week, or 8.77 hours per year. Data centers often plan downtime for maintenance, which is acceptable as long as you have no immediate need of the data during those maintenance windows.
What availability is suitable for your data depends, of course, on how you’re using it. If you’re running an e-commerce site, reservation service, or a site that requires real-time transactions, then availability can be expressed in real dollars for any unexpected downtime. If you are simply storing backups, or serving media for a website that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, you probably can live with the service being unavailable on occasion.
There are of course no guarantees for connectivity issues that affect availability that are out of the control of the storage provider, such as internet outages, bad connections, or power losses affecting your connection to the storage provider.
Guarantees of Availability
Your cloud service provider should both publish and guarantee availability. Much like an insurance policy, the guarantee should be in terms that compensate you if the provider falls short of the guaranteed availability metrics. Naturally, the better the guarantee and the greater the availability, the more reliable and expensive the service will be.
Be sure to read the service level agreement (SLA) closely, to see how your vendor defines availability. A provider might define zero downtime if a single internet client can access even one service, while others might require that multiple internet service providers and countries can access all services to be defined as available.
The Bottom Line on Data Durability and Availability
The bottom line is that no number of nines can absolutely protect your data. Human error or acts of nature can always intercede to make the best plans to protect data go awry. The decision you should make is to decide how important the data is to you and whether you can afford to not have access to it temporarily or to lose it completely. That will guide what strategy or vendor you should use to protect that data.
Generally, having multiple copies of your data in different places, using reliable vendors for storage providers, and making sure that the infrastructure storing your data and your access to it will be supported (power, service payments, etc), will go a long way in ensuring that your data will continue to be stable and there when you need it.
Like any tech company, all of us at Backblaze pay attention to the news and what’s happening in Silicon Valley and other tech communities. We comment on items posted to Slack, debate the latest items sent around via email, or discuss topics around lunchroom tables and in the snack rooms.
If you’re interested in what interests us, then take a look at some of the latest items that have been heard around Backblaze.
New Mac Pros Announced and Ready This Fall — But Will it Fit in Your Carry On?
We were excited to read the specs on the new Apple Mac Pro and some of us daydreamed about how fast it will compile or render, and what our favorite flight simulator will look like with 28 cores.
How would you use all that horsepower? And what’s with that $999 monitor stand?
Legendary Ramen House to Land in Silicon Valley (next door to us!
Backblaze famously launched in 2007 because friends of the company couldn’t find a backup solution that worked for them. Well after 12 years, and more than 750PB of customer data stored, we still love and work our tails off to keep it the best service for you.
Still, we’re floored when people take the time to let us know what the service means to them. Jeff Meyer, @soundman1024, was in the path of a tornado in the Midwest recently and what did he do?
Grabbed the important papers and a change of clothes…and didn’t bother with hard drives because Backblaze has my back(ups)!
Grabbed the important papers and a change of clothes and evacuated from the path of a mile wide tornado earlier this evening. Didn’t bother with hard drives because Backblaze has my back(ups). Thanks for the peace of mind, @backblaze.
We use Salesforce at Backblaze for CRM and Tableau for business intelligence and analytics and wondered how the acquisition of Tableau by Salesforce will affect how we use the software. Will Tableau continue to work with other CRM software vendors and how will Salesforce’s “No Software” cloud-only approach affect on-site installations of Tableau?
Three examples of common media workflows using a NAS
Top five benefits of using NAS for photography and videography
The camera might be firmly entrenched at the top of the list of essential equipment for photographers and videographers, but a strong contender for next on the list has to be network-attached storage (NAS).
A big reason for the popularity of NAS is that it’s one device that can do so many things that are needed in a media management workflow. Most importantly, NAS systems offer storage larger than any single hard drive, let you centralize photo storage, protect your files with backups and data storage virtualization (e.g. RAID), allow you to access files from anywhere, integrate with many media editing apps, and securely share media with coworkers and clients. And that’s just the beginning of the wide range of capabilities of NAS. It’s not surprising that NAS has become a standard and powerful data management hub serving the media professional.
This post is an overview of how NAS can fit into the professional or serious amateur photo and video workflow and some of the benefits you can receive from adding a NAS.
Essential NAS Capabilities
Firstly, NAS is a data storage device. It connects to your computer, office, and the internet, and supports loading and retrieving data from multiple computers in both local and remote locations.
The number of drives available for data storage is determined by how many bays the NAS has. As larger and faster disk drives become available, a NAS can be upgraded with larger drives to increase capacity, or multiple NAS can be used together. Solid-state drives (SSDs) can be used in a NAS for primary storage or as a cache to speed up data access.
Data Protection and Redundancy
NAS can be used for either primary or secondary local data storage. Whichever it is, it’s important to have an off-site backup of that data, as well, to provide redundancy in case of accident, or in the event of a hardware or software problem. That off-site backup can be drives stored in another location, or more commonly these days, the cloud. The most popular NAS systems typically offer built-in tools to automatically sync files on your NAS to offsite cloud storage, and many also have app stores with backup and many other types of applications, as well.
Data is typically stored on the NAS using some form of error checking and virtual storage system, typically RAID 5 or RAID 6, to keep your data available even if one of the internal hard drives fail. However, if NAS is the only backup you have, and a drive fails, it can take quite a while to recover that data from a RAID device, and the delay only gets longer as drives increase in size. Avoiding this delay is the motivation for many to keep a redundant copy in the cloud so that it’s possible to access the files immediately even before the RAID has completed its recovery.
If your primary data files are on an editing workstation, the NAS can be your local backup to make sure you keep your originals safe from accidental changes or loss. In some common editing workflows, the raw files are stored on the NAS and lower-resolution, smaller proxies are used for offline editing on the workstation — also called non-destructive or non-linear editing. Once edits are completed, the changes are written back to the NAS. Some applications, including Lightroom, maintain a catalog of files that is separate from the working files and is stored on the editing workstation. This catalog should be routinely backed up locally and remotely to protect it, as well.
The data on the NAS also can be protected with automated data backups or snapshots that protect data in case of loss, or to retrieve an earlier version of a file. A particularly effective plan is to schedule off-hours backups to the cloud to complete the off-site component of the recommended 3-2-1 backup strategy.
Data Accessibility and Sharing
Data can be loaded onto the NAS directly through a USB or SD card slot, if available, or through any device available via the local network or internet. Another possibility is to have a directory/folder on a local computer that automatically syncs any files dropped there to the NAS.
Once on the NAS, files can be shared with coworkers, clients, family, and friends. The NAS can be accessed via the internet from anywhere, so you can easily share work in progress or final media presentations. Access can be configured by file, directory/folder, group, or by settings in the particular application you are using. NAS can be set up with a different user and permission structure than your computer(s), making it easy to grant access to particular folders, and keeping the security separate from however local computers are set up. With proper credentials, a wide range of mobile apps or a web browser can be used to access the data on the NAS.
Media Editing Integration
It’s common for those using applications such as Adobe Lightroom to keep the original media on the NAS and work on a proxy on the local computer. This speeds up the workflow and protects the original media files. Similarly, for video, some devices are fast enough to support NLE (non-linear editing), and therefore support using the NAS for source and production media but allow editing without changing the source files. Popular apps that support NLE include Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro X, and Avid Media Composer.
Flexibility and Apps
NAS from Synology, QNAP, FreeNAS/TrueNAS, Morro Bay, and others offer a wide range of apps that extend the functionality of the device. You can easily turn a NAS into a media server that streams audio and video content to TVs and other devices on your network. You can set up a NAS to automatically perform backups of your computers, or configure that NAS as a file server, a web server, or even a telephone system. Some home offices and small businesses have even completely replaced office servers with NAS.
Examples of Common Media Workflows Using a NAS
The following are three examples of how a NAS device can fit into a media production workflow.
Example One — A Home Studio
NAS is a great choice for a home studio that needs additional data storage, file sharing, cloud backup, and secure remote access. NAS is a better choice than using directly-attached storage because it can have separate security than local computers and is accessible both locally and via the internet even when individual workstations might be turned off or disconnected.
NAS can provide centralized backup using common backup apps, including Time Machine and ChronoSync on Mac, or Backup and Restore and File History on Windows.
To back up to the cloud, major NAS providers, including Synology, QNAP, Morro Data, and FreeNAS/TrueNAS include apps that can automatically back up NAS data to B2 or other destinations on the schedule of your choice.
Example Two — A Distributed Media Company with Remote Staff
The connectivity of NAS makes it an ideal hub for a distributed business. It provides a central location for files that can be reliably protected with RAID, backups, and access security, yet available to any authorized staff person no matter where they are located. Professional presentations are easy to do with a range of apps and integrations available for NAS. Clients can be given controlled access to review drafts and final proofs, as well.
Example Three — Using NAS with Photo/Video Editing Applications
Many media pros have turned to NAS for storing their ever-growing photos and video data files. Frequently, these users will optimize their workstation for the editing or cataloging application of their choice using fast central and graphics processors, SSD drives, and large amounts of RAM, and offload the data files to the NAS.
While Adobe Lightroom requires that its catalog be kept on a local or attached drive, the working files can be stored elsewhere. Some users have adopted the digital negative (DNG) for working files, which avoids having to manage sidecar (XMP) files. XMP files are stored alongside the RAW files and record edits for file formats that don’t support saving that information natively, such as proprietary camera RAW files, including CRW, CR2, NEF, ORF, and so on.
With the right software and hardware, NAS also can play well in a shared video editing environment, enabling centralized storage of data with controlled access, file security, and supporting other functions such as video transcoding.
Top 5 Benefits of Using NAS for Photography and Videography
To recap, here are the top five benefits of adding NAS to your media workflow.
Flexible and expandable storage — fast, expandable and grows with your needs
Data protection — provides local file redundancy as well as an automated backup gateway to the cloud
Data accessibility and sharing — functions as a central media hub with internet connectivity and access control
Integration with media editing tools — works with editing and cataloging apps for photo and video
Flexibility and apps — NAS can perform many of the tasks once reserved for servers, with a wide range of apps to extend its capabilities
To learn more about what NAS can do for you, take a look at the posts on our blog on specific NAS devices from Synology, QNAP, FreeNAS/TrueNAS, and Morro Data, and about how to use NAS for photo and video storage. You’ll also find more information about how to connect NAS to the cloud. You can quickly find all posts on the NAS topic on our blog by following the NAS tag.
Do you have experience using NAS in a photo or video workflow? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.
Many of us would concede that buildings housing data centers are generally pretty ordinary places. They’re often drab and bunker-like with few or no windows, and located in office parks or in rural areas. You usually don’t see signs out front announcing what they are, and, if you’re not in information technology, you might be hard pressed to guess what goes on inside.
If you’re observant, you might notice cooling towers for air conditioning and signs of heavy electrical usage as clues to their purpose. For most people, though, data centers go by unnoticed and out of mind. Data center managers like it that way, because the data stored in and passing through these data centers is the life’s blood of business, research, finance, and our modern, digital-based lives.
That’s why the exceptions to low-key and meh data centers are noteworthy. These unusual centers stand out for their design, their location, what the building was previously used for, or perhaps how they approach energy usage or cooling.
Let’s take a look at a handful of data centers that certainly are outside of the norm.
The Underwater Data Center
Microsoft’s rationale for putting a data center underwater makes sense. Most people live near water, they say, and their submersible data center is quick to deploy, and can take advantage of hydrokinetic energy for power and natural cooling.
Project Natick has produced an experimental, shipping-container-size prototype designed to process data workloads on the seafloor near Scotland’s Orkney Islands. It’s part of a years-long research effort to investigate manufacturing and operating environmentally sustainable, prepackaged datacenter units that can be ordered to size, rapidly deployed, and left to operate independently on the seafloor for years.
The Supercomputing Center in a Former Catholic Church
One might be forgiven for mistaking Torre Girona for any normal church, but this deconsecrated 20th century church currently houses the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, home of the MareNostrum supercomputer. As part of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, this supercomputer (Latin for Our sea, the Roman name for the Mediterranean Sea), is used for a range of research projects, from climate change to cancer research, biomedicine, weather forecasting, and fusion energy simulations.
The Under-a-Mountain Bond Supervillain Data Center
Most data centers don’t have the extreme protection or history of the The Bahnhof Data Center, which is located inside the ultra-secure former nuclear bunker Pionen, in Stockholm, Sweden. It is buried 100 feet below ground inside the White Mountains and secured behind 15.7 in. thick metal doors. It prides itself on its self-described Bond villain ambiance.
The Data Center That Can Survive a Class 5 Hurricane
Sometimes the location of the center comes first and the facility is hardened to withstand anticipated threats, such as Equinix’s NAP of the Americas data center in Miami, one of the largest single-building data centers on the planet (six stories and 750,000 square feet), which is built 32 feet above sea level and designed to withstand category five hurricane winds.
The MI1 facility provides access for the Caribbean, South and Central America to “to more than 148 countries worldwide,” and is the primary network exchange between Latin America and the U.S., according to Equinix. Any outage in this data center could potentially cripple businesses passing information between these locations.
The center was put to the test in 2017 when Hurricane Irma, a class 5 hurricane in the Caribbean, made landfall in Florida as a class 4 hurricane. The storm caused extensive damage in Miami-Dade County, but the Equinix center survived.
The Data Center Cooled by Glacier Water
Located on Norway’s west coast, the Lefdal Mine Datacenter is built 150 meters into a mountain in what was formerly an underground mine for excavating olivine, also known as the gemstone peridot, a green, high- density mineral used in steel production. The data center is powered exclusively by renewable energy produced locally, while being cooled by water from the second largest fjord in Norway, which is 565 meters deep and fed by the water from four glaciers. As it’s in a mine, the data center is located below sea level, eliminating the need for expensive high-capacity pumps to lift the fjord’s water to the cooling system’s heat exchangers, contributing to the center’s power efficiency.
The World’s Largest Data Center
The Tahoe Reno 1 data center in The Citadel Campus in Northern Nevada, with 7.2 million square feet of data center space, is the world’s largest data center. It’s not only big, it’s powered by 100% renewable energy with up to 650 megawatts of power.
An Out of This World Data Center
If the cloud isn’t far enough above us to satisfy your data needs, Cloud Constellation Corporation plans to put your data into orbit. A constellation of eight low earth orbit satellites (LEO), called SpaceBelt, will offer up to five petabytes of space-based secure data storage and services and will use laser communication links between the satellites to transmit data between different locations on Earth.
CCC isn’t the only player talking about space-based data centers, but it is the only one so far with 100 million in funding to make their plan a reality.
A Cloud Storage Company’s Modest Beginnings
OK, so our current data centers are not that unusual (with the possible exception of our now iconic Storage Pod design), but Backblaze wasn’t always the profitable and growing cloud services company that it is today. hen Backblaze was just getting started and was figuring out how to make data storage work while keeping costs as low as possible for our customers.There was a time when Backblaze was just getting started, and before we had almost an exabyte of customer data storage, that we were figuring out how to make data storage work while keeping costs as low as possible for our customers.
The photo below is not exactly a data center, but it is the first data storage structure used by Backblaze to develop its storage infrastructure before going live with customer data. It was on the patio behind the Palo Alto apartment that Backblaze used for its first office.
The photos below (front and back) are of the very first data center cabinet that Backblaze filled with customer data. This was in 2009 in San Francisco, and just before we moved to a data center in Oakland where there was room to grow. Note the storage pod at the top of the cabinet. Yes, it’s made out of wood. (You have to start somewhere.)
Do You Know of Other Unusual Data Centers?
Do you know of another data center that should be on this list? Please tell us in the comments.
VM Backup to B2 Using Veeam Backup & Replication and Morro Data CloudNAS
We are glad to show how Veeam Backup & Replication can work with Morro Data CloudNAS to keep the more recent backups on premises for fast recovery while archiving all backups in B2 Cloud Storage. CloudNAS not only caches the more recent backup files, but also simplifies the management of B2 Cloud Storage with a network share or drive letter interface.
–Paul Tien, Founder & CEO, Morro Data
VM backup and recovery is a critical part of IT operations that supports business continuity. Traditionally, IT has deployed an array of purpose-built backup appliances and applications to protect against server, infrastructure, and security failures. As VMs continue to spread in production, development, and verification environments, the expanding VM backup repository has become a major challenge for system administrators.
Because the VM backup footprint is usually quite large, cloud storage is increasingly being deployed for VM backup. However, cloud storage does not achieve the same performance level as on-premises storage for recovery operation. For this reason, cloud storage has been used as tiered repository behind on-premises storage.
In this best practice guide, VM Backup to B2 Using Veeam Backup & Replication and Morro Data CloudNAS, we will show how Veeam Backup & Replication can work with Morro Data CloudNAS to keep the most recent backups on premises for fast recovery while archiving all backups in the retention window in Backblaze B2 cloud storage. CloudNAS caching not only provides buffer for most recent backup files, but also simplifies the management of on-premises storage and cloud storage as an integral backup repository.
Tell Us How You’re Backing Up Your VMs
If you’re backing up VMs to B2 using one of the solutions we’ve written about in this series, we’d like to hear from you in the comments about how it’s going.
If you’re like me, you can hardly wait for summer to be here. Summer is the time to get outdoors, go swimming, hang out with friends, and enjoy the weather. For many, it’s also a time for graduations, weddings, vacations, visiting family, and grilling in the backyard.
We’re likely to take more photos and go places we haven’t been before. And we take along all our portable gadgets, especially our cameras, phones, and digital music devices.
Unfortunately, being on the move means that the data on our digital devices is more susceptible to loss. We’re often not as careful backing up that data or even keeping track of the devices themselves. Perhaps you’ve had the sad experience of getting back home after a family reunion, company picnic, or vacation and discovering that your phone or camera didn’t make it all the way home with you.
With just a little planning and a few simple practices, you can be certain that your digital memories will last far beyond summer.
Keep All Those Summer Memories Safe
We don’t want you to miss out on all the great summer memories you’re going to create this year. Before summer is actually here, it’s good to review some tips to make sure that all those great memories you create will be with you for years to come.
Summer Data Backup Tips
Even if your devices are lost or stolen, you’ll be able to recover what was on them if you back them up during your trip. Don’t wait until you get home — do it regularly no matter where you are. It’s not hard to make sure your devices are backed up; you just need to take a few minutes to make a plan on how and when you’re going to back up your devices.
Have somewhere to put your backup data, either in the cloud or on a backup device that you can keep safe, give to someone else, or ship home
If You Have Access to Wi-Fi
If your devices are internet-ready, you can back them up to the cloud directly whenever you’re connected.
If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, you can back up your devices to a laptop computer and then back up that computer to the cloud.
Note: See Safety Tips for Using Wi-Fi on the Go, below.
If You Don’t Have Access to Wi-Fi
If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, you can back up your devices to a USB thumb drive and carry that with you. If you put it in luggage, put it in a piece of luggage different than where you carry your devices, or give it to a family member to put in their bag or luggage. To be extra safe, it’s easy and inexpensive to mail a thumb drive to yourself when you’re away from home. Some hotels will even do that for you.
Make Sure Your Devices Get Home With You
You want to be careful with your devices when you travel.
Use covers for your phone and cameras. It helps protects them from physical damage and also discourages robbers who are attracted to shiny things. In any case, don’t flash around your nice mobile phone or expensive digital camera. Keep them out of sight when you’re not using them.
Don’t leave any of your digital devices unprotected in an airport security line, at a hotel, on a cafe or restaurant table, beside the pool, or in a handbag on the floor or hanging from a chair.
Be aware of your surroundings. Be especially cautious of anyone getting close to you in a crowd.
It seems silly to say, but keep your devices away from all forms of liquid.
If available, you can use a hotel room or front desk safe to protect your devices when you’re not using them.
Water and Tech Don’t Mix
I love being near or in the water, but did you know that water damage is the most common cause of damage to digital devices? We should be more careful around water, but it’s easy for accidents to happen. And in the summer they tend to happen even more.
Safety Tips for Using Wi-Fi on the Go
Public Wi-Fi networks are notorious for being places where nefarious individuals snoop on other computers to steal passwords and account information. You can avoid that possibility by following some easy tips.
Before you travel, change the passwords on the accounts you plan to use. Change them again when you get home. Don’t use the same password on different accounts or reuse a password you’ve used previously. Password managers, such as 1Password, LastPass, or BitWarden, make handling your password easy.
Turn off sharing on your devices to prevent anyone obtaining access to your device.
Turn off automatic connection to open Wi-Fi networks.
Don’t use the web to access your bank, financial institutions, or other important sites if you’re not 100% confident in the security of your internet connection.
If you do access a financial, shopping, or other high risk site, make sure your connection is protected with Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which is indicated with the HTTPS prefix in the URL. When you browse over HTTPS, people on the same Wi-Fi network as you can’t snoop on the data that travels between you and the server of the website you’re connecting to. Most sites that ask for payment or confidential information use SSL. If they don’t, stay away.
If you can, set up a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your connection. A VPN routes your traffic through a secure network even on public Wi-Fi, giving you all the protection of your private network while still having the freedom of public Wi-Fi. This is something you should look into and set up before you go on a trip. Here are some tips for choosing a VPN.
Share the Knowledge About Keeping Data Safe
You might be savvy about all the above, but undoubtedly you have family members or friends who aren’t as knowledgeable. Why not share this post with someone you know who might benefit from these tips? To email this post to a friend, just click on the email social sharing icon to the left or at the bottom of this post. Or, you can just send an email containing this post’s URL, https://www.backblaze.com/blog/protecting-your-data-when-traveling.
Backblaze just returned from exhibiting at NAB in Las Vegas, where, according to just about everyone, the cloud is a growing topic of interest.
“Cloud is becoming a central interest and more people are warming up to it,” according to Backblaze Director of Marketing, Yev Pusin. “Things have changed since last year. There’s definitely more interest in how the cloud fits into creative workflows.”
Skip Levens, Director of Product Marketing for Backblaze, observed that the show this year is “rightly focusing on the storyteller, and that NAB has evolved from its strong broadcast roots to serve storytellers of every kind on every new kind of platform and medium, which are all available to see at the show.”
Skip also observed that Backblaze is ready to be the cloud storage of choice for creative professionals. “Behind the scenes we’ve been updating our infrastructure and technology to better serve our customers who have more and more very high resolution production content that’s above 4K, HDR workflows, internet-routed video, and cloud-backed content libraries for extremely agile content production. Combine Backblaze’s low cost with 11 9’s of durability and instant availability of your data and content, and you have an unbeatable combination to give creative professionals what they need today.”
Backblaze CEO Gleb Budman also felt that the crowd this year was more interested in the cloud. “Overall, it felt like people understood how useful the cloud can be. They’re tired of using tape, and they’re facing the challenge of handling the huge volumes of data being generated by 8K cameras.”
“It was great to talk to our customers at the show. Some just came by to say, ‘I love you guys and read your blog posts.’ Others want to better understand how to use B2.”
It wasn’t all cloud talk and HD video at the show. Our booth staff noted a lot of attendees wearing cowboy hats, likely because the Academy of Country Music Awards (CMA) show was held at the MGM Grand the Sunday when NAB opened. Backblaze didn’t disappoint with the booth giveaways, either. We gave away 1,000 Backblaze nerd pens and 1,200 bags of pink cloud candy just on the first day. If that doesn’t show growing interest in the cloud, we don’t know what does!
Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional photographer or videographer, employing a 3-2-1 backup strategy for your valuable photos and videos is critical. A good backup strategy can protect you from accidental or incidental data loss and make sure your working or archived files are available when you need them.
Most photographers and videographers are aware of the necessity to back up their data, but like a lot of things that are good for us, like eating kale and exercising regularly, putting good habits into practice can be challenging. Maybe you’re currently using the cloud as part of your backup or archive strategy, or perhaps you’re still juggling hard disk drives between your workstations, a storage closet, and an offsite location.
If you’re not yet using the cloud, or are still getting familiar with the cloud for data backup and archiving, I’d like to go over some ways in which the cloud can make managing your data easier and provide you with a number of benefits you might not currently enjoy.
A 3-2-1 strategy means having at least three total copies of your data, two of which are local but on different media, and at least one copy that is offsite.
A Typical 3-2-1 Scenario
Let’s use landscape.cr2 as an example file for this scenario. Landscape.cr2 lives on your primary computer. That’s one copy of the data file. You also have an external hard drive or Network-Attached Storage (NAS) that you use for backing up your computer. Your backup program runs on a regular schedule, or whenever a file is added to your system, and backs up landscape.cr2 to your external drive(s). That’s a second copy on a different device or medium. In addition to that external hard drive, you also have an online backup solution that makes another copy of your data. The backup program continuously scans your computer and uploads your data to a data center (aka the cloud). Landscape.cr2 is included in this upload, and that becomes the third copy of your data.
Why Two Onsite Copies and One Offsite Copy?
Whichever kind of computer you are using, an onsite backup is a simple way of having quick access to your data should anything happen to your computer. If your laptop or desktop’s hard drive crashes, and you have been regularly backing up to an external hard drive or NAS, you can quickly get the majority of your data back (or use the external drive on another computer while yours gets fixed or replaced). If you use an automatic backup program, the exposure for data loss is fairly minimal.
Having an onsite backup is a great start, but having an offsite backup is a key component to completing a backup strategy. Onsite backups are easy to set up, but unfortunately having a backup near the device that it’s backing up (for example, having a desktop PC or Mac and an external hard drive on the same desk), means that both of those copies of your data are susceptible to loss in case of fire, theft, water damage, or other unforeseen occurrences.
Most often, if the two devices you have as your local copies are close together, they’ll both be affected if the unfortunate should happen. A continuously updated copy of your data that’s not in the same physical location as the other two is paramount in protecting your files. Even the United States Government recommends this approach. In a 2012 paper for US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team), Carnegie Mellon recommended the 3-2-1 method in their publication titled: Data Backup Options.
The Cloud as Part of 3-2-1
The cloud can make fulfilling the 3-2-1 strategy much easier. And, with recent advances in technology and cost competition, the cloud brings other advantages:
Broadband speed and coverage — Broadband bandwidth has increased and is more widely available while the reach of cellular data service has made many remote locations accessible. It’s possible to upload data to the cloud from home, office, and even when traveling to remote locations. For example, the summit of Mt. Everest now has mobile network service.
If you’re already using 3-2-1, then you’ve made a great start in keeping your data safe. If you’re not yet using the cloud as part of your backup strategy, then you might consider the following advantages of adding it to your data security plans.
Convenience The two offsite copies of your data required by 3-2-1 can be anywhere that’s geographically separated from your primary location. That can be convenient for some, such as for a photographer friend who takes a backup hard disk to leave at his mother’s house during their regular Sunday dinner. It’s not so easy for others, who have to transport or ship disks to other locations to fulfill the diverse location requirement. The cloud handles this without any extra effort.
Durability Cloud data centers are designed to protect data against outages, service interruptions, hardware failures, and natural disasters. Backblaze claims 99.999999999% (11 9s) annual durability for its customers’ data.
Sharing & Collaboration Having data in the cloud can make sharing much easier. Users can control who has access and to what data. Backblaze Backup and B2 Cloud Storage support sharing links that can be sent to anyone who needs permanent or temporary access to stored data. This is ideal if you’re working with second shooters on a project or relaying final deliverables to a client.
Data Ingest/Seeding As digital resolutions increase, media files grow larger and larger. Forty-five megapixel images and 8K digital videos can quickly fill up any storage media and put demands on the time and bandwidth required to transfer data. Some cloud services provide seeding services that enable physical transfer of data directly to the cloud. An example is the Backblaze B2 Fireball, which is a 70 TB hard disk array with 1 GB connectivity that enables the customer to load and ship data securely to Backblaze’s data centers.
Challenges of the Cloud
For some, there are real challenges using the cloud for backing up or archiving data, especially when they have a lot of data, as many photographers and videographers do. As services expand and new technologies are adopted, transfer speeds will continue to increase and should help overcome that hurdle.
In the meantime, here are some tips for meeting these challenges:
Schedule your data uploads for off hours when the network load is light and the transfers won’t impede other data traffic.
Take advantage of data ingest options to seed data to the cloud. It’s definitely faster and can even be more economical compared to other data transfer options.
Be patient. Once you get your initial files uploaded or seeded to the cloud, it becomes much easier to upload incremental updates. In the near-future we will see 5G mobile networks and higher broadband speeds that will make data transfers even faster.
Are you Using the Cloud to Best Advantage?
Backups are great for your active projects, but how do you handle your archives? We recently wrote about the difference between backing up and archiving, and knowing the difference will improve your data management strategy.
Many photographers and videographers are using a backup or even a sync solution for their data when archiving is the approach that better suits their needs. Briefly, a data backup is for recovery from hardware failure or recent data corruption or loss, and an archive is for space management and long term retention. If you’re using a data backup or sync service to store data that you wish to keep permanently or long-term, you’re trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.
What’s the Best Use for Backup?
Working files currently being edited, or in a live project.
Documents, correspondence, application settings, and other transient system information.
What’s the Best Use for Archive?
Finished projects for which you wish to retain all or just the primary data files used.
Photos and videos that you might use again at some time in the future.
Media that has value to your business for possible future sales.
Making the Most of the Cloud
If you’re following a 3-2-1 backup strategy that includes the cloud, you’ll be ahead of 90% of your peers. The cloud is becoming more useful and more economical every day. When you add the security of the cloud, collaboration with clients and peers, and proven durability to that list, the cloud is an unbeatable choice for upping your game in data backup and archiving.
If you’re a user of Google+, the internet-based social network, you recently received a notice that the service is shutting down on April 2. If you have any content on Google+ that you’d like to save, you need to get it out by Sunday, March 31.
If the already have copies of that content, you’re OK, but if any of that content exists only on Google+, you’ll want to make sure you retrieve it prior to the deadline
No other Google products (such as Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive, YouTube) are affected. Any photos and videos already backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.
A Reminder to Keep Your Data Safe and Secure
This action by Google, as well as the recent Myspace content deletion accident, are good reminders that you never want to be in the situation where the only copy of your data is in one place if that one place isn’t expressly designed for long-term secure archiving. Any data you have that you value — whether on your local computer, on an external disk, on backup media, or in the cloud — shouldn’t exist only in one place.
If you Have Data in Google+, Here’s How To Retrieve It
You no doubt heard the news this month about the huge data loss at Myspace, which announced that users’ audio files — along with any photos and videos — that were uploaded to Myspace more than three years ago, “may no longer be available on or from Myspace.” That’s estimated to be as many as 53 million songs from 14 million artists that were lost. The reason given was a botched server migration, but it could have been anything. Data can be lost due to accidental deletion, hardware or software failure, or because a service is terminated by a company that decides it no longer fits their business goals.
Myspace: A Groundbreaking Online Social & Music Community
Ten to fifteen years ago, Myspace fulfilled the promise of an online musical community where up and coming bands and musicians could share their art, interact with their fans, and promote their concerts. Many musicians made a lot of music that ended up on Myspace, and some of them even became superstars, or at least, well-known names such as Arctic Monkeys, Attack! Attack!, Black Veil Brides, and Panic! at the Disco.
Today, Myspace is just a shadow of its former social media presence, but at one time it claimed nearly one billion registered users and the biggest library in digital music. Now, much of that music is gone. Artists who thought that their music would exist indefinitely on Myspace have had to deal with the realization that putting recordings — or any kind of data — in a cloud streaming service doesn’t guarantee that it is safe. Cloud-based sites like Myspace, SoundCloud, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Google, or any other site that is not specifically a backup or archive site can’t be relied upon (nor do they claim the intention) to keep your data safe and available indefinitely.
A Personal Story of Music and Myspace
by Ahin Thomas, VP of Marketing, Backblaze
Recently, I was sharing the story of the first good song I had written with a colleague and sent her the link to the song on Myspace. When she went to listen to the song, the page was there but we both found out that the song was no longer available on Myspace.
That’s the problem with data loss. You don’t know that it’s lost until it’s gone. And, at that point, it’s simply too late.
The song was called By The Way. The inspiration for the song came when I was waiting for a restaurant table and saw a picture frame in a store window with a photo of this adorable little kid. “Twinkle, twinkle in your eyes, are you an angel in disguise?” was written on the picture frame. Cute kid, great line. I fiddled with it for awhile and managed to twist it into a nice little pop song.
Writing By The Way was the first time I felt like a real songwriter. It also taught me that being open and willing to share with others can change your life. The song itself is decent, but the lessons and memories are priceless. It’s the sort of thing I want to be able to share with my daughter. She’s only 15 months old now, but I figured maybe she might someday tell stories about how her dad wrote songs that people recorded, and how he played his songs for her when she was little. So that’s what the song meant to me.
I was lucky. I had backed up the song, which means that I still have the song to play for my daughter (photo above). If I hadn’t backed up the song, well, I wouldn’t be able to.
I think of the many artists who are way more talented than I am, but not as lucky as I was to be able to preserve the music that means so much to me and my family. To them, I send my heartfelt condolences for the hours and memories lost due to the flip of a wrong switch. To everyone else, remind one friend today to get backed up. They’ll never forget you for it.
If you’re interested, here is my song By The Way, performed by Sehr Thadhani and her wonderful band.
Nothing Holds a Memory (Like a Song)*
Just about all of us are music fans and consumers, and we have music files that we keep on local computers, mobile devices, and in the cloud. Even if you’ve switched to a streaming music service such as Spotify, Google, Pandora, Apple, or Amazon, it’s likely you still have music files on your computers and devices that you’d like to preserve.
If you keep only one copy of a music file, you greatly increase the chances that the file will be lost.
Back Up the Music
We can hope that most of the garage bands, aspiring, and successful artists who uploaded music to Myspace had other copies, but if past incidents have taught us anything, we can expect that for many this is a permanent loss of their music files. Whether on an attached or local disk, mobile device, or in the cloud, one copy of a file is susceptible to loss. As we’ve often said, the only reliable protection against data loss is to keep multiple copies in more than one location, also known as the 3-2-1 backup strategy. Having more than one copy (of your tracks, your rough and final mixes, your vocals, your masters, your sessions), and ideally three in at least two different geographical locations, can go a long way in ensuring your music won’t be lost.
The only reliable protection against data loss is to keep multiple copies in more than one location.
Depending on the amount of recording data you have and how you work, a good backup service can automatically back up your recording data and ensure it against loss. If you wish to archive recordings for future use or reference, an object cloud storage service will store your data in a secure data center and provide greater flexibility and long term storage at reasonable cost.
For a good overview of backup options for recording musicians, there’s a great article written by producer, recording engineer, instructor, and composer Glenn Lorbecki, called The Music Producer’s Guide to Backing Up Data. Glenn is also a Backblaze customer, so he knows backup and cloud storage. You can read about Glenn on his website at Glennsound.com.
Backblaze has many musicians and recording professionals among our users. The entire Austin City Limits music archives are in our B2 Cloud Storage. Kontent Core is a music licensing platform where labels and artists can showcase their creative work. Other customers are solo musicians, bands, recording engineers, studios, and music publishers.
Preserve Your Memories and Your Songs with Backblaze
Backblaze offers flexible and affordable backup and cloud storage for music, digital recordings, and data of any kind. Your content is stored with a data durability of 99.999999999 (11 nines), and covered by an SLA. If you’d like to learn more about Backblaze’s Computer Backup or B2 Cloud Storage, we invite you to read more on our website.
Software and user experience design (UX) that stands still never moves ahead, and that goes for our 11 year-old blog.
Backblaze’s blog launched in 2008 with a short post by our founder, Gleb Budman, about how a billion PCs are at risk of losing data. Since that first blog post, Backblaze has published 800 more posts. Last year we had over 2.6 million pageviews from an audience that continues to grow month over month.
We’ve been feeling for a while that the blog is overdue for more improvements. We want to expose more of the content we’ve created to more readers and help readers find what interests them from among those hundreds of posts. Searching for content can work, but readers have to know or guess a search term to find out if we’ve written on that topic. That’s not good.
As the blog gets more and more posts, the challenge is to help readers find all the content on the blog that they might be interested in. Most of our readers come to the blog through organic search, but many are returning readers who are checking on what’s new, or perhaps they learned of a post that interests them through one of our newsletters. Another option is that a reader signed up for our blog mailing list (see the top of this page) and received an email about a post that sounds interesting.
For the next iteration of our blog, we wanted to expose more of the content we’ve created to more readers, help them find related content they might be interested in, and just make it much easier to navigate our site and find topics of interest.
These Are the Goals for Our Blog Update
Present a friendlier user interface
Make it easier for the reader to find content related to what they’re reading
Introduce the reader to content they might not know we wrote about
Make everything work faster
We hope the new design fulfills these goals, and we invite you — once the new design has launched — to tell us how we did. We made the design much more flexible so if it turns out that something doesn’t work as well as we hoped, or we get great suggestions from our readers, we can easily change the blog to incorporate those ideas.
We’re putting the finishing touches on the new design, so it won’t be long until it’s live. After it’s launched, we’ll write more about what we changed, and why.
We’re looking forward to showing the latest version of our blog to our readers. Stay tuned!
That tweet, along with hundreds of other positive comments, came in the day we announced a price increase. We’re proud (and humbled) to have such strong relationships with our customers that they root for our success.
We’re looking for a Product Marketing leader who understands and loves focusing on the customer.
Backblaze provides cloud storage that’s astonishingly easy to use and low cost. Our customers use our services so they can pursue dreams like curing cancer (genome mapping is data intensive), archiving the work of some of the greatest artists on the planet (learn more about how Austin City Limits uses B2), or simply sleeping well at night (anyone that’s spilled a cup of coffee on a laptop knows the relief that comes with complete, secure backups). We are entrusted with over 750 PBs of data from customers in more than 150 countries. From a storage standpoint, our platform is on the scale of Dropbox & Facebook. We exited 2018 with a strong growth rate, with a cash flow positive (read — our customer acquisition efforts are profitable). We’ve done all this with just $3M of funding.
How? Our team is maniacally focused on understanding customer needs and then providing solutions. More than half of our business comes from self-service customers — they get started without needing to talk to us.
How Marketing at Backblaze Works
We think of Product Marketing as verticalized business owners. Our product marketers are expected to be athletes that can define and marshal our resources towards clear objectives. We are looking for someone that will lead the team — both as a manager and a contributor.
Acquisition via content marketing. We’ll have ~3M visitors to the blog this year that come to read compelling, if a little wonky, content on how things actually work. Our secret is writing about customer problems and solutions.
Conversion of website traffic. That means working cross-functionally to continually remove friction from the user experience — website flows and content that directly helps customers solve problems.
Sales enablement for a growing team. Increasingly, we have customers that want/need to engage with Sales. That is great, and, Marketing needs to provide our Sales team with the tools to succeed.
Collaboration with technology partners. B2 is integrated into leading hardware and software solutions. Because of our brand reputation and marketing reach, many partners integrate B2 because they want to run joint campaigns to promote our solutions. Once and integration is validated, Product Marketing owns the relationship with the partner.
Provide insights and feedback. We are a collaborative organization — our product marketers are key voices in representing our customers.
The Role: Senior Director of Product Marketing
Reporting directly to the VP of Marketing, you will lead a growing team of product marketers.
The Right Fit for our Sr. Director of Product Marketing
Loves being a marketer. Backblaze spans a variety of customer segments including Consumer, SMBs, and Developers. We’re looking for someone that enjoys serving multiple segments.
Capable of leading all of Product Marketing, not just one vertical.
Possesses the right amount of experience. 10+ years of product/solutions marketing within technical infrastructure, at least 3 years in storage or cloud. Experience with eCommerce/self-service SaaS preferred.
Foundation in place to succeed from day one.
Demonstrates passion for talent development. You’ll be leading a talented team and you must ensure that Backblaze remains a place that people enjoy working.
Has led and grown successful teams.
Obsesses over the story. Whether creating a new webpage or writing up a case study, we strive to create stories that engage. We are looking for someone that is a polished writer and talented editor.
Superior communication skills combined with the necessary technical proficiency to tell cloud storage stories.
Builds enough process. You build clear processes/guidelines/documents that are necessary to communicate and scale an organization, but know that if there’s a 100 page manual, we’re probably making things too hard.
Articulates a considered approach to trying something new and, when successful, scaling to a repeatable process for others.
Blends analysis with instinct. Marketers should own the data wherever possible. However, particularly in hypergrowth settings, there are times we just need to take a bet and be willing to fail.
A track record of driving quantified results.
Some of Our More Popular Perks
Backblaze offers an unlimited vacation policy, fully stocked kitchens, twice a week catered breakfast and lunch, superior coffee, and a generous skills training policy to continue your professional development. Our dog friendly office in San Mateo is easily accessible from CalTrain, 280, and 101.
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