All posts by Roderick Bauer

Heard Around Backblaze

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/heard-around-backblaze/

Backblaze coffee cup

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?

Mac Pro

Legendary Ramen House to Land in Silicon Valley (next door to us!

Backblaze HQ is located in the heart of downtown San Mateo and in the middle of a vibrant restaurant scene, especially for world-class ramen. We were floored to hear that Taishoken Ramen will open its first US location just a few steps from our office.

Ramen dipping noodles anyone?

Let’s Be Careful Out There

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)!

Glad you’re safe @soundman1024!

Tableau Purchased by Salesforce

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?

We’ll be watching closely.

Salesforce Tableau

Japan’s Office Chair Grand Prix

Backblaze employees saw this story on Japan’s grand prix with office chairs and someone suggested that Backblaze should host a similar competition in San Francisco.

Are they kidding? With SF’s hills?

Giant 4MB Disk Platter on Reddit

A recent Reddit post got a lot of interest here and elsewhere, What a 4 megabyte harddrive looked like in 1965 (iPhone X for scale).

We wondered how many of these platters it would take to store all the data Backblaze has stored for its customers in our data centers.

The answer? Roughly 274,877,906,944 disks.

Giant 4MB drive platter on Reddit

Have a story of backup or recovery you think people would like to hear, or an idea for a topic you’d like us to write about on the blog?
Send your ideas to mailbag@backblaze.com.

The post Heard Around Backblaze appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

An Introduction to NAS for Photo & Video Production

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/an-introduction-to-nas-for-photo-video-production/

NAS for Photo and Video Production

In this post:

  1. What is a NAS?
  2. NAS capabilities
  3. Three examples of common media workflows using a NAS
  4. 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

Synology NAS
Synology NAS

Storage Flexibility

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.

QNAP NAS
QNAP NAS

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.

Automatic Backup Locally and to the Cloud

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.

NAS to the cloud

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.

Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom

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.

Avid Media Composer
Avid Media Composer

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.

  1. Flexible and expandable storage — fast, expandable and grows with your needs
  2. Data protection — provides local file redundancy as well as an automated backup gateway to the cloud
  3. Data accessibility and sharing — functions as a central media hub with internet connectivity and access control
  4. Integration with media editing tools — works with editing and cataloging apps for photo and video
  5. 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.

Morro Data CacheDrive
Morro Data CacheDrive

Do you have experience using NAS in a photo or video workflow? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

•  •  •

Note: This post originally appeared on Lensrentals.com on 10/25/18.

The post An Introduction to NAS for Photo & Video Production appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

These Aren’t Your Ordinary Data Centers

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/these-arent-your-ordinary-data-centers/

Barcelona Supercomputing Center

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.

Microsoft's Project Natick
Microsoft’s Project Natick at the launch site in the city of Stromness on Orkney Island, Scotland on Sunday May 27, 2018. (Photography by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)
Natick Brest
Microsoft’s Project Natick in Brest, France

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.

Torre Girona. a former Catholic church in Barcelona
Torre Girona, a former Catholic church in Barcelona
The Barcelona Supercomputing Center, home of the MareNostrum supercomputer
The Barcelona Supercomputing Center, home of the MareNostrum supercomputer

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center, home of the MareNostrum supercomputer

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center, home of the MareNostrum supercomputer

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.

We previously wrote about this extraordinary data center in our post, The Challenges of Opening a Data Center — Part 1.

The Bahnhof Data Center under White Mountain in Stockholm, Sweden
The Bahnhof Data Center under White Mountain in Stockholm, Sweden

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.

Equinix NAP of the Americas Data Center in Miami
Equinix NAP of the Americas Data Center in Miami

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 Lefdal Mine Data Center in Norway
The Lefdal Mine Datacenter in Norway

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.

The Switch Core Campus in Nevada
The Switch Core Campus in Nevada
Tahoe Reno Switch Data Center
Tahoe Reno Switch Data Center

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.

Cloud Constellation's SpaceBelt
Cloud Constellation’s SpaceBelt

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.

Shed used for very early (pre-customer) data storage testing
Shed used for very early (pre-customer) data storage testing

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.)

Backblaze's first data storage cabinet to hold customer data (2009) (front)
Backblaze’s first data storage cabinet to hold customer data (2009) (front)
Backblaze's first data storage cabinet to hold customer data (2009) (back)
Backblaze’s first data storage cabinet to hold customer data (2009) (back)

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.

The post These Aren’t Your Ordinary Data Centers appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Who We Are & What We Do

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/who-we-are-what-we-do/

Tina, Backblaze Director of Software Engineering

We recently celebrated our 12-year anniversary as a company (see our company timeline). We thought it’d be a great time to make a video showing who we are and what kind of company we’ve built.

In the video, we gave members of our team the opportunity to use their own words to describe what it’s like to work at Backblaze.

We’re still growing and we have openings in engineering, marketing, product management, devops, and operations. If, after viewing the video and reading over the job listings, you think there might be a fit for you, we’d love to have a conversation about joining the Backblaze family.

We hope you take a look at our video entitled, Who We Are & What We Do.

The post Who We Are & What We Do appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Connect Veeam to the B2 Cloud: Episode 4 — Using Morro Data CloudNAS

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/connect-veeam-to-the-b2-cloud-episode-4-using-morro-data-cloudnas/

Veeam backup to Backblaze B2 Episode 4 of Series

In the fourth post in our series on connecting Veeam with B2, we provide a guide on how to back up your VMs to Backblaze B2 using Veeam and Morro Data’s CloudNAS. In our previous posts, we covered how to connect Veeam to the B2 cloud using OpenDedupe, connect Veeam to the B2 cloud using Synology, and connect Veeam with B2 using StarWind VTL.

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.

diagram of Veeam backing up to B2 using Cloudflare and Morro Data CloudNAS

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.

View all posts in the Veeam series.

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How to Have Fun This Summer and Keep Your Data Safe, Too

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/protecting-your-data-when-traveling/

Man in hat taking goofy summer photos

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.

Mobile phone in pool

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.

And be sure to have a great summer!

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Wrap-Up of NAB 2019 in Las Vegas

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/wrap-up-of-nab-2019-in-las-vegas/

Backblaze at NAB 2019 in Las Vegas

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.”

NAB 2019
Skip and Yev of Backblaze talk to a booth visitor

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.”

NAB 2019
Backblaze’s busy booth at NAB

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.”

NAB 2019
Nathan, Victoria, Troy, Nilay, Janet, and Terry of Backblaze answered lots of questions from visitors to the show
NAB 2019
Ahin and Andrew of Backblaze

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!

NAB 2019 iconik demo
Booth visitors get a demo of how to use iconik and B2 to manage media assets.
NAB 2019
B2 built out of Backblaze Storage Pods with display of some of the B2 workflow partners.

Blog Series for NAB

If you’ve been following the blog, you know that our creative workflow experts at Backblaze wrote a series of posts on creative media workflows. Don’t miss them!

Video From NAB Show 2019 Dailies — Ortana Media Group & Backblaze

James Gibson, founder & CEO of Ortana, talks with Backblaze VP of Marketing Ahin Thomas about why B2 Cloud Storage and the Cubix MAM & Orchestration platform together make a great solution.

Were You at NAB?

If you were at NAB this year, we hope you stopped by the Backblaze booth to say hello. We’d like to hear what you saw at the show that was interesting or exciting. Please let us know in the comments.

The post Wrap-Up of NAB 2019 in Las Vegas appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

3-2-1 Backup Best Practices Using the Cloud

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/3-2-1-backup-best-practices-using-the-cloud/

Archive 3-2-1

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.

Let’s first do a quick review of 3-2-1 backup strategy.

The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy

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.

Synology NAS and cloud backup symbol

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.

Backblaze data center

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

a storage vault in the middle of a cloud

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.

Competitive costCompetition in cloud storage has made for competitive pricing and a range of services. The cloud is more affordable than ever.

Advantages of Adding the Cloud to 3-2-1

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.

Data center racks

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.
  • Leverage multi-threaded uploads to improve transfer speed.
  • 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.

You can read more posts in this series written in conjunction with Lensrentals.com on photography and videography.

•  •  •

Note: This post originally appeared on Lensrentals.com on September 18, 2018.

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Google+ is Shutting Down: Save Your Content By March 31

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/google-is-shutting-down-save-your-content-by-march-31/

Farewell Google+

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

How to download your data.

Google dialog to download your data
Google dialog to download your data

More Information from Google on Google+ Closure

For more information, see the full Google+ shutdown FAQ.

The post Google+ is Shutting Down: Save Your Content By March 31 appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backing Up Isn’t Hard to Do (for Musicians)

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backing-up-isnt-hard-to-do-for-musicians/

Home recording studio

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.

Myspace missing song
Song missing 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.

Child

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.

•  •  •

*Nothing Holds a Memory (Like a Song)Jason Cassidy, American country singer and songwriter.

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Welcome to Our New Blog

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/welcome-to-our-new-blog/

screenshot of the new Backblaze blog homepage

As we recently teased, we’ve been working on a new blog design and now it’s here. We invite you to kick the tires, take it for a spin, do a few donuts, and tell us what you think.

Our goals for the new design were pretty simple:

  1. Present a friendlier user interface
  2. Make it easier for the reader to find content related to what they’re reading
  3. Introduce the reader to content they might not know we wrote about
  4. Make everything work faster

Specifically, here’s what’s changed:

  • OverallFaster, easier to navigate, more content to discover
    • Faster to load
    • Highly responsive for mobile visitors
    • Worldwide Cloudflare caching
    • Three-column grid layout
    • Smooth scroll back to top of page
  • New Home Page layoutA better introduction to the blog
    • New banner for desktop visitors
    • Featured post(s) at the top of the page
  • Category PagesMore information on categories
    • Optional featured post from that category at the top of the page
    • Category description at the top of the page
  • Tag PagesMore information on tags
    • Tag description is at the top of the page
  • Author PagesWho is the author?
    • Author bio is at top
    • Author’s past posts
  • Post PagesMore information about the content you’re reading
    • Wider post text area
    • New sidebar highlights posts related to the post being read
    • Option to include other content & events related to the current post
    • Option to print post, if desired
  • Archives PageA new way to discover content
    • Discover posts by:
      • Date
      • Category
      • Tag
      • Search
      • Byline

Our new blog is faster and more flexible so that we can change or add capabilities as we need them. We already have a new more items we’re planning to implement over the coming months.

Please tell us what you think of the new design and if you have any other enhancements you’d like to see.

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Our Blog Redesign — Coming Soon!

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/our-blog-redesign-coming-soon/

Our new blog is coming.

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.

The blog was updated in 2014 with a responsive design to serve our increasing number of mobile-based readers, new categories, a new commenting system (Disqus), and the ability to sign up for a blog email list. We also improved our site search function in 2017.

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!

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Wanted: Senior Director of Product Marketing

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/wanted-senior-director-of-product-marketing/

We're hiring

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.

About Backblaze

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 marshall 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.

If this all sounds like you:

  • Send an email to jobscontact@backblaze.com with the position in the subject line.
  • Tell us a bit about your work history.
  • Include your resume.
  • Share an example of talent development, either from your past or something you found notable. Why did it stick out to you? How have you applied it to your work? (less than 500 words)

Backblaze is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Five Best Practices to Securely Preserve Your Video, Photo, and Other Data

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/five-best-practices-to-securely-preserve-your-video-photo-and-other-data/

computer and camera overlooking a lake

Whether you’re working with video, photo, audio, or other data, preserving the security of your data has to be at the top of your priority list. Data security might sound like a challenging proposition, but by following just a handful of guidelines it becomes a straightforward and easily accomplished task.

We’d like to share what we consider best practices for maintaining the safety of your data. For both seasoned pros and those just getting started with digital media, these best practices are important to implement and revisit regularly. We believe that by following these practices — independently of which specific data storage software, service, or device you use — you will ensure that all your media and other data are kept secure to the greatest extent possible.

The Five Best Practices to Keep Your Digital Media Safe

1 — Keep Multiple Copies of Your Media Files

Everyone by now is likely familiar with the 3-2-1 strategy for maintaining multiple copies of your data (video, photos, digital asset management catalogs, etc.). Following a 3-2-1 strategy simply means that you should always have at least three copies of your active data, two of which are local, and at least one that is in another location.

a tech standing looking at a pod full of hard drives in a data center
Choose a reliable storage provider

Mind you, this is for active data, that is, files and other data that you are currently working on and want to have backed up in case of accident, theft, or hardware failure. Once you’re finished working with your data, you should consider archiving your data, which we’ve also written about on our blog.

2 — Use Trustworthy Vendors

There are times when you can legitimately cut corners to save money, and there are times when you shouldn’t. When it comes to your digital media and services, you want to go with the best. That means using topnotch memory sticks, HDD and SSD drives, software, and cloud services.

For hardware devices and software, it’s always helpful to read reviews or talk with others using the devices to find out how well they work. For hard drive reliability, our Drive Stats blog posts can be informative and are a unique source of information in the data storage industry.

For cloud storage, you want a vendor with a strong track record of reliability and cost stability. You don’t want to use a cloud service or other SaaS vendor that has a history of making it difficult or expensive to access or download your data from their service. A topnotch service vendor will be transparent in their business practices, inform you when there are any outages in their service or maintenance windows, and try as hard as possible to make things right if problems occur.

3 — Always Use Encryption (The Strongest Available)

Encrypting your data provides a number of benefits. It protects your data no matter where it is stored, and also when it is being moved — potentially the most vulnerable exposure your data will have.

Encrypted data can’t be altered or corrupted without the changes being detected, which provides another advantage. Encryption also enables you to meet requirements for privacy and security compliance and to keep up with changing rules and regulations.

Encryption comes in different flavors. You should always select the strongest encryption available, and make sure that any passwords or multi-factor authentication you use are strong and unique for each application.

4 — Automate Whenever Possible

Don’t rely on your memory or personal discipline alone to remember to regularly back up your data. While we always start with the best of intentions, we are busy and we often let things slide (much like resolving to exercise regularly). It’s better to have a regular schedule that you commit to, and best if the backups happen automatically. Many backup and archive apps let you specify when backups, incremental backups, or snapshots occur. You usually can set how many copies of your data to keep, and whether backups are triggered by the date and time or when data changes.

Automating your backups and archives means that you won’t forget to back up and results in a greater likelihood that your data will not only be recoverable after an accident or hardware failure, but up to date. You’ll be glad for the reduced stress and worry in your life, as well.

5 — Be Mindful of Security in Your Workflow

Nobody wants to worry about security all the time, but if it’s ignored, sooner or later that inattention will catch up with you. The best way to both increase the security of your data and reduce stress in your life is to have a plan and implement it.

At its simplest, the concept of security mindfulness means that you should be conscious of how you handle your data during all stages of your workflow. Being mindful shouldn’t require you to overthink, stress or worry, but just to be aware of the possible outcomes of your decisions about how you’re handling your data.

If you follow the first four practices in this list, then this fifth concept should flow naturally from them. You’ve taken the right steps to a long term plan for maintaining your data securely.

Data Security Can Be Both Simple and Effective

The best security practices are the ones that are easy to follow consistently. If you pay attention to the five best practices we’ve outlined here, then you’re well on your way to secure data and peace of mind.

•  •  •

Note:  This post originally appeared on Lensrentals.com on September 18, 2018.

The post Five Best Practices to Securely Preserve Your Video, Photo, and Other Data appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

How Reliable are SSDs?

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/how-reliable-are-ssds/

an exploded view of a Samsung Solid State Drive

What’s not to love about solid state drives (SSDs)? They are faster than conventional hard disk drives (HDDs), more compact, have no moving parts, are immune to magnetic fields, and can withstand more shocks and vibration than conventional magnetic platter disks. And, they are becoming available in larger and larger capacities while their cost comes down.

If you’ve upgraded an older computer with an SSD, you no doubt instantly saw the benefits. Your computer booted in less time, your applications loaded faster, and even when you ran out of memory, and apps and data had to be swapped to disk, it felt like everything was much snappier.

We’re now seeing SSDs with capacities that used to be reserved for HDDs and at prices that no longer make our eyes water. 500 GB SSDs are now affordable (under $100), and 1 TB drives are reasonably priced ($100 to $150). Even 2 TB SSDs fall into a budget range for putting together a good performance desktop system ($300 to $400).

We’ve written a number of times on this blog about SSDs, and considered the best uses for SSDs compared to HDDs. We’ve also written about the future of SSDs and how we use them in our data centers and whether we plan on using more in the future.

Reliability

In this post we’re going to consider the issue of SSD reliability. For all their merits, can SSDs be trusted with your data and will they last as long or longer than if you were using an HDD instead? You might have read that SSDs are limited to a finite number of reads and writes before they fail. What’s that all about?

The bottom line question is: do SSD drives fail? Of course they do, as do all drives eventually. The important questions we really need to be asking are 1) do they fail faster than HDDs, and 2) how long can we reasonably expect them to last?

Backing Up Is Great To Do

Of course, as a data storage and backup company, you know what we’re going to say right off. We always recommend that no matter which storage medium you use, you should always have a backup copy of your data. Even if the disk is reliable and in good condition, it won’t do you any good if your computer is stolen, consumed by a flood, or lost in a fire or other act of nature. You might have heard that water damage is the most common computer accident, and few computer components can survive a thorough soaking, especially when powered.

SSD Reliability Factors to Consider

Generally, SSDs are more durable than HDDs in extreme and harsh environments because they don’t have moving parts such as actuator arms. SSDs can withstand accidental drops and other shocks, vibration, extreme temperatures, and magnetic fields better than HDDs. Add to that their small size and lower power consumption, and you can understand why they’re a great fit for laptop computers and mobile applications.

First, let’s cover the basics. Almost all types of today’s SSDs use NAND flash memory. NAND isn’t an acronym like a lot of computer terms. Instead, it’s a name that’s derived from its logic gate called “NOT AND.”

SSD part diagram including Cache, Controller, and NAND Flash Memory

The term following NAND, flash, refers to a non-volatile solid state memory that retains data even when the power source is removed. NAND storage has specific properties that affect how long it will last. When data is written to a NAND cell (also known as programming), the data must be erased before new data can be written to that same cell. NAND is programed and erased by applying a voltage to send electrons through an insulator. The location of those electrons (and their quantity) determine when current will flow between a source and a sink (called a voltage threshold), determining the data stored in that cell (the 1s and 0s). When writing and erasing NAND, it sends the electrons through the insulator and back, and the insulator starts to wear — the exact number of these cycles in each individual cell varies by NAND design. Eventually, the insulator wears to the point where it may have difficulty keeping the electrons in their correct (programmed) location, which makes it increasingly more difficult to determine if the electrons are where they should be, or if they have migrated on their own.

This means that flash type memory cells can only be programmed and erased a limited number of times. This is measured in P/E cycles, which stands for programmed and erased.

P/E cycles are an important measurement of SSD reliability, but there are other factors that are important to consider, as well. These are P/E cycles, TBW (terabytes written), and MTBF (mean time between failures).

The SSD manufacturer will have these specifications available for their products and they can help you understand how long your drive can be expected to last and whether a particular drive is suited to your application.

P/E cycles — A solid-state-storage program-erase cycle is a sequence of events in which data is written to solid-state NAND flash memory cell, then erased, and then rewritten. How many P/E cycles a SSD can endure varies with the technology used, somewhere between 500 to 100,000 P/E cycles.

TBW — Terabytes written is the total amount of data that can be written into an SSD before it is likely to fail. For example, here are the TBW warranties for the popular Samsung 860 EVO SSD: 150 TBW for 250 GB model, 300 TBW for 500 GB model, 600 TBW for 1 TB model, 1,200 TBW for 2 TB model and 2,400 TBW for 4 TB model. Note: these models are warrantied for 5 years or TBW, whichever comes first.

MTBF — MTBF (mean time between failures) is a measure of how reliable a hardware product or component is over its expected lifetime. For most components, the measure is typically in thousands or even tens of thousands of hours between failures. For example, a hard disk drive may have a mean time between failures of 300,000 hours, while an SSD might have 1.5 million hours.

This doesn’t mean that your SSD will last that many hours, what it means is, given a sample set of that model of SSD, errors will occur at a certain rate. A 1.2 million hour MTBF means that if the drive is used at an average of 8 hours a day, a sample size of 1,000 SSDs would be expected to have one failure every 150 days, or about twice a year.

SSD Types

There are a number of different types of SSD, and advancements to the technology continue at a brisk pace. Generally, SSDs are based on four different NAND cell technologies:

  • SLC (Single Level Cell) — one bit per cell
  • When one bit is stored (SLC), it’s not necessary to keep close tabs on electron locations, so a few electrons migrating isn’t much of a concern. Because only a 1 or a 0 is being stored, it’s necessary only to accurately determine if voltage flows or not.

  • MLC (Multi-Level Cell) — two bits per cell
  • MLC stores two bits per cell, so more precision is needed (determining voltage threshold is more complex). It’s necessary to distinguish among 00, 01, 10 or 11. Migrating electrons have more of an impact, so the insulator cannot be worn as much as with SLC.

  • TLC (Triple Level Cell) — three bits per cell
  • This trend continues with TLC where three bits are stored: 001, 010, 100, …110 and 111. Migrating electrons have more effect than in MLC, which further reduces tolerable insulator wear.

  • QLC (Quad Level Cell) — four bits per cell
  • QLC stores four bits (16 possible combinations of 1s and 0s). With QLC, migrating electrons have the most significant effect. Tolerable insulator wear is further reduced.

    QLC is a good fit for read-centric workloads because NAND cells are worn negligibly when reading data versus worn more when writing data (programming and erasing). When writing and rewriting a lot of data, the insulator wears more quickly. If a NAND cell can tolerate that wear, it is well suited to read/write mixed accesses. The less wear-tolerable NAND cells are, the better they are suited for read-centric workloads and applications.

Each subsequent technology for NAND allows it to store an extra bit. The fewer bits per NAND cell, the faster, more reliable, and more energy efficient the technology is — and also, more expensive. A SLC SSD would technically be the most reliable SSD as it can endure more writes, while a QLC is the least reliable. If you’re selecting an SSD for an application where it will be written more than read, than the selection of NAND cell technology could be a significant factor in your decision. If your application is general computer use, it likely will matter less to you.

How Reliability Factors Affect Your Choice of SSD

How important these factors are to you depends on how the SSD is used. The right question to ask is how a drive will perform in your application. There are different performance and reliability criteria depending on whether the SSD will be used in a home desktop computer, a data center, or an exploration vehicle on Mars.

Manufacturers sometimes specify the type of application workload for which an SSD is designed, such as write-intensive, read-intensive or mixed-use. Some vendors allow the customer to select the optimal level of endurance and capacity for a particular SSD. For instance, an enterprise user with a high-transaction database might opt for a higher number of drive writes at the expense of capacity. Or a user operating a database that does infrequent writes might choose a lower drive writes number and a higher capacity.

Signs of SSD Failure

SSDs will eventually fail, but there usually are advance warnings of when that’s going to happen. You’ve likely encountered the dreaded clicking sound that emanates from a dying HDD. As an SSD has no moving parts, so we won’t get an audible warning that an SSD is about to fail us. You should be paying attention for a number of indicators that your SSD is nearing its end of life, and take action by replacing that drive with a new one.

1) Errors Involving Bad Blocks

Much like bad sectors on HDDs, there are bad blocks on SSDs. This is typically a scenario where the computer attempts to read or save a file, but it takes an unusually long time and ends in failure, so the system eventually gives up with an error message.

2) Files Cannot Be Read or Written

There are two ways in which a bad block can affect your files, 1) the system detects the bad block while writing data to the drive, and thus refuses to write data, and 2), the system detects the bad block after the data has been written, and thus refuses to read that data.

3) The File System Needs Repair
Getting an error message on your screen can happen simply because the computer was not shut down properly, but it also could be a sign of an SSD developing bad blocks or other problems.

4) Crashing During Boot
A crash during the computer boot is a sign that your drive could be developing a problem. You should make sure you have a current backup of all your data before it gets worse and the drive fails completely.

5) The Drive Becomes Read-Only
Your drive might refuse to write any more data to disk and can only read data. Fortunately, you can still get your data off the disk.

SSDs Generally Will Last As Long As You Need Them To

Let’s go back to the two questions we asked above.

Q: Do SSDs fail faster than HDDs?

A: That depends on the technology of the drives and how they’re used. HDDs are better suited for some applications and SSDs for others. SSDs can be expected to last as long or longer than HDDs in most general applications.

and

Q: How long can we reasonably expect an SSD to last?

A: An SSD should last as long as its manufacturer expects it to last (e.g. five years), provided that the use of the drive is not excessive for the technology it employs (e.g. using a QLC in an application with a high number of writes). Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that how you’re using the SSD matches its best use.

SSDs are a different breed of animal than a HDD and they have their strengths and weaknesses relative to other storage media. The good news is that their strengths — speed, durability, size, power consumption, etc. — are backed by pretty good overall reliability.

SSD users are far more likely to replace their storage drive because they’re ready to upgrade to a newer technology, higher capacity, or faster drive, than having to replace the drive due to a short lifespan. Under normal use we can expect an SSD to last years. If you replace your computer every three years, as most users do, then you probably needn’t worry about whether your SSD will outlast your computer. What’s important is whether the SSD will be sufficiently reliable that you won’t lose your data.

As we saw above, if you’re paying attention to your system, you will be given ample warning of an impending drive failure, and you can replace the drive before the data is not readable.

It’s good to understand how the different SSD technologies affect their reliability, and whether it’s worth it to spend extra money for SLC over MLC or QLC. However, unless you’re using an SSD in a specialized application with more writes than reads as we described above, just selecting a good quality SSD from a reputable manufacturer should be enough to make you feel confident that your SSD will have a useful life span.

Keep an eye out for any signs of failure or bad sectors, and, of course, be sure to have a solid backup plan no matter what type of drive you’re using.

The post How Reliable are SSDs? appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

B2 on Your Desktop — Cloud Storage Made Easy

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/cloud-storage-made-easy/

B2 on your Desktop

People have lots of different ways that they work with files in B2 Cloud Storage, and there’s a wide range of integrations for different platforms and different uses.

Sometimes, though, being able to use B2 as if it were just another drive on your desktop is the easiest way to go. The applications we’ll be covering in this post make working with B2 as easy as dragging and dropping files from a file manager on your computer directly to B2, or from B2 to your computer. In other cases, you can drag files from a file manager to the application, or between panes inside the application. There’s something for every platform, too, whether you’re on Windows, Macintosh, or Linux. Some of these tools are even free.

Let’s take a look at the applications that make working with B2 a piece of cake! (Or, as easy as pie.)

Use B2 As a Drive on the Desktop

Our first group of applications let you use B2 as if it were a local drive on your computer. The files on B2 are available for you from (depending on platform) File Explorer on Windows, the Finder on Mac, or the File Manager on Linux (as well as the command-line). Some of the applications are free and some require purchase (marked with $).

Most of these apps are simple for anyone to set up. If you are a more advanced user, and comfortable working with the command-line in your OS’s terminal, there are a number of free command-line tools for mounting B2 as a drive, including restic, Rclone, and HashBackup. See their docs for how to mount restic, Rclone, or HashBackup as a drive. We previously wrote about using restic with B2 in our Knowledge Base.

When would dragging and dropping files on the desktop be useful? If you just need to move one or a few files, this could be the fastest way to do that. You can load the application when you need to transfer files, or have it start with your computer so your B2 files and buckets are always just a click away. If you keep archived documents or media in B2 and often need to browse to find a file, this makes that much faster. You can even use shortcuts, search, and other tools you have available for your desktop to find and manage files on B2.

We’ve grouped the applications by platform that let you use B2 as a drive.

Some Screenshots Showing Applications That Let You Use B2 as a Drive

screenshot of Mountain Duck interface for saving to B2 Cloud Storage

Mountain Duck

screenshot of B2 mounted on the desktop with Mountain Duck

B2 mounted on the desktop with Mountain Duck

screenshot of ExpanDrive saving to B2 cloud storage

ExpanDrive

Cloudmounter

Cloudmounter

screenshot of Cloudmounter with B2 open in Mac Finder

Cloudmounter with B2 open in Mac Finder

Use B2 From a Desktop Application

These applications allow you to use B2 from within the application, and also often work with the local OS’s file manager for drag and drop. They support not just B2, but other cloud and sync services, plus FTP, SFTP, Webdav, SSH, SMB, and other protocols for networking and transferring files.

All of the applications below require purchase, but they have demo periods when you can try them out before you decide you’re ready to purchase.

Screenshots of Using B2 From Desktop Applications

Filezilla Pro

Filezilla Pro browsing photos on B2

screenshot of Transmit with B2 files

Transmit with B2 files

screenshot of Cyberduck transmitting files to B2

Cyberduck

screenshot of odrive cloud storage integration

odrive

SmartFTP

SmartFTP

The Cloud on Your Desktop

We hope these applications make you think of B2 as easy and always available on your desktop whenever you need to move files to or from cloud storage. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy, right?

If you’ve used any of these applications, or others we didn’t mention in this post, please tell us in the comments how they worked for you.

The post B2 on Your Desktop — Cloud Storage Made Easy appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Save Data Directly to B2 With Backblaze Cloud Backup 6.0

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/save-data-directly-to-cloud-storage/

Save Restores to B2 screenshot

Customers have often told us that they’d love a way to save data directly from their Backblaze Computer Backup account to B2 Cloud Storage. Some want to freeze a set of records in time, others want to preserve the state of a directory or system as it existed at a specific moment. Still others simply want to remove data from their local drive but have the assurance that it is safely stored in the cloud.

We listened to these requests and are happy to say that we’ve added this capability in our just released 6.0 update of Backblaze Computer Backup. Users can now select B2 Cloud Storage as a destination to save Snapshots from their backup account during the restore process.

This capability lets customers do a number of new things, like keep a copy of their old computer’s data even when migrating to a new one, save a collection of files (e.g. last year’s emails, a completed work project, your novel draft, tax returns) in the cloud as an archive, or free up space on a hard drive by moving data to a Snapshot in B2 and then deleting the original copy. Just like files in Computer Backup, the B2 Snapshot can be downloaded over the internet or delivered anywhere on a USB flash or hard drive.

No More Connecting Your External Drives Every 30 Days

This new feature can particularly benefit users who have been using Computer Backup to back up data from multiple external drives. Often, these external drives are not always connected to their computers, and to maintain the backups they have been required to connect these drives at least once every 30 days so that they’re active and therefore maintained in their backup — a task they tell us they’d rather avoid.

Now, with the ability to save a restore to B2, these customers can take a Snapshot of the data already backed up from these drives and save it to a B2 account. They can save as many Snapshots as they wish, thereby saving the state of the drive as it existed in one moment for as long as they wish to retain it.

Snapshots are stored at economical B2 rates: $0.005 gigabyte/month and $0.01 gigabyte for downloads. Customers get an instant cost estimate when a Snapshot is prepared from Backblaze Backup to B2.

What is B2 Cloud Storage?

B2 is Backblaze’s low cost and high performance cloud storage. It can be used to store data for as short or as long a period as you require. The data in B2 is retrievable without delay from anywhere at any time.

B2 is different from Backblaze Computer Backup in that B2 can be used to store whatever data you want and you have complete control of how long it is retained. Our Computer Backup service offers unlimited backup of the data on your Mac or Windows computer using the Backblaze client software. B2, in contrast, can be accessed through the account dashboard or used with any of a number of applications chosen by the user, or accessed through various programming interfaces or from a computer’s command line. For more on pricing, see our pricing page and calculator for B2.

How Does Saving a Restore to B2 Work?

Files in your Computer Backup can be zipped and archived to a Snapshot that is stored in B2 Cloud Storage. These selected files will be safe in B2 until the Snapshot is removed by the user, even if the files have been deleted from the computer and the backup.

screenshot of the View/Restore Files options

Creating a Restore Snapshot in Backup account

The user gets an instant estimate of the cost to store the Snapshot in B2.

Name this Snapshot screenshot

Preparing Snapshot from Computer Backup account

The user receives a notice when the Snapshot is created and stored.

Your B2 Snapshot is Ready!

Notice that Snapshot has been created

An unlimited number of restores can be saved and retained as B2 Snapshots for any length of time desired.The user’s account dashboard shows all the Snapshots that have been created, and gives options to download or remove the Snapshot. A Snapshot can be downloaded directly from B2 to a user’s computer or shipped to customers on a USB flash or hard drive. And, when returned within 30 days, the cost of the flash or hard drive is completely refundable, just like with regular restores.

screenshot of user B2 Snapshots

User account page showing status of Snapshots in B2

Let Us Know How You’re Using Snapshots

We hope you’ll try out this new capability and let us know how you’re using it.

For more tips on saving data to B2 Snapshots, read our help article, Saving Files to B2 from Computer Backup, or sign up for our free webinar on Backblaze Backup v6.0 on January 30, 2019, at 11am PST.

The post Save Data Directly to B2 With Backblaze Cloud Backup 6.0 appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Best of the Blog 2018

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/best-of-the-blog-2018/

Best of the Blog 2018
2018 was a great year for Backblaze. We hope it was a great year for you, too. We’d like to start off the year with a look back at what we believe are the top blog posts of 2018.

We had outstanding posts in our Entrepreneurship series by our CEO Gleb Budman and others. We discussed the costs and use of LTO vs the cloud in a number of posts. We wrote again about ransomware, which unfortunately is still with us and will be covered along with other data security topics in the coming year. We increased the number of posts aimed at developers. Our What’s the Diff series of posts introduced technical terms and topics that might be new to some readers. We also launched a Power Tips series, which we hope will provide useful information to both our Cloud Backup and B2 users. We also had guest posts from Archiware, Lensrentals, and others, and a series about Veeam. Finally, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud are showing up in more and more posts and we expect that trend to continue. And, Backblaze wouldn’t be Backblaze without a little bit of our signature humor.

Please let us know if we’ve left out something you think should be included. We’d also like your comments on which topics you enjoyed, and what type of blog posts you’d like to see more of (or less of) in 2019.

We are looking forward to a busy and productive 2019!

The Best from the Backblaze Blog in 2018

January 3

12 B2 Power Tips for New Users

February 1

Backblaze Hard Drive Stats for 2017

February 22

Ode to ‘Locate My Computer’

March 9

Backblaze Cuts B2 Download Price In Half

April 3

Backblaze Announces B2 Compute Partnerships

April 10

Cloud Empire: Meet the Rebel Alliance

April 19

Confused About the Hybrid Cloud? You’re Not Alone

May 3

The Helium Factor and Hard Drive Failure Rates

May 29

Getting Rid of Your Mac? Here’s How to Securely Erase a Hard Drive or SSD

July 17

Backblaze Durability is 99.999999999% — And Why It Doesn’t Matter

July 26

Five Tips For Creating a Predictable Cloud Storage Budget

August 2

What’s the Diff: Backup vs Archive

September 26

Backblaze and Cloudflare Partner to Provide Free Data Transfer

October 2

Backing Up for Small Business

October 9

iconik and Backblaze — The Cloud Production Solution You’ve Always Wanted

November 13

Making Lemonade: The Importance of Social Media and Community

December 4

LTO Versus Cloud Storage Costs — the Math Revealed

December 13

Bootstrapping to $30 Million ARR

December 18

2018 in the Rear View Mirror

Thanks again for reading our blog in 2018!

The post Best of the Blog 2018 appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

What’s the Diff: NAS vs SAN

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/whats-the-diff-nas-vs-san/

What's the Diff? Network Attachd Storage (NAS) vs Storage Area Network (SAN)

Both network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) were developed to solve the problem of making stored data available to a lot of users at once. Each of them provides dedicated storage for a group of users, but they couldn’t be more different in their approach to achieving their mission.

A NAS is a single storage device that serves files over Ethernet and is relatively inexpensive and easy to set up, while a SAN is a tightly coupled network of multiple devices that work with block-based data and is more expensive and complex to set up and manage. From a user perspective, the biggest difference between NAS and SAN is that NAS devices look like volumes on a file server and use protocols like NFS and SMB/CIFS, while SAN-connected disks appear to the user as local drives.

We provide an overview of the differences between NAS and SAN below. We’ll also briefly cover solutions that combine NAS and SAN and offer many of the advanced benefits of SAN without its high cost.

Basic Definitions — What is NAS?

A NAS is a computer connected to a network that provides file-based data storage services to other devices on the network. The primary strength of NAS is how simple it is to set up and deploy. NAS volumes appear to the user as network mounted volume. The files to be served are typically contained on one or more storage drives, often arranged into logical, redundant storage containers or RAID. The device itself is a network node, much like computers and other TCP/IP devices, all of which maintain their own IP address and can effectively communicate with other networked devices. Although a NAS is usually not designed to be a general-purpose server, NAS vendors and third parties are increasingly offering other software to provide server-like functionality on a NAS.

NAS devices offer an easy way for multiple users in diverse locations to access data, which is valuable when uses are collaborating on projects or sharing information. NAS provides good access controls and security to support collaboration, while also enabling someone who is not an IT professional to administer and manage access to the data. It also offers good fundamental data security through the use of redundant data structures — often RAID — and automatic backup services to local devices and to the cloud.

Benefits of NAS

A NAS is frequently the next step up for a home office or small business that is using DAS (direct attached storage). The move up to NAS results from the desire to share files locally and remotely, having files available 24/7, data redundancy, the ability to replace and upgrade hard drives in the system, and and the availability of other services such as automatic backup.

Summary of NAS Benefits

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • 24/7 and remote data availability
  • Good expandability
  • Redundant storage architecture
  • Automatic backups to other devices and cloud
  • Flexibility

Network attached Storage (NAS)

Synology NAS

NAS with eight drive bays for 3.5″ disk drives

Limitations of NAS

The weaknesses of a NAS are related to scale and performance. As more users need access, the server might not be able to keep up and could require the addition of more server horsepower. The other weakness is related to the nature of Ethernet itself. By design, Ethernet transfers data from one place to another via packets, dividing the source into a number of segments and sending them along to their destination. Any of those packets could be delayed, or sent out of order, and might not be available to the user until all of the packets arrive and are put back in order.

Any latency (slow or retried connections) is usually not noticed by users for small files, but can be a major problem in demanding environments such as video production, where files are extremely large and latency of more than a few milliseconds can disrupt production steps such as rendering.

Basic Definitions — What is SAN?

A SAN is a way to provide users shared access to consolidated, block level data storage, even allowing multiple clients to access files at the same time with very high performance. A SAN enhances the accessibility of storage devices such as disk arrays and tape libraries by making them appear to users as if they were external hard drives on their local system. By providing a separate storage-based network for block data access over high-speed Fibre Channel, and avoiding the limitations of TCP/IP protocols and local area network congestion, a SAN provides the highest access speed available for media and mission critical stored data.

Storage area network (SAN)

SAN connecting yellow storage devices with orange servers via purple Fibre Channel switches

SAN connecting yellow storage devices with orange servers via purple Fibre Channel switches

Benefits of SAN

Because it’s considerably more complex and expensive than NAS, SAN is typically used by large corporations and requires administration by an IT staff. For some applications, such as video editing, it’s especially desirable due to its high speed and low latency. Video editing requires fair and prioritized bandwidth usage across the network, which is an advantage of SAN.

A primary strength of a SAN is that all of the file access negotiation happens over Ethernet while the files are served via extremely high speed Fibre Channel, which translates to very snappy performance on the client workstations, even for very large files. For this reason SAN is widely used today in collaborative video editing environments.

Summary of SAN Benefits

  • Extremely fast data access
  • Dedicated network for storage relieves stress on LAN
  • Highly expandable
  • OS level (block level) access to files
  • High quality-of-service for demanding applications such as video editing

Limitations of SAN

The challenge of SAN can be summed up in its cost and administration requirements — having to dedicate and maintain both a separate Ethernet network for metadata file requests and implement a Fibre Channel network can be a considerable investment. That being said, SANs are really the only way to provide very fast data access for a large number of users that also can scale to supporting hundreds of users at the same time.

What’s the Diff: NAS vs SAN

NASSAN
Typically used in homes and small to medium sized businesses.Typically used in professional and enterprise environments.
Less expensiveMore expensive
Easier to manageRequires more administration
Data accessed as if it were a network-attached drive (files)Servers access data as if it were a local hard drive (blocks)
Speed dependent on local TCP/IP usually Ethernet network, typically 100 megabits to one gigabit per second. Generally slower throughput and higher latency due to slower file system layer.High speed using Fibre Channel, 2 gigabits to 128 gigabits per second. Some SANs use iSCSI as a less expensive but slower alternative to Fibre Channel.
I/O protocols: NFS, SMB/CIFS, HTTPSCSI, iSCSI, FCoE
Lower-end not highly scalable; high-end NAS scale to petabytes using clusters or scale-out nodesNetwork architecture enables admins to scale both performance and capacity as needed
Does not work with virtualizationWorks with virtualization
Requires no architectural changesRequires architectural changes
Entry level systems often have a single point of failure, e.g. power supplyFault tolerant network with redundant functionality
Susceptible to network bottlenecksNot affected by network traffic bottlenecks. Simultaneous access to cache, benefiting applications such as video editing.
File backups and snapshots economical and schedulable.Block backups and mirrors require more storage.

NAS/SAN Convergence

The benefits of SAN are motivating some vendors to offer SAN-like products at lower cost chiefly by avoiding the high expense of Fibre Channel networking. This has resulted in a partial convergence of NAS and SAN approaches to network storage at a lower cost than purely SAN.

One example is Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), which supports block level transfers over standard LAN at speeds of 10GB/sec+. For smaller deployments, iSCSI is even less expensive, allowing SCSI commands to be sent inside of IP packets on a LAN. Both of these approaches avoid expensive Fibre Channel completely, resulting in slower, but less expensive ways to get the block level access and other benefits of a SAN.

Are You Using NAS, SAN, or Both?

If you are using NAS or SAN, we’d love to hear from you about what you’re using and how you’re using them. Also, please feel free to suggest other topics for this series.

The post What’s the Diff: NAS vs SAN appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Ever Wish You Had a Backup Brain? The Mars Rover Has One

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/mars-rover-backup-brain/

Mars Curiosity Rover at JPL in Pasadena

Have you ever had one of those days when even a second cup of coffee can’t jump-start your thinking and you just wished you had another brain you could switch to? If you’re the Mars Curiosity Rover, you do.

A recent glitch in its main computer required the Curiosity Rover team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to switch to another computer in the rover while they worked to resolve problems with its main computer. The problem started around September 15 with the rover “failing to store science and some key engineering data,” according to NASA. The rover continued to send limited engineering data stored in short-term memory when it connected to a relay orbiter — it was otherwise healthy and receiving commands. But whatever was preventing Curiosity from storing science data in long-term memory was also preventing the storage of the rover’s event records, a journal of all its actions that engineers need in order to make a diagnosis. The computer swap allowed data and event records to be stored on the Curiosity‘s other computer, improving the rover’s operations and helping the engineers diagnose the problem.

Tweet from Mars Curiosity Rover @MarsCuriosity on October 3, 2018

Two Brains Are Better Than One

Like most spacecraft, NASA outfits its spacecraft with twin computers for redundancy in case any problems arise with its main computer. Curiosity‘s paired computers are called Side-A and Side-B. The rover began its stay on Mars in August of 2012 using Side-A but switched to Side-B in February of 2013 when a problem developed in the computer’s flash memory that caused the computer to continuously reboot in a loop. Engineers working from 33.9 million miles away on earth were eventually able to get the Side-A computer back in working order. That’s the computer Curiosity switched back to this past October while engineers continued to investigate the memory errors in the Side-B machine.

Curiosity continues to operate using its Side-A computer. According to Steven Lee, Curiosity‘s deputy project manager at JPL, “At this point, we’re confident we’ll be getting back to full operations, but it’s too early to say how soon. It’s certainly possible to run the mission on the Side-A computer if we really need to, but our plan is to switch back to Side-B as soon as we can fix the problem to utilize its larger memory size.”

Tweet from @MarsCuriosity on October 17, 2018

The computer problems haven’t prevented Curiosity from continuing to pursue its mission objectives, which include an investigation of the Martian climate and geology; assessment of whether the selected field site inside Gale Crater has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, including investigation of the role of water; and planetary habitability studies in preparation for human exploration.

Inside the Curiosity’s Brains

Even though Curiosity‘s computers are specialized for space use, the circuit board and operating system will be familiar to many. The CPU is a RAD750, a version of the IBM PowerPC 750, which was used in many computers from Apple, including the original iMac. The datasheet for the RAD750 states that the processor, “is the best space microprocessor available today by any selection criterion — performance, cost, availability, or flight heritage.”

RAD750 radiation-hardened PowerPC space microprocessor

RAD750 radiation-hardened PowerPC space microprocessor

On-board memory includes 256MB of DRAM and 2 GB of Flash Memory (~8 times as much as Rovers Spirit or Opportunity), both with error detection and correction and 256kB of EEPROM. The microprocessor operates at up to 200 megahertz speed, 10 times the speed of earlier microprocessors in rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

Two British Aerospace RAD750 single board computers as used aboard the Curiosity rover

Two British Aerospace RAD750 single board computers as used aboard the Curiosity rover

For Curiosity‘s software, NASA stuck to proven solutions, selecting the VxWorks operating system. VxWorks, developed by Wind River Systems, is a real-time operating system used in a huge number of embedded systems. The previous Mars rovers (Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft all use VxWorks. VxWorks also powers many earth-bound device and vehicles, including BMW’s iDrive, the Apache Longbow helicopter, and the Apple Airport Extreme and Linksys WRT54G routers.

Shortly after landing on Mars, on August 8, 2012, NASA Mission Control began upgrading the rover’s dual computers by deleting the entry-descent-landing software, then uploading and installing the surface operation software. The switchover to the new software was completed by August 15.

Note: some of the software developed for the rovers is available from NASA on GitHub.

The Right Stuff for Space Exploration

It might sound like these units resemble what we use everyday at home or in offices, but they are designed to withstand the harsh environments that will be encountered by satellites and space exploration vehicles. The RAD750 can withstand temperatures of between -55 and 70C and radiation levels up to 1000 gray (a gray is defined as the absorption of one joule of radiation energy per kilogram of matter). Safely protected within Curiosity, the temperature and radiation should remain well below these levels.

The units are priced differently than their cousins on earth, too — in 2002, the RAD750 microprocessor was listed at $200,000, which is quite a bit more than the PowerPC used at the time in iMacs, which sold in quantity for about $520 each. The high price of the RAD750 is mainly due to radiation hardening revisions to the PowerPC 750 architecture, manufacturing costs, stringent quality control requirements, and extended testing of each processor chip produced.

Each of the pair of rover computers is inside a module called The Rover Compute Element (RCE). The RCEs are protected from exposure in the middle of the rover body.

Curiosity Rover Compute Elements (highlighted)

Curiosity Rover Compute Elements (highlighted)

Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and Beyond

The Mars Rover family, clockwise from bottom left: Sojourner (1997), Spirit/Opportunity (2004), Curiosity (2012)

The Mars Rover family, clockwise from bottom left: Sojourner (1997), Spirit/Opportunity (2004), Curiosity (2012)

Curiosity has had a long sojourn on Mars since landing on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on August 6, 2012, and follows the success of earlier Mars explorers Sojourner, Spirit, and Opportunity. Despite starting out with only a two-year mission, the durability of Curiosity prompted NASA in December 2012 to extend Curiosity‘s mission indefinitely.

Curiosity‘s design will serve as the basis for the planned  Mars 2020 rover, which is scheduled to launch in July/August of 2020. The new rover will have a few upgrades, however, including more sophisticated hardware and new instruments to conduct geological assessments of the rover’s landing site, which will determine the potential habitability of the environment and directly search for signs of ancient Martian life.

We don’t have to wait that long for another exciting Mars landing like we had with Curiosity, however. NASA InSight is scheduled to land on Mars in less than two weeks, on November 26, 2018. Following that, ExoMars and NASA Mars 2020 will head to Mars in 2020 to continue a search for evidence of existing and past life.

2018NASA InSightMission: InSight is a robotic explorer designed to study Mars’ crust, mantle, and core. InSight will land on Mars on November 26, 2018.NASA InSight
2020ESA ExoMars RoverMission: ExoMars, a joint mission of the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, will search for evidence of life on Mars. NASA is providing critical elements for the astrobiology instrument on the rover.ESA ExoMars Rover
NASA 2020 RoverMission: Mars 2020 seeks to answer key questions about the potential for life on Mars. It will cache samples for possible future return to Earth.Mars 2020 Rover

Tweet from @NASAJPL on Nov 12 re InSight Mars landing on November 26, 2018

 

A Backup is a Good Idea on Both Earth and Mars

It turns out that having a backup doesn’t apply just to data or computing. Sometimes, a second brain can come in handy, too, especially when you’re on Mars.

Do you follow Curiosity‘s advice to always have redundant systems? Have you ever switched to using your Side-A brain? Would you like to go to Mars? (I would.) Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.

Don’t forget to catch landing on Mars of InSight on Monday, November 26. We’ll be watching!

The post Ever Wish You Had a Backup Brain? The Mars Rover Has One appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.