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Comment Re:not super expensive at all (Score 1) 1146

This is 1780 lumens (and $53):

I own two, and although they look goofy when turned off, I've been happy with the amount of light it puts out and the color.

BTW, I was a hold out for a long time, I stock piled "dorm burner" halogen stand up lamps for years with bootleg 600 watt bulbs (now banned), I still miss the incredible light those things generated. I hate CFLs, I've broken a couple and the mercury cannot be good to inhale. I'm going LED, even if it costs hundreds of times more than CFL. I just wish the manufacturers would increase the lumens output.

Comment Re:Common knowledge (Score 2) 270

very common for multiple drives in an array to fail within a short time window, due to shared environmental problems

Exactly. We had one interesting incident where in the middle of the night, 3 pods right next to each other in a rack all went berserk and all their RAID fell apart. That's 135 drives all at once (3 pods each with 45 hard drives). We reassembled them all, and the VERY NEXT NIGHT at the same time it happened again. We moved all three servers to different ends of the datacenter -> and finally figured out which server was causing the problems. The fan bearings on a fan were going bad, and when the fan came on it vibrated the entire cabinet. We have "nightly cleanup" jobs that run to verify data integrity and delete files we no longer want, this was enough load to cause the CPU to heat up enough to trigger the bad fan.

Comment Re:Common knowledge (Score 1) 270

I'm not sure what you mean by "turnover"? If you are asking how many customers we have, I apologize but I'm not allowed to release that number (not my fault, I would post it on our homepage with a live number if they let me!)

But I was mostly joking, I think by "major" UnknowingFool meant the largest 4 or 5 companies on earth like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and maybe Yahoo. I assure you that Backblaze is in no danger of displacing any of the members of that list. :-)

Comment Re:I think people just won't own these cars (Score 1) 140

Engineers know how to tunnel through limestone, they created dedicated machines for it, here is an article: and here is an example where it was used:

Comment Re:You're buying an extended warranty (Score 2) 270

This is a great point. Five years ago Backblaze started with 1 TByte hard drives. Now we are deploying 4 TByte hard drives. The power consumption is about equal. So there is a moment in time that it is worth buying new 4 TByte drives and migrating data from the 1 TByte drives and throw away the 1 TByte drives JUST TO SAVE MONEY ON ELECTRICITY.

Our electrical bill is about $45,000 / month right now. There is a reason Google and Yahoo built those massive datacenters up along the hydro electric 3 cent/kWh Oregon/Washington border. And it's all about total cost of ownership, and EVERYTHING is on the table.

Comment Re:Common knowledge (Score 1) 270

Trying to read a damaged sector is less reliable than reading the undamaged redundant copy.

You're thinking about it wrong. You always want the maximum amount of information from every drive, you can choose to use that information however you like, I don't want "Enterprise" drives that won't try hard to get every last bit.

Here is an example: We have had problems reassembling / resyncing RAID arrays because one stubborn drive pops out and fails too easily (we run two parity drives - so if you are already down 2 drives a 3rd stubborn drive is a bummer). If the drive would just stay in and try harder, we could get through that particular operation. Backblaze then adds it's own end-to-end SHA-1 on every file - trust us, we'll absolutely know for certain whether or not we recovered the file accurately or not from that particular RAID array or not. But until we reassemble the RAID array and get the file system back online, we can't even check what we are holding. Fighting with it costs us IT time. Again-> we have no performance problems at all. I know this is hard for some organizations to grasp when you never seem to have enough IOPS. But the nature of online backup is not like the nature of your billing or account info database.

Comment Re:Common knowledge (Score 2) 270

I'd happily pay 2x or 3x the money to get 20x the write endurance.

That only makes sense if you are hitting the write limits. If the drive dies because the bearings wear out after 5 years of spinning regardless of the number of writes, you have just paid 3x the money and gotten exactly zero benefit.

Comment Re:Common knowledge (Score 1) 270

Enterprise drives typically range from 18000rpm at the very high end...10K rpm probably the most common for bulk storage

Backblaze pays something like $45,000 / month in our electrical bill. We vastly prefer "green" drives that spin slower and use less electricity. There are many, many "Enterprise" applications in the world that are not bottle necked on spindle speed (like backup and Shutterfly-type big-data-rarely-accessed), those enterprises deserve slower drives. I guess I object to using the word "Enterprise" to describe "Fast" - why not just mark your drive as 15,000 RPM or 7,200 RPM and be done with it? No need to add the pointless label "Enterprise Drive".

SMART reporting is much more consistent for enterprise drives

No way. All hard drives do SMART reporting. Sometimes the "bridge" between the processor and the hard drives won't pass the information, so a cheap USB enclosure might be hiding the hard drive SMART stuff from you, but that isn't the hard drive's fault. In fact, we have an expensive Dell drive shelf with an LSI (?) controller that hides our enterprise drive SMART stats from us, very annoying. There is no correlation between "Enterprise" and "SMART reporting".

some manufactures are intentionally disabling typical enterprise firmware features on the consumer models, drive commands that are helpful for hardware raid

The whole concept of RAID is that it is a software layer on top of all the cheap drives. RAID doesn't require any interesting instructions. Pretty much needs to write data to an individual drive and read it back later.

I wouldn't be surprised if usage patterns over 5-10yrs resulted in a significant divergence.

Time will prove you right or wrong, we plan on updating and releasing these numbers every few years. Stay tuned....

Comment Re:Common knowledge (Score 1) 270

It all matters what you value - reliability or performance. EITHER ONE is valid for companies, you can't say every "Enterprise" wants drives that error faster and successfully get the data back less often. Backblaze is a company, we value reliability way way WAAAAAAAY over performance. We want the hard drive to take 90 seconds and give us the data - heck, take a full 3 days to get the data back, we'll wait, so will our customers. We have no performance problems at all - customers are extremely happy getting a successful restore FedEx'ed to them in 48 hours (one of the restore options is a $189 3 TByte hard drive sent to you anywhere in the world where you keep the hard drive).

Comment Re:Common knowledge (Score 2) 270

I totally agree that "bureaucracy affects IT decisions". In a previous company we sold spam blocking software (we were the good guys) but our customers asked us to provide the software and hardware in a bundle because they had a hard time convincing their management to purchase stand alone computer hardware. So we pre-bought a PC clone, marked it up by a FACTOR OF 4 (for our trouble), put a sticker on the front with our company name and the IT guys happily passed the price on to their managers who happily signed the P.O.

Comment Re:Common knowledge (Score 2) 270

"Enterprise" grade drives are often faster, having better processors and more cache

The cache is whatever is written on the drive, so a "Enterprise" drive with 32 MB of cache has less than a "Consumer" drive with 64 MB. I don't know what the heck you think the word "Enterprise" gets you in this case?

drive manufacturers have to listen to server and storage array manufacturers and meet their requirements

Different storage arrays have different requirements, I hate the idea that people think "Enterprise" magically got all the tradeoffs correct. For example, low power and high responsiveness are BOTH valid goals but probably are at odds. Some Enterprises (like Backblaze and Shutterfly) care deeply about their electrical power bill and the drives aren't the performance bottleneck. Should we buy enterprise drives or not?

Comment Re:Common knowledge (Score 1) 270

It is a common misconception (pushed by the drive manufacturers) that RAID arrays need Enterprise drives. RAID stands for "Redundant Array of ***INEXPENSIVE** Drives". The whole idea is you write a software layer that deals with the failures and limitations of the cheap drives. If your RAID software cannot handle independent drive failures, precisely what value is that layer adding? We have not seen "Enterprise" drives work better in a high vibration environment. It's an old joke but worth repeating: You know how you can tell if a hard drive salesperson/company representative is lying to you? Watch their lips closely, if their lips are moving, they are lying.

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