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Comment Re:inebriated hillbillies (Score 1) 70

> I can't wait for a grocery chain (local, national, Amazon, I don't care) to carry a full store's worth of food and let me decide when I want it.

In some areas (I'm in the San Francisco area) Safeway will deliver. http://shop.safeway.com/

However, I looked into it for my aging parents in Oregon and Safeway did not "officially" do deliveries there, but the checkout clerk I was talked with said she shopped and delivered for several older people in town. If Safeway won't deliver in your area you might setup something informal with a Safeway checkout clerk?

Comment Re:who pays? (Score 1) 180

> If it were really that cheap and easy to do I would expect that some company would have already done so and charged everyone a few Euro...

They have, it's called cellular data services (LTE). In Europe it would be Vodafone, Telekom, Orange, etc. Sure, the frequency and protocol is slightly different than 802.11 WiFi, but it is wireless, it is already everywhere, it already works, you can surf web pages on your phone or tablet wirelessly TODAY, and the data rates are a usable 50 Mbits/sec now and they are rolling out upgrades to 100 Mbits/sec and higher. LTE has some European deployments at 450 Mbits/sec today: http://www.ispreview.co.uk/ind...

I wonder what the tradeoff of 802.11 WiFi vs LTE is. While cell phone data plans are a little bit expensive the cellular providers seem to be making steady progress with faster and faster services.

Comment Re:Contrasting anecdote (Score 1) 209

Brian from Backblaze here.

> If the hard drive can survive in the environment provided by Backblaze, then they will certainly do better in a home computer properly built

I suppose it matters. The pods are in a professional datacenter with air filters and sticky paper that we step on before entering the clean datacenter. When we open pods in the datacenter they are NEVER filled with dust bunnies. But when I open up my "properly built" gaming computer at home there are ALWAYS dust bunnies, air in homes with pets and carpets is simply going to have some dust.

Backblaze also monitors everything and fixes every problem, a home computer usually monitors nothing. Recently I was editing video on my laptop and it just shut off (I lost 10 minutes of edits). Turns out it was overheating due to a bad fan, but nothing WARNED me about this so I was subjecting all the components in the laptop to dangerously high levels of heat before the CPU shut down to protect itself. That won't happen in the Backblaze datacenter where we monitor everything, including the temperature of every last one of the 68,813 drives and go fix it when they deviate from normal for any reason.

One of the main things Backblaze does which may or may not occur in a home office is that we do leave the drives powered up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you leave your computer shut down half the time, there may be situations where that extends it's life in your home. For example, if the drives bearings inherently are built for 2 years of continuous run time and you only have the computer turned on 1/2 the time then your drive will last 4 years at home and only 2 years in the Backblaze datacenter.

Comment Re:If it's working for them (Score 1) 209

Brian from Backblaze here.

> most reliability studies on electronics overall curiously do not equate temperature with average failure rates.

Backblaze looked into it in 2014 and we found no correlation: https://www.backblaze.com/blog...

In a conversation with some of the Facebook Open Storage people, they had seen increased failure rates at extremely high temperatures (somewhere up near 40 degrees Celsius) but our drives never get anywhere NEAR the temperatures required to correlate with failures. We monitor every drive for temperature, taking readings once every 2 minutes, and in all but a few unusual conditions (such as some fans have failed) most drives are really running cool at around 25 degrees Celsius.

Comment Re:If it's working for them (Score 1) 209

Brian from Backblaze here.

> What's the typical drive temperature in Backblaze's cases in their environment?

Short answer: the coolest drives are 21.92 Celcius and the hottest drive was 30.54 degrees.

I wrote this up above in response to a temperature question, copy and pasted here. The raw data dump from Backblaze includes drive temperatures as reported by "smartctl". You can find a complete set of historical data of all drive temperatures in the Backblaze datacenter here: https://www.backblaze.com/b2/h...

We analyzed the failures correlated with temperature in this blog post in 2014: https://www.backblaze.com/blog...

In a conversation with some of the Facebook Open Storage people, they said hard drives have increased failure rates at extremely high temperatures (somewhere up near 40 degrees Celcius) but our drives never get anywhere NEAR the temperatures required to correlate with failures. We monitor every drive for temperature, taking readings once every 2 minutes, and we have had situations where the drive temperatures caused our internal warning alerts to go off (well below those catastrophic levels Facebook saw failures at). When we go to investigate, the most common cause of rising pod drive temperature is that some of our fans in that pod have died. We used to have 6 gigantic fans to keep it cool, but we reduced it to 3 with no increase in drive temperature. If one of the fans dies it doesn't get warm enough to set off any alerts, but if 2 out of 3 fans die it can't move enough air to keep the pod within reasonable operating temperatures. We don't monitor the fans directly, but drive temperature has been such a good proxy for it we don't feel any pressing need to figure out how to monitor the fans.

Comment Re:High failure rate (Score 2) 209

Brian from Backblaze here.

> I think their pods only have GigE interfaces

Originally (up until 3 years ago) that was true, but all new pods have 10 GbE interfaces, and 100% of the pods in our "Backblaze 20 pod Vaults" have 10 GbE interfaces. And there are some really strange (and wonderful) performance twists on using 20 pods to store each file: when you fetch a 1 MByte file from a vault, we need 17 pods to respond each supplying only 60k bytes to reassemble the complete file from the Reed Solomon. So the actual bandwidth when fetching just one medium size file can reach more like 170 Gbit/sec theoretical bandwidth. However, if you tried to fetch ALL the files from a pod all at once, the raw 7200 RPM drive performance is our current limiting factor.

Here is a link to a blog post on the 20 pod Backblaze Vault architecture: https://www.backblaze.com/blog...

Here is a link to the Reed Solomon encoding we open sourced that we use on the 20 pod Vaults: https://www.backblaze.com/blog...

Comment Re:High failure rate (Score 2) 209

Brian from Backblaze here.

> I also wonder if we'll ever get numbers from Backblaze on things like the actual temperature ... power these drives lived through.

The raw data dump includes drive temperatures as reported by "smartctl". You can find a dump here: https://www.backblaze.com/b2/h...

We analyzed the failures correlated with temperature in this blog post in 2014: https://www.backblaze.com/blog...

In a conversation with some of the Facebook Open Storage people, they said hard drives have increased failure rates at extremely high temperatures but our drives never get anywhere NEAR the temperatures required to cause failures. We monitor every drive for temperature, taking readings once every 2 minutes, and we have had situations where the drive temperatures caused our internal warning alerts to go off (well below those catastrophic levels Facebook saw failures at). When we go to investigate, the most common cause of rising pod drive temperature is that some of our fans in that pod have died. We used to have 6 gigantic fans to keep it cool, but we reduced it to 3 with no increase in drive temperature. If one of the fans dies it doesn't get warm enough to set off any alerts, but if 2 out of 3 fans die it can't move enough air to keep the pod within reasonable operating temperatures. We don't monitor the fans directly, but drive temperature has been such a good proxy for it we don't feel any pressing need to figure out how to monitor the fans.

Comment Re:High failure rate (Score 1) 209

Brian from Backblaze here.

> Perhaps they don't keep the temperature as cool as they should in order to save a few bucks?

The colocation datacenter is SunGard in Rancho Cordova California and there are other tenants. I assume the temperature of the datacenter is industry standard? But even better, in the raw data dump it includes all the temperatures of all the hard drives, so you (or anybody) could check the correlation. We looked into it in 2014 and didn't find much correlation between temperature and hard drive failure as long as we kept the temperature of any one hard drive well below a tipping point (which we do). Here is the blog article and stats behind our analysis: https://www.backblaze.com/blog...

Comment Re:Reliability (Score 1) 209

> Protection against data loss is done with backups, not RAID.

RAID helps against data loss for some causes of data loss (like hard drives going bad).

However, RAID doesn't protect against human error or software bugs - if you tell a RAID system to delete a file it is deleted - RAID does not mean you can roll back time. If you have a "backup" from a few days ago, if you realize you just destroyed some data with user error, you can use the backup to recover most of the data you just lost.

Just to be absolutely clear - Backblaze does not use RAID inside each pod anymore, we use our own Reed-Solomon encoding across 20 drives in 20 different pods in 20 separate locations inside the datacenter. We open sourced the Reed-Solmon we use here: https://www.backblaze.com/blog... and you can read about how we organize the 20 different pods into a "Backblaze Vault" here: https://www.backblaze.com/blog...

Comment Outsourcing is so 2006 - robots are 2016 (Score 1) 482

Is it heart breaking to program a robot to do your job? Because that happens much more than H1B replacements.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/meet-the-new-generation-of-robots-for-manufacturing-1433300884

"[The new robots] are nimbler, lighter and work better with humans. They might even help bring manufacturing back to the U.S...."

Comment Re:Unsurprising (Score 5, Insightful) 441

> will not surrender control to a computer

I think the kaur (the user you were responding to) is wrong, buses and airplanes have windows you can open to watch the interesting and colorful world go by - in addition to window shades if you want to watch Netflix - it will be your choice. But you are also wrong, you already surrender control to a computer when it lands the commercial aircraft you are riding in. You even surrender control to your ABS brakes (occasionally) in your car which make better and faster decisions than you can about which ONE of your four car wheels to brake 10 times a second.

I see a bright happy future where I am actively enjoying the scenery and actively suggesting to the car where to go, but the car will "kick in" and avoid running over a small child or deer in the road faster than my human reflexes could manage. In my 35 years of driving (every day commuter here) I still managed to let my attention waiver once and got in a minor accident (my fault).The average driver gets in 3 or 4 accidents, so I think I'm still "above average" in my driving, but some day a computer will be able to do better than I can in avoiding accidents. I look forward to the help.

Comment Re:TIme flies (Score 1) 97

I think you guys hit all my favorites except: Threshold. Anybody else with gray hair remember it?

I directly attribute my current career as a software developer to the time in my mid teens that I played (and loved) those Apple ][ video games. I'd rather be lucky than good, and those games coming out just at the right moment in my life luckily pulled me into a ridiculously lucrative career doing something that I love - working with computers.

Comment Re:Is cheaper really better? (Score 1) 130

> By chance do you guys sell the hardware for the storage boxes?

You are in luck! Backblaze does NOT sell the hardware, but we give the design away entirely for free (and others sell it unassembled or assembled for a tiny markup). You can review the latest design here including downloading schematics and specs and parts lists to assemble your own: https://www.backblaze.com/blog...

It sounds like you only want one, and you may not want to worry about assembling it yourself, so you should definitely check out: http://www.45drives.com/ who will sell you a completely assembled storage pod without drives, or may still even sell you a "kit" of the parts that you have to build yourself to save some money.

Backblaze doesn't get anything at all from this, so you might ask why it is all this way. Two things: first of all, we aren't in the business of making and selling hardware, we sell raw storage as a service (our B2 product line) and also we sell online backup. It doesn't HURT Backblaze to release the designs and we get a little free press and good will about it and people hear our name and might want to purchase the OTHER products we actually charge money for. Also, the very nice people at "45 drives" helped us when we were starting out by prototyping our sheet metal and helping with industry cad drawings and such (we were mostly software people, don't know much about manufacturing) so we simply want good things for them. Finally, Backblaze benefits by a larger ecosystem of people using this design. Some of the past improvements have been contributions from OTHER companies and people improving our original design and giving back the improvements.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 2) 415

> if robots are cheaper manufacturing can be brought back home now?

It has been happening for the last few years. More and more manufacturing is coming back to the USA for exactly that reason, but for the same reason there aren't any manufacturing JOBS coming back:

http://www.governing.com/gov-i... "Manufacturing Is Coming Back. Factory Jobs Aren’t."

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