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Scheduled Maintenance (7/22/2014)


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Tomorrow (7/22/2014) from 7-3PM California Time, Backblaze will be undergoing scheduled maintenance. During this time, we will be updating a cluster, resulting in more stability and speed for some of our earliest customers.

During this maintenance, the following parts of our service will be affected for some of our users:

  • Access to the My Account section of the website will be unavailable, this includes access to restores and the ability to purchase additional licenses for your existing account
  • Backups will not be running, and you will see the following offline message in the Backblaze control panel:

Offline
After the maintenance completes, those users will immediately be able to access their account, download restores, and add licenses. All backups will restart from where they left off, however, there may be some ramp-up time before clients start uploading backup data. Not all users will be affected.

We will be updating this page throughout the day, and when the system is fully back online.

Author = Yev / @YevP



Seeking: Data Protectors


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The Backblaze Operations Team continues to grow. We’ve sworn to protect our customers from data loss, and need some help to continue our rapid growth! If you think you have what it takes, we have three Ops positions for you to choose from! If you have a particular set of skills that fits either of the two below openings, follow the instructions at the end of the post!

All Backblaze positions require:

  • Great attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done
  • Strong desire to work for a small fast, but fast-paced company
  • Desire to learn and adapt to rapidly changing technologies and work environments
  • Rigorous adherence to best practices
  • Relentless attention to detail
  • Excellent interpersonal and written/oral communication skills
  • Fantastic troubleshooting and problem solving skills

Systems Administrator, Cloud Storage

    Responsibilities:
  • Rebuild failed RAID arrays and debug other RAID problems as needed
  • Diagnose and repair file system problems with JFS and ext4 and debug other system problems
  • Maintain farm of hundreds of storage servers (pods) including deploying/configuring new systems and troubleshooting problems
  • Assist with networks and services (static/dynamic web servers and monitoring systems, etc) as needed
  • Assist in efforts to automate provisioning and other tasks that need to be run across hundreds of servers
  • Assist in Backblaze datacenter(s)(Sacramento, CA area) to help with daily operational tasks (racking new servers, replacing drives, reviewing logs, etc..) when necessary
  • Participate in the 24×7 on-call pager rotation and respond to alerts as needed. This may include occasional trips to the datacenter
  • Write, design, maintain, and support operational documentation and scripts
  • Assist in supervising and directing junior operations staff when necessary
  • Help train operations staff as needed
    Requirements:
  • Strong knowledge of Linux system administration
  • 4+ years of relevant experience
  • Ability to move/lift 50-75lbs and work down near the floor as needed
  • Position based in the San Francisco Bay Area or Sacramento area, California – requiring 2+ days/week in San Mateo, CA
    Preferable:
  • Experience configuring and supporting Linux software RAID (mdadm on Debian)
  • Experience configuring and supporting file systems on Linux (JFS & ext4 on Debian)
  • Experience troubleshooting server hardware/component issues
  • Moderate to strong Bash scripting skills

Datacenter Technician – Sacramento area, California

    Responsibilities:
  • Work as Backblaze’s physical presence in Sacramento area datacenter(s)
  • Help maintain physical infrastructure including racking equipment, replacing hard drives and other system components
  • Repair and troubleshoot defective equipment with minimal supervision
  • Support datacenter’s 24×7 staff to install new equipment, handle after hours emergencies and other tasks
  • Help manage onsite inventory of hard drives, cables, rails, and other spare parts
  • RMA defective components
  • Setup, test, and activate new equipment via the Linux command line
  • Help train new Data Center Technicians as needed
  • Help with projects to install new systems and services as needed
  • Follow and improve data center best practices and documentation
  • Maintain a clean and well organized work environment
  • On-call responsibilities include 24×7 trips to data center to resolve issues that can’t be handled remotely
    Requirements:
  • Excellent communication, time management, problem solving, and organizational skills
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Ability to lift/move 50-75lbs and word down near the floor on a daily basis
  • Position is based near Sacramento, California and may require periodic visits to the Backblaze Corporate office in San Mateo
    Preferred:
  • Working knowledge of Linux
  • 1-2 years experience in technology related field
  • Experience working at a decenter in a support role

Interested? Check out this video on our Datacenter Operations Team

Ready to join our team? Follow these three steps:

  1. Send an Email to: jobscontact@backblaze.com with the desired position listed in the subject line
  2. Include your resume
  3. Include your answers to 2 of the following 3questions:
    • What about the prospect of working at Backblaze excites you most?
    • Provide 3 adjectives that best describe your personal workspace.
    • How would you manage boot images and system configurations on 1,000+ servers (i.e. Backblaze Storage Pods)?

We’ll be interviewing candidates over the next couple of weeks. Join us and help us continue to build a great online backup company.

Backblaze is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Author = Yev / @YevP



4 TB USB Restore Drives Are Here: Yay!


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Backblaze is increasing the maximum size of our USB Hard Drive restores to use 4 TB external drives. That means when you order a USB Hard Drive restore, you can now select to restore up to 3.5 terabytes of data. That’s about a 30% increase over the previous 3 TB drives that topped out at 2.6 terabytes of data.

The price is $189, the same as before. That price includes a USB hard drive with your data, FedEx next day shipping once your data is ready, and as always you get to keep the drive. There’s no extra charge for the next day shipping and if next day shipping is not available, we’ll use the fastest means available to us via FedEx. To date we’ve shipped restore drives to Backblaze customers in all 50 states and many countries around the globe including Canada, Spain, Germany, Japan, China, France, Australia, Italy, Belgium, New Zealand, Great Britain, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, Israel, Qatar, and more. In short, you’ll get your data fast and you get to keep the drive – easy.

A few of things to know

  • As noted, the 4 TB drive maxes out at about 3.5 TB of data. If you have more data than that, you will need to order additional USB Hard Drive restores. Each drive you order is $189.
  • If you have multiple computers that you need to restore from, you will need to order one drive for each separate restore.
  • If you purchase a USB Hard Drive restore, we will ship you a drive large enough to accommodate your data. For example, if you are restoring 2.1 TB of data we could ship you a 3 TB drive. The price will be $189 no matter what size drive we send.

The different ways to restore data with Backblaze

  • Web Browser – For free, you select the files/folders you want to restore using your web browser to download the files. This is good for small amounts of data, typically 1GB or less as the web browser itself is prone to timeouts and errors.
  • Backblaze Downloader – For free, you select the files/folders you want to restore using your web browser and then download and use the Backblaze Downloader to stream and checkpoint the data download. This is similar to apps like iTunes and Netflix in how data is downloaded. Be aware that larger amounts of data will consume lots of network bandwidth and will take time.
  • USB Flash Drive – For $99, you select up to 110 GB of files/folders you want to restore and get your files on 128 GB USB flash drive. We send it to you next day express (within the US) so you get your data fast and you get to keep the drive.
  • USB External Hard Drive – For $189, you select up to 3,500,000 MB of files/folders you want to restore and get your files on an external USB hard drive large enough to hold your data, up to a 4 TB drive. Once prepared, we send it to you next day express (within the US) and you get to keep the drive..

 



The Backblaze of Pizza?


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Backblaze and pizza? Two great tastes that taste great together, right? Recently, one of our employees checked out a pizza place near his home called “Blaze Pizza“. The next day he wrote to the company:

“Blaze Pizza” is basically the Backblaze of pizza: They offer one size of pizza, but unlimited toppings for one flat price. Sound familiar?

It’s fast, friendly, and pretty straightforward. Their logo and name are eerily similar to ours…and also a “red” color scheme, though it’s a bit more orange than us. It’s pretty decent pizza too!

After seeing the menu, another employee pointed out, “We have 180TB in a pod, and they make you a pizza in 180 seconds.” Delicious.

Author = Yev



Marketing Intern: Angelina


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Now that Marketing Intern Lisa is heading back to college, we proudly introduce our new Marketing Intern, Angelina. Her hobbies include musical theater, singing, sculpting, and fencing, but it was her love of digital arts that was most intriguing to us here at Backblaze.

Where are you from?
I currently live in Pittsburg, California.

What attracted you to Backblaze?
I’ve always had an interest in Graphic Design and this experience will help me in my pursuit of a marketing career.

What do you expect to learn while being at Backblaze?
I’m working with the marketing team learning to develop social media ads and create good images for ads through Photoshop.

Where else have you worked?
This is my first professional job, but I am very active in the leadership of various youth groups.

What’s your dream job?
I’m pursuing Graphic Design in Marketing, but my specific dream career is to be a trading pin designer for Disney.

Favorite place you’ve traveled?
I have been on 7 Disney Cruises, but my favorite port of call was Castaway Cay, an island owned by Disney.

Of what achievement are you most proud?
My Presidential Award in Academics.

What Angelina lacks in experience, she more than makes up for in youthful enthusiasm. She’ll certainly keep our creative services department on it’s toes the next several weeks. Welcome to Backblaze.

 



Engineering Intern: Eli


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Eli is a self-described lover of magic tricks and is now also an engineering intern at Backblaze. We gave him a shirt and told him to learn the product ropes from our CTO Brian so that he can “abracadabra” and make bugs disappear.

What attracted you to Backblaze?
I have been a supporter of Backblaze since its very creation many years ago and I’ve have been a follower over the years. I am very excited at the opportunity to be an intern here.

What do you expect to learn while being at Backblaze?
At Backblaze I hope to learn more about how a successful software company works and operates. I also hope that I will be able to use and improve my computer science skills.

What achievement are you most proud?
Last year, I attended the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with my project partner and was awarded a Third Place Award in Plant Sciences. I was extremely honored and proud to attend an event with so many amazing projects.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled?

Before coming to Backblaze, I was able to travel to the beautiful country of Costa Rica and conduct research on the endangered sea turtle populations there. It is the most gorgeous place I have ever been, and I was very lucky to be able to have such a wonderful experience.

Favorite Hobby?
Aside from computer science, I enjoy playing tennis and soccer. I am also a lover of magic tricks, ping-pong, and watching basketball.

Join us in welcoming Eli to Backblaze as one of our summer interns. We look forward to helping him sharpen his computer skills.

 



Welcome Chris, Sys Admin & Backup Maniac


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Let’s welcome Chris as a Senior Systems Administrator for Backblaze. Born and raised in San Jose, California, Chris joins Backblaze after stints at VMWare, Sunrun and a couple of other local organizations.

Tell us how you backup your photos, music, data, etc. on your home computer?
It depends on what the type of file is and how volatile. Static media (pics, music, videos) are synced back to my primary storage array and colo servers via Bittorrent Sync. Documents are all synced to Google Drive (usually because they are created there too). Scratch documents, shared docs, and misc. are multi-synced to Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box. Super critical documents and such are multi-synced + bittorrent synced.

What attracted you to Backblaze?
Many many moons ago, your first storage pod came across my RSS feeds and I followed it back to your blog, ever since then I’ve been following you guys. When I got the call and started interviewing I was impressed with the friendliness and knowledge of the team members and the overall sanity of the work place, something that can definitely be a rarity in the valley.

How did you get into computers?
My Grandpa and Grandma moved to this country and got in on the very early computers. My Dad was raised with and on them and went into computers. It was kind of a given that I’d be getting into it as well. Case in point, I learned to type and use DOS long before I had writing figured out fully.

Favorite place you’ve traveled?
Disneyland, but then I don’t travel too much either. Washington D.C. and Boston were pretty cool too.

Favorite hobby?
I think I split my time fairly evenly between tinkering/experimenting with new hardware/software, reading (books, comics, manga, etc.), and playing video games (usually PC, sometimes console or board).

Of what achievement are you most proud?
Hmm. I had a kind of…decentralized load-balancing scheme I set up once that was pretty neat. I think otherwise every time I achieve something, I tend to do something I consider to be cooler the following year.

Anything else you’d like our audience to know about you?
Yes; 42, 117, 413, 612, 1025 and 11 11 11.

I think that sums it up quite nicely. Welcome to Backblaze Chris.

 



The High Cost of IRS Hard Drive Failure


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In 2011, Lois Lerner’s hard drive crashed and took some emails with it. Unfortunately for Lois she happened to be working as the Director of the IRS’ Exempt Organizations Division. Now there’s a congressional inquiry in to the IRS and at the heart of that investigation is that very same broken hard drive. Bloomberg writes:

The device in question belonged to Lois Lerner, the former IRS official accused by Republicans of giving extra scrutiny to small-government groups seeking tax-exempt status. The IRS says a catastrophic failure — the crash of her computer hard drive followed by the recycling of backup tapes — means two years’ worth of her e-mails were wiped out.

At this point both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Congressional Oversight Committee have discussed and heard about this hard drive failure. We did a bit of fun math, assuming that every single member of each of the committees was present, and that the hearings last for one day:

Total Committee Members (Oversight + Ways & Means) 79
Yearly Congressional Salary $174,000
Total Committee Member Yearly Salary $13,746,000
Total Committee Daily Salary $37,660.27
Total Years of Backblaze service (daily salary ÷ $50) 753
Years of Backblaze Per Committee Member 9.5

We’re not afraid of poking the government a bit (see our NSA blog post), but for the amount of money spent talking about a broken hard drive, all 79 members of the the House Ways and Means Committee and the Congressional Oversight Committee could have had Backblaze for 9.5 years. And we’ve restored over 6,000,000,000 files, so we’re pretty confident we could get their data back too.

*Update*
We’ve just been sent an article from the Wall Street Journal which states:

In a statement, the IRS said that it has made “unprecedented efforts” to comply with congressional demands for documents and information concerning the targeting. The effort has involved more than 250 IRS employees working more than 120,000 hours at a cost of almost $10 million.

That’s some expensive email recovery…

Author = Yev


Sources
Salaries of Members of the United States Congress.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 Dec. 2014. Web. 25 June 2014.

Committee on Ways and Means” Committee Members. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 June 2014.

113th Congress Oversight Committee.” Committee on Oversight Government Reform. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 June 2014.