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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.



Six Billion Files Restored and Counting


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Funny thing about providing an online backup service that is currently storing over 100 Petabytes of customer data, sometimes people need their data back. In fact, nearly half (46%) of our customers restored one or more of their files in 2013 and that adds up. From when Backblaze first started until the end of May 2014, we have restored 6.27 Billion files for our customers. Back in January 2014, we crossed over the 5 Billion files restored mark meaning we’ve restored over 1 Billion files in the last 4 months alone – busy, busy, busy.

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That’s How Many Files Per Second?
In May, our busiest month so far, we restored files at a rate of 135 files per second. That’s 135 photos, documents, songs, and so on returned back to their owner every second. That got us to wondering, what else happens in a second. Here are a few things we found that we thought were interesting…

Of course there are many other things that happen in a second, for example each second there are over 7,200 tweets, over 44,000 Google searches, and more than 84,000 YouTube videos viewed. All of these still pale in comparison to the 2,312,474 emails sent each second – that’s a lot of rich Nigerian Princes…

Restoring What You Need
We all know that when your hard drive crashes or your computer is lost or stolen you can save the day by restoring all your data from Backblaze. Some of you have also discovered that you can use Backblaze to restore just one or two files from the Backblaze cloud – anytime, anywhere – simply by using our web-based restore feature or the Backblaze Mobile app. Need a photo from your laptop back at the hotel or a document from your desktop at home? No problem, if it’s in in your Backblaze backup you can restore the file you need in minutes. In fact so far this year, 25.7% of our restores were for 1 file. So remember, you can save the day one photo/video/document/song/file at a time with Backblaze.

Taking the Weekend Off
Many people believe their computer waits until the most inopportune time to fail, just before a deadline, right after you’ve added a bunch of new photos, etc. That may be true, but when it comes to recovering our data, we seem to prefer Wednesday (15.6%) and Thursday (15.8%) as 31.4% of the restores occur on those days as opposed to Saturday (11.2%) and Sunday (11.0%) when just 22.2% of restores occur. I guess we have better things to do on weekends.


Sources
For the “one second facts” we used the following sources. We acknowledge that in some cases other sources provided different “one second facts”, but we choose to use the data from the sources listed below.

  • “Just a Second: A Different Way to Look at Time” by Steve Jenkins, 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • http://www.internetlivestats.com/one-second Internet Live Stats, 2014 (Internet Live Stats is part of the Real Time Statistics Project)
  • http://blogs.cisco.com/news/cisco-connections-counter Cisco Systems, 2013.

 



Today Show: Cryptolocker Continues To Hold Data Hostage


Last October we wrote a blog post about a new piece of ransomeware called Cryptolocker. At the time it was a relatively new virus, and was not yet affecting as many people as it is now. As of March, Geek.com reports that Cryptolocker’s “… masterminds have raked in somewhere in the neigborhood of $30 million, and that’s because around 40% of victims are paying the ransom.”

A few days ago, the Today Show ran a report on Cryptolocker as well. According to the Today Show report embedded below, “You can backup your computer and use anti-virus software, but the best defense, experts say, is caution with unknown attachments and emails.”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

How Backblaze Can Help
Since Backblaze is an unlimited and continuously running online backup solution that is not locally connected to your machine, all of the data files on your computer and external hard drives get backed up and are available for restore.

That means that if you get hit with the Cryptolocker malware and your computer locks up, you can simply order a Backblaze restore with all of your data on it, reinstall your operating system and any programs that you had installed (including Backblaze), and then you’re back up and running! That means you won’t need to pay Cryptolocker hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and you’ll have all of your photos, videos, music, work documents, and anything else you’ve created safely back on your computer.

Backblaze has already saved multiple customers from losing their data to Cryptolocker:

We’d like to remind all of our users and blog readers to stay vigilant and use best-practices when using the internet and email clients. Hopefully you’ll never be hit with Cryptolocker, but we’ll be here for you if you do.

Author = Yev



Seniors are the Kings of Data Backup


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June is Backup Awareness Month and the results from our annual Backup Awareness Survey are in. Say what you want about your supposedly technically challenged grandparents, but they backup their computers. It’s not even close. Grandpa in particular is a backup fiend when compared to the 18-44 year old crowd. He’s more than twice as likely to backup his computer at least once a day. Grandma is no backup slouch either, as she is 80% more likely to backup her computer each day versus the 18-44 year old survey respondents. Let’s face it; the older generation is kicking your collective youthful butts when it comes to regularly backing up computer data.

This is the 7th year Backblaze has commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct our annual Backup Awareness Survey. Each year 2,000 or so random computer users are asked how often they backup all the data on their computer. The results are tabulated across a multitude of demographic dimensions and then we get the data to review. For 2014, the breakdown of how often people backup their data is below:


Question: How often do you backup all the data on your computer?

Over the years we’ve focused on how many people report that they are backing up their computers each day or more often. Typically this would be someone with an automated backup solution such as Backblaze, Time Machine or a similar product. In the 2014 survey that figure is 9%. This is about the same as last year (within the margin of error for the survey) as seen in the table below:

      2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
    Daily or more 9% 10% 10% 6% 8% 6% 6%
    Weekly or more 18% 19% 20% 14% 16% 14% 12%
    Monthly or more 33% 36% 36% 27% 30% 27% 26%

On the other hand, 14% of senior males over 55 reported that they backup daily or more often. This compares to the almost anemic 7% rate for males 18 to 44 for the same reported backup schedule – daily or more often. Young women are even worse when compared to senior women, as 18-44 year old females backup daily or more often at a rate of 5% as compared to 11% for their 55 and older counterparts.

I can almost hear the excuses being formulated in your head as to why Grandma and Grandpa are better than you at backup, let’s see if we can address some of your questions…

You: Grandma and Grandpa have plenty of time so they can backup everyday.

    Backblaze: Good online backup and local backup solutions work automatically and continuously. Grandpa does not have to remember to press the Backup Now button every day at 5:00pm to backup his computer.

You: Setting up a backup solution is a pain.

    Backblaze: Backblaze takes three steps and 5 minutes to install and get running. Many other daily backup solutions are similar, taking only a few minutes to set up. Pause your King of Thrones binge watching for 5 minutes and give your Grandpa a call, he can walk you through it.

You: Young people don’t own computers they only have phones and tablets.

    Backblaze: The survey specifically gathered data from people who owned a computer. There were 798 people from 18-44 and 838 people 55 and older.

You: If my computer fails, my data is online somewhere.

    Backblaze: The average data restore from Backblaze for a given customer contains over 30,000 files and includes, photos, videos, music, documents, spreadsheets, email, source code, and many other different types of data. So, yes, your files may be online somewhere, let’s hope you don’t actually have to try to find all of them.

You: I don’t have time to drag files and folders to my backup.

    Backblaze: Then don’t. The better online backup and remote backup solutions are built to discover all the data on your system and back it up automatically. This includes files like MS Office temp files and application data located in non-standard folders and directories. You shouldn’t have to spend your time trying to manually locate and select files so your backup solution will work right.

You: Who are these survey respondents anyway?

    Backblaze: The survey is an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive during the period of June 2-4, 2014. All the data cited was based on the 1987 respondents (weighted base) who said they owned a computer and answered the question; “How often do you backup all of the data on your computer?”

You: I’m already a Backblaze customer so why does this matter to me?

    Backblaze: First, thanks for being customer. Second, 54% of the people who become Backblaze customers have either personally lost or know someone who has lost computer data. Yes, 54%. We’d like it to be 0% so tell your friends and family to backup. Better yet, use our new refer-a-friend program to get them started.

You: Anything else interesting in the survey?

    Backblaze: Here are a couple of additional observations from the survey:

      1) Income is related to how often you backup your computer. In the survey, the percentage of people who have backed up their computer at least once is:
     
    • 62% for people who make less than 50K per year
    • 71% is the average for everyone
    • 83% for people who make more than 100K per year
      2) Education level is related to how often you backup your computer. In the survey, the percentage of people who have backed up their computer at least once is:
     
    • 63% for High School Education or less
    • 71% is the average for everyone
    • 79% for a College Graduate

We could probably think of a hundred other reasons as to why Grandma and Grandpa do a better job at regularly backing up their data. It really doesn’t matter though, the simple fact is only 9% of all computer users do it. This means 91% are leaving to chance the continued existence of their digital photos, videos, documents, spreadsheets and more. Grandpa doesn’t like those odds, that’s why he backs up.