Tag Archives: online-backup

What Does Freedom Mean To You As A Cloud User?

There’s been plenty of talk surrounding The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). This bill had the consequence of allowing the US Government to ‘police’ the Internet and restrict peoples freedom to share content with others. We at SpiderOak – like many of our colleagues – found this simply unacceptable. And as all the voices rose up to combat the bill, thankfully it has currently been removed from consideration. At SpiderOak we believe in providing a FREE, innovative and private online backup, synchronization, and flexible sharing solution. So we’d like to get you involved in something special.

What does freedom mean to you?

Personally – freedom occupies the number one position on my values list. Nothing is more important. I neither take it for granted nor do I ever allow myself to be complacent about the many freedoms I enjoy personally. Others are of course free to agree or disagree. With this in mind and in the spirit of self expression, we would like you to show us how you feel.

Show us what freedom means to you!

First – Post your best photo interpretation of FREEDOM to the Facebook fan page wall. Your entry will be moved to the “Freedom Photo Contest Album” on the Facebook fan page from now until February 29, 2012.

Second – Each participant is only allowed one entry. Submit your best photo interpretation of freedom.

Third – Ask your friends to ‘Like,’ and/or follow SpiderOak on Facebook, Twitter. On Facebook, visit the designated album on Facebook and ‘like’ your entry. 50% of your rating will be based on the number of likes your photo received.

Fourth – The winning 3 photos by midnight CST on February, 29 2012 will be awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Details of how these are judged are listed below.

Fifth – Participant grants SpiderOak perpetual license to use photos submitted for advertising and collateral.

Instructions for Twitter::
Follow @SpiderOak on twitter.
Simply tweet: “Just entered to win money in the #FreedomPhotoContest! Follow @SpiderOak and retweet my picture if you like it. Thanks!”

The grand prize winner will have his/her photo published on our blog and a little about yourself.

  • Grand prize: $100 and a 100 GB SpiderOak Account
  • 1st runner up: $50 and a 50 GB SpiderOak Account
  • 2nd runner up: $25 and a 25 GB SpiderOak Account
  • Winners will be informed via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. NOTE: Sorry everyone – due to restrictions, Google+ entries will not be a consideration for this contest.

    Judging Guidelines:

  • 50% – number of ‘likes’
  • 25% – picture quality
  • 25% – Idea Content. Originality.
  • There you have it! Be creative and have fun. Share your passion with the world and remind yourself and others how important freedom is to you and us all.

    SpiderOak’s new Amazon S3 alternative is half the cost and open source

    As 37signals famously described, in the software business we almost always create valuable byproducts. To build a privacy-respecting backup and sync service that was affordable, we also had to build a world class long term archival storage system.

    We had to do it. Most companies in the online backup space (including BackBlaze, Carbonite, Mozy, and SpiderOak to name a few) have made substantial investments in creating an internal system to cost effectively store data at massive scale. Those who haven’t such as Dropbox and JungleDisk are not price competitive per GB and put their efforts into competing on other factors.

    Long term archival data is different than everyday data. It’s created in bulk, generally ignored for weeks or months with only small additions and accesses, and restored in bulk (and then often in a hurried panic!)

    This access pattern means that a storage system for backup data ought to be designed differently than a storage system for general data. Designed for this purpose, reliable long term archival storage can be delivered at dramatically lower prices.

    Unfortunately, the storage hardware industry does not offer great off-the-shelf solutions for reliable long term archival data storage. For example, if you consider NAS, SAN and RAID offerings across the spectrum of storage vendors, they are not appropriate for one or both of these reasons:

    1. Unreliable: They do not protect against whole machine failure. If you have enough data on enough RAID volumes, over time you will lose a few of them. RAID failures happen every day.
    2. Expensive: Pricy hardware and high power consumption. This is because you are paying for low-latency performance that does not matter in the archival data world.

    Of course #1 is solvable by making #2 worse. This is the approach of existing general purpose redundant distributed storage systems. All offer excellent reliability and performance but require overpaying for hardware. Examples include GlusterFS, Linux DRBD, MogileFS, and more recently Riak+Luwak. All of these systems replicate data to multiple whole machines making the combined cluster tolerant of machine failure at the cost of 3x or 4x overhead. Nimbus.IO takes a different approach using parity striping instead of replication, for only 1.25x overhead.

    Customers purchasing long term storage don’t typically notice or care about the difference between a transfer starting in 0.006 seconds or 0.6 seconds. That’s two orders of magnitude of latency. Customers care greatly about throughput (megabyte per second of transfer speed) but latency (how long until the first byte begins moving) is not relevant the way it is if you’re serving images on a website.

    Meanwhile the added cost to support those two orders of magnitude of latency performance is huge. It impacts all three of the major cost components – bandwidth, hardware, and power consumption.

    A service designed specifically for bulk, long-term, high-throughput storage is easily less than half the cost to provide.

    Since launching SpiderOak in 2007, we’ve rewritten the storage backend software four times and gone through five different major hardware revisions for the nodes in our storage clusters. Nimbus.IO is a new software architecture leveraging everything we’ve learned so far.

    The Nimbus.IO online service is noteworthy in that the backend hardware and software is also open source, making it possible for people to either purchase storage from Nimbus.IO similar to S3, or run storage clusters locally on site.

    If you are currently using or planning to adopt cloud storage, we hope you will give Nimbus.IO some consideration. Chances are we can eliminate 2/3 of your monthly bill.

    Reddit, World Backup Day, SpiderOak, March 31st and the power of Social Media

    It started as a single thread from the user adamjeff on the well known forum/news site reddit.com (here). Over the next few days through reddit’s messaging system, email, twitter, facebook and word of mouth, the ‘idea’ behind World Backup Day was born.

    The thread received over 2,500 ‘up-votes’ and over 1,000 comments. Users wanted to discuss the idea as a group – wondering what date should be ‘the day’ and what it should be called. The following day a few users – lead by user zoomacrymosby – were hard at work. User norunomu was designing both the website and logo, the domain worldbackupday.net was registered, and everybody was scrambling to get the information site up.

    As an avid redditor and with a vested interest in online backup, I reached out to Ismail (the person behind username zoomacrymosby) asking what I could do to help worldbackupday.net go live as soon as possible and/or if we at SpiderOak could offer the users some specials to further draw attention to the site and reinforce the importance of backing up / syncing / sharing / accessing pictures, music, movies, documents.

    Over one weekend everything came together. With the website designed, content created, and hosting established, the site was live. The word was already starting to spread through Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc…

    On the morning of Monday the 28th, 100s of tweets were being sent out about #worldbackupday, the Facebook page and website were receiving 1.000s of visitors and mainstream media had picked up on the ‘news’ that there was to be a day for backup awareness, and that day was to be March 31st.

    With 3-days left until the actual event I can of course only speculate on the final effect and reach of the World Backup Day initiative; however and if the early reactions are any indication, I think that a few seemingly random community members with virtually no budget* may through the help of social media, ingenuity, and drive have created one of the first spontaneous ‘yearly events’ I have ever witnessed.

    And that’s pretty damn cool!

    *Disclosure. SpiderOak provided the funds needed to host the world backup day website and provides increased data storage to visitors of worldbackupday.net free of charge. World Backup Day remains an impartial website aimed at spreading awareness and information regarding data backup.

    In the trenches…

    I sit writing this blog at 35,000 feet above the earth as myself and about a
    100 other travelers head from San Francisco to Chicago. The time is 4:30 am CDT
    (or 2:30 PDT) on Saturday morning October 25th.

    It has been an exciting although long week at SpiderOak. In fact, this week
    brings the conclusion of a long string of weeks, ending successfully in the
    launch of SpiderOak 2.0 – a faster, more responsive, more flexible iteration of
    our initial version. In addition to these increased functions, the truly
    exciting part about 2.0 is that it serves as a strong foundation for many
    important and needed features to come including our Sync tool, Team Sync (or
    read/write ShareRooms), development of our multi-user / multi computer
    environment for small businesses, and several others…

    Over the last couple of weeks we have received many emails asking if we had
    stopped developing or growing because our blog had not been regularly updated.
    Being somewhat of an outsider to the blogging world, I thought the question a
    bit strange. After all, the last few months have seen some of our most
    important advancements as a company – a redevelopment of our core architecture
    to make SpiderOak faster, more efficient, and increased responsiveness (a known
    issue since we launched). But because this development hadn’t happened in
    ‘public’ or our progress been constantly updated in the formal setting of our
    blog, people thought this a sign of weakness.

    Well – I write this post to ensure you all – those who inquire about our
    resolve or longevity – that we are here and here to stay. And if it is regular
    blog posts that you require to confirm this, then you shall have them as we
    promise to rise up from the trenches more often and let you all know that we
    are alive, well, and committed to bringing you the best and most secure online
    backup, storage, access, sharing, and sync product available. And 2.0 brings us
    a lot closer..