- Feb 2014
The Backblaze environment is the exact opposite. I do not believe I could dream up worse conditions to study and compare drive reliability. It's hard to believe they plotted this out and convened a meeting to outline a process to buy the cheapest drives imaginable, from all manner of ridiculous sources, install them into varying (and sometimes flawed) chassis, then stack them up and subject them to entirely different workloads and environmental conditions... all with the purpose of determining drive reliability.
The conditions and process described here mirrors the process many organizations go through in an attempt to cut costs by trying to cut through what is perceived as marketing-hype. The cost differences are compelling enough to continually tempt people down a path to considerably reduce costs while believing that they've done enough due-diligence to avoid raising the risk to an unacceptable level.
The enthusiast in me loves the Backblaze story. They are determined to deliver great value to their customers, and will go to any length to do so. Reading the blog posts about the extreme measures they took was engrossing, and I'm sure they enjoyed rising to the challenge. Their Storage Pod is a compelling design that has been field-tested extensively, and refined to provide a compelling price point per GB of storage.
An anecdote with data to quantify the experience has some value sort of drawing conclusions for making future decisions-- but the temptation to make decisions on that single story is high in the face of the void quantified stories & data from other sources. What is a responsible way to collect these data-stories and publish them with disclaimers sufficient enough to avoid the spin that invariably comes along with them?
In part the industry opens itself up to this kind of spin when the data at-scale is not made available publicly and we're all subject to the marketing-spin in the purchase decision-making process.