Backblaze B2 And A Happy Customer

Backblaze recently published a case study with AK Productions. I had the opportunity to speak to Aiden Korotkin and thought I’d share some of my notes here.


The Problem

Korotkin’s problem was a fairly common one – he had lots of data from previous projects that had built up over the years. He’d been using a bunch of external drives to store this data, and had had a couple of external drives fail, including the backup drives. Google’s cloud storage option “seemed like a more redundant and safer investment financially to go into the cloud space”. He was already using G Suite. And so he migrated his old projects off hard drives and into the cloud. He had a credit with Google for a year to use its cloud platform. It became pretty expensive after that, not really feasible. Korotkin also stated that calculating the expected costs was difficult. He also felt that he needed to find something more private / secure.


The Solution

So how did he come by Backblaze? He did a bunch of research. Backblaze B2 consistently showed up in the top 15 results when online magazines were publishing their guides to cloud storage. He’d heard of it before, possibly seen a demo. The technology seemed very streamlined, exactly what he needed for his business. A bonus was that there were no extra steps to backup his QNAP NAS as well. This seemed like the best option.

Current Workflow

I asked Korotkin to walk me though his current workflow. B2 is being used as a backup target for the moment. Physics being what it is, it’s still “[h]ard to do video editing direct on the cloud”. The QNAP NAS houses current projects, with data mirrored to B2. Archives are uploaded to a different area of B2. After time, data is completely archived to the cloud.

How About Ingest?

Korotkin needed to move 12TB from Google to Backblaze. He used Flexify.IO to transfer from one cloud to the next. They walked him through how to do it. The good news is that they were able to do it in 12 hours.

It’s About Support

Korotkin noted that between Backblaze and Flexify.IO “the tech support experience was incredible”. He said that he “[f]elt like I was very much taken care of”. He got the strong impression that the support staff enjoyed helping him, and were with him through every step of the way. The most frustrating part of the migration, according to Korotkin, was dealing with Google generally. The offloading of the data from Google cost more money than he’s paid to date with Backblaze. “As a small business owner I don’t have $1500 just to throw away”.



I’ve been a fan of Backblaze for some time. I’m a happy customer when it comes to the consumer backup product, and I’ve always enjoyed the transparency it’s displayed as a company with regards to its pod designs and the process required to get to where it is today. I remain fascinated by the workflows required to do multimedia content creation successfully, and I think this story is a great tribute to the support culture of Backblaze. It’s nice to see that smaller shops, such as Korotkin’s, are afforded the same kind of care and support experience as some of the bigger customers might. This is a noticeable point of distinction when compared to working with the hyperscalers. It’s not that those folks aren’t happy to help, they’re just operating at a different level.

Korotkin’s approach was not unreasonable, or unusual, particularly for content creators. Keeping data safe is a challenge for small business, and solutions that make storing and protecting data easier are going to be popular. Korotkin’s story is a good one, and I’m always happy to hear these kinds of stories. If you find yourself shuffling external drives, or need a lot of capacity but don’t want to invest too heavily in on-premises storage, Backblaze has a good story in terms of both cloud storage and data protection. Are A Happy Tintri Customer

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and you’ll probably see the content elsewhere on the Internet. Tintri provided no editorial input and the words and opinions in this post are my own.


I recently had the opportunity to speak to Brock Mowry (CTO of about the company’s experience adopting Tintri in their environment. You can read the case study on Tintri’s website, but sometimes it’s nice to get a perspective straight from the source. If you don’t know of, they were established in 2013 and deliver a “[c]ybersecure cloud hosting platform with an emphasis on compliance workloads, [including] HIPAA regulation and PCI regulation”. They have a data centre presence in Las Vegas, NV and Miami, FL and plans to expand that footprint.



I asked Mowry what one of the main challenges was as a growing cloud service provider and he said “[s]torage was one of the challenges”. The problem, it seems, was when they looked at how much time they spent on keeping the environment running, there was a lot of operational overhead with their storage platform, and they “didn’t want to be scaling by head count – [they] wanted to scale by technology”.


What solutions did they look at?

According to Mowry, at they “optimise [the] network for NFS traffic and get really, really good results operating NFS in [the] infrastructure. Again, Tintri being an NFS-based platform, it was really an easy choice from there”. The benefit of deploying an IP-based storage solution was that they were “able to eliminate an entire fibre channel fabric within [the] data centre”. The added benefit of this was that they were able to reduce the number of “employees that are required to operate that platform. That’s a huge cost saving for [them] because at the end of the day head count is typically one of the most expensive things to operate a cloud infrastructure”.


Why not look at hyperconverged solutions then?

It turns out they looked at a number of hyperconverged vendors, including solutions from Nutanix and Cisco. At the time they ran across a problem with the converged nature of the resources in hyperconverged environments. Mowry provided an example where there was a “need to increase […] CPU and RAM capacity to meet a customer’s workload. Well now I’m sitting on a bunch of excess storage that I really don’t want to power, I really don’t want to cool, and I really don’t want to manage, because it’s not needed”. Note that a number of vendors now offer solutions to that problem, with “storage-only” nodes being available to counter the requirement to scale memory, CPU and storage in equal amounts. At the time, however, Mowry felt that it was best to go with what he describes as a “broken-out” architecture, where they “have storage arrays or storage appliances and [they] have UCS blade systems so [they] can increase RAM and increase CPU to the customer’s workloads without having to scale out our storage at the same time where it might not be used”.


Why go All-Flash? have deployed both All-Flash and hybrid arrays, because, as Mowry points out, they “have customers who are demanding that lower tier. And a lot of times they’re trying to hit a price point, they’re not trying to hit a performance point”.


Conclusion are obviously very happy Tintri customers, but not simply because the Tintri arrays they’ve deployed give them per-VM control or nice APIs to use with their own products. Vendors often focus on the technical advantages of the solutions they sell, because they think that’s what demonstrates value to their (potential) customers. But discussions around decreasing operational overhead and improving configuration simplicity by removing fibre channel fabrics are real world examples of how businesses can, in some instances, save money and improve their bottom line by choosing an architecture that aligns well with their operational strengths and experience. People are normally the most expensive part of any type of managed service, so if you can deploy efficient systems that don’t need a lot of people to run them, you’ll be in a good place.

Of interest also was the decision to continue with a decoupled infrastructure architecture that provided them with a solution that scales the way they want it to. In my opinion this a great example of a business choosing a solution that suits them because of a number of reasons, not all of which are technical. Customers like provide a great example of how to understand your requirements (from both a technical and financial perspective), understand your market, and work to your strengths. You can download a full transcript of my chat with Mowry from here.