back to article Cloud company foraged for hard drives to stay afloat

When floods hit Thailand last year and crimped the global supply of hard drives, US-based cloud storage company Backblaze feared it would run out of storage. The company's fears weren't unfounded - it uses 50TB a day – so it sensibly tried to buy up as many drives as possible to build a buffer against the shortage. That effort …


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  1. Aaron Em


    Time I got a Costco card, then...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's mighty generous of them

    "The company has also been good enough to recognise that its difficulties can't be compared to those of the Thai people, and urges a donation to Give2Asia or another charity."

    Any fool can go around asking others to give money. Wake me when they make a donation themselves ...

    1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

      Re: That's mighty generous of them

      I read that as "Give money to Thailand, so we can stop shopping at Costco." Probably a bit unfair.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    External Drives

    Oddly enough pulling apart externals was exactly what I was advocating on here at the time. The rubberised Freecom drives came apart in seconds with no screwdrivers needed. They were also retailing for a third less than bare drives.

    Yes they were only 5400RPM but in the context of my requirements (backup) it didn't really matter.

    1. Annihilator
      Thumb Up

      Re: External Drives

      Was just thinking that, I'm pretty sure a large number of people (including me) were realising just how cheap the external disks were in PC World compared to internal drives via the usual channels. Made for a nice change at least. Probably part of the reason they were also sticking up signs limiting 2 per customer.

      On a non-IT related note, coconut milk went through a similar supply shortage.

    2. Captain Scarlet

      Re: External Drives

      Freecom's were easy to take apart I can confirm, although most were 5400RPM it meant I could replace drives on our Notebooks without paying up to 100% more for the same thing.

    3. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: External Drives

      Yep, did the same when I needed to replace a 1TB internal that started throwing up SMART warnings about a week after the price rises for bare drives took effect at all the usual suppliers... ended up getting a 1TB WD external that was still on special offer at one of the big high-street retailers at the time for less than the price of a bare 1TB drive, opened it up and found that as a bonus I'd got my hands on a Caviar Black Edition as opposed to the Blue or Green I'd have expected to find in an external enclosure...

      Subsequently, I've done the same trick to upgrade an old 0.5TB drive to 2TB - IIRC the high-street price of the 2TB external was within a couple of quid of the price of the cheapest internal 2TB I could find online, with the advantage of being available off the shelf on my drive home that evening.

      1. mark 63 Silver badge

        Re: External Drives

        my company is too big (read bureaucratic) to be able to shop at pc world :(

  4. mr. deadlift

    any takers

    for PATA drives?

    1. A J Stiles

      Re: any takers

      They are used in older (non-HD) Sky boxes. Up to 500 GB will go in and just work; anything beyond that needs a bit of preparation but it's explained on the Internet.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hats off

    Here is a company that make a good call when it came to a problem.

    If i were an investor or shareholder, i would be impressed by the way this company avoided service disruption in a slightly non-standard way.

    I don't use them or work for them.

    As for @Nicho, at least they didn't make this all about them. They had a supply problem caused by floods, but they worked around it. People lost their lives / livelihoods in Thailand, other companies (or even presidential candidates) would have turned this to a PR stunt.

    Maybe they did give money, it would be crass to be public about it.

    1. Valerion
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hats off

      As a customer, I'm very pleased that they went to such lengths to keep my service available.

  6. Trevor Marron

    Is that why there are so many high-quality caddies for sale?

    Some eBayers are showing that they have literally hundreds of iomega caddies for sale, it makes you wonder where they came from!

  7. adam payne

    They saw a problem and made a good call. Other companies were probably doing the same thing,

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So we know that the company keeps its prices down by using shonky low end consumer grade disks. Mark my words: This will eventually bite them, badly.

    We also know that they are happy to clean out the market for consumers' disks at the point where consumers are going to find it hard enough to source disks in the first place.

    I'm not entirely impressed.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Hmm...

      Having used "RAID edition" disks which failed when used with a RAID controller - and then had a firmware fix, which required a reformat, and being booted under DOS, without a RAID controlled AND failed to increment the firmware revision number....

      In (unmanned (by us) PoPs all round the world? Thanks Western Digital

      Buy consumer grade, it's probably cheaper to watch a few fail and rebuild the data than it would be to buy industrial and watch slightly fewer fail and rebuild the data.

      The rebuild the data bit is the expensive bit to get right, so the lower cost of disks is probably a good call.

    2. Danny 14

      Re: Hmm...

      if they have a reasonable raid setup then who cares, its a business model for storage. You could still buy 4 consumer drives for 1 enterprise drive and allow a few to die and still be money up.

  9. Steve Medway

    It's not scrounging

    I take exception to the title of this story.... If you can't even get the definition of scrounging correct do you really believe that we trust what your writing?

  10. pear

    kudos imo

    Hard to say they've really done anything wrong at all.

    Costco is a business oriented bulk buy store anyway...

  11. Raffbone

    I bloody love solutions like this...

    That is all.

  12. Slap

    That's exactly what we did. As a RAID system and general storage supplier we had orders to fulfil, and more importantly warranty obligations to our customers. Although the vast majority of our RAIDs use supposedly "server grade" hard disks, it was a case of any port in a storm at one point, and if consumer grade drives filled the hole then consumer grade drives it had to. Naturally the customers were told what the situation was and that we would take responsibility for the warranty.

    The biggest problems we had was the extra workload involved with stripping down the external drives, and then the disposal of the of the housing and circuitry that we didn't need.

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