Category Archives: Other

Backblaze – Force Immediate Scan

If you’re a big fan of Backblaze just like I am then you probably have wondered how to force it to scan for new files to backup. According to the Advanced Windows Help page found on the Backblaze website, there is a small process that slowly scans your computer looking for new/changed files. It can take about an hour or two to scan across all drives for an average user. When you plug in an external drive, it may take Backblaze anywhere from 1-120 minutes to schedule the files on the external drive to be backed up online.

There is a way to force an immediate rescan. It will slow your computer down for a few minutes while it scans all your drives. You can force the rescan by holding down the ALT key and clicking “Restore Options…” button.


IBM Storwize IP replication

I was recently working on a VMware SRM solution utilising an IBM Storwize v3700 SAN at each site with remote mirror. I had configured a global mirror with change volume relationship over IP which works beautifully when both source and target SANs were in the same subnet/building. Once the target SAN was moved out of the building to the DR site, the IP SAN traffic went through the gateway across the WAN to the other site. The performance for the IP replication was pretty average, to say the least,  out of a 100Mbps link, I could only achieve 1MBps, even though windows file copy would easily saturate the link providing 10MBps consistently.

Windows File Copy


We ended up testing the link for packet loss and while it did show some packet loss, I had assumed that given that Windows file copy could achieve 10MBps then the Storwize SAN from IBM should be able to achieve similar results.
Well, it turns out that’s incorrect. As per the below snippet from the IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller and Storwize V7000 Replication Family Services Redbook.

packet loss results in sever performance degradation well out of proportion to the number of packets actually lost. A link that is considered “high quality” for most TCP/IP applications might be completely unsuitable for the remote mirror.

IBM Storwize Packet Loss


Now, this helped explained why Veeam could perform Backup Copy to the DR site at a consistently fast 10MBps without any problems yet the remote mirror performed so badly.

After resolving the packet loss problem which was dodgy SFP+ fibre adapters and a couple cables, the remote mirror performance jumped straight to 10MBps and has stayed there consistently ever since.

Pay to recover your data – CryptoLocker

A new trojan called CryptoLocker is making the rounds which silently encrypts files on your computers, along with files on any connected network storage or USB devices, rendering them unreadable. Once the encryption process finishes, it tells users to pay a ransom, which so far has been $100, $300 or two bitcoins, currently worth about $2400.

Currently, there is no way to recover your data other then from an “offline” backup, if the backup was online or attached at the time of the encryption then more then likely the backup is now encrypted as well.

180TB of Good Vibrations – Storage Pod 3.0

I am a huge fan of BackBlaze’s online backup and they have just released version 3 of their amazing storage pods. These Storage Pods are all about big storage at low low costs, they are the backbone  of BackBlaze’s storage pools and at 180TB of storage at $59.54 a TB they help keep the subscriptions fees down. To break that down further it’s only $0.0595 per GB! If you are interested you can actually purchase a complete unit yourself or build one DIY style.

More information here;

Asiana Air Crash Survivor’s Data Survives

Great read from

When Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco Airport on July 6th, we all watched in horror at the wreckage on the TV screens and could barely imagine anyone could have walked away. Amazingly, as details began to emerge, it sounded as though there may be many who made it.

One of the first survivors I saw on TV, Benjamin Levy, would later be lauded for helping dozens of people escape from the burning plane. While some raced out of the plane and others grabbed their luggage, Benjamin calmly helped as many people as he could, saying it was just “gut instinct” to help.

A month later, I received an email from Nicolai Wadstrom, founder and CEO of startup accelerator BootstrapLabs, who I had met a few years back at a tech event. He said:

“So wanted to connect you with Ben Levy, a good friend and also a partner at BootstrapLabs, that was on the Asiana 214 flight that crashed on SFO, he luckily got away in once piece, but his Macbook Air was not as lucky. Fortunately, he was using Backblaze per my recommendation…”

Ben happened to be a few blocks away at that moment and we met up. He talked about feeling incredibly lucky to be alive; said it felt like a second chance. He told me that while some asked him if it made him reexamine his priorities, he felt it just made him all the more grateful for the life he has – where he gets to enjoy time with his family and love the work that he does.

The next day, Ben signed into his Backblaze account and ordered a restore. His computer was ominously backed up right up to July 5th, 2013 at 9:45 pm PDT.

Since he wanted approximately 50 GB of data back quickly, he chose to order a USB Flash Drive to have sent to him via FedEx with his data on it. The next day he had all his data back.

After getting his data back, Ben sent me this email:

“Among the millions of things you have to handle after such a horrific event, having all my computer data backed up with Backblaze was very comforting and the recovery process was effortless. I was concerned for a minute that my computer had not been backed-up for a while as I was hopping planes and jumping between countries for a few weeks, not staying connected for long stretches at a time, but it was, down to the last bit.”

Obviously, the loss of data on someone’s computer pales in comparison to the other tragedies of that July 6th crash. But I am glad we were able to play one very small part in helping at least one person return to a normal life, and we’re sending our best wishes to everyone else aboard and affected.

Benjamin Levy with his data back on a Backblaze USB Flash Drive restore:

The Golden Rules to Home Backup

Follow these three golden rules for the simplest way any home user to ensure their data is backed up and safe.

3 copies of anything you care about – Two isn’t enough if it’s important.
2 different formats – Example: Hard Drive+DVDs or Hard Drive+Memory Stick or CD+Cloud, or more
1 off-site backup – If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?

Remember that using just one kind of backup (eg, an external hard drive or SD card backup) is really not a backup. You need both off-site backup storage (eg, cloud backup), plus backups to different media types and multiple copies of everything you want to protect.

How The Internet Archive Works

Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, explains the purpose and function of the Internet Archive, which is housed in an old Christian Science church in San Francisco. This is the famed Wayback Machine, which lets you see a snapshot of a website as it existed since 1996. 240 billion web pages have been archived since then, and the database is updated every few months. Kahle also runs the Physical Archive of the Internet Archive, a modern day Library of Alexandria that aims to preserve millions of books (in temperature-controlled shipping containers) for a hundred years.

My first blog

Thank you for swinging by my site! My name is Rhys Hammond and this is my blog for technical subjects.

I live in Brisbane, Australia. When I’m not working on the house or spending time with my partner, I’m enjoying the odd video game or two.

I’ve been in the Information Technology field for  almost 10 years, starting out with desktop support. Along the way, I worked as a laptop technician and a computer salesman. Currently, I work as a system engineer focusing on virtualization, x86 servers, storage, backup and disaster recovery.