February 19, 2014
Ever considered mining bitcoins? Well, as a business with 3,000 servers, IDrive decided to look into the idea to see if bitcoin mining was an option during non-peak times, a possible untapped revenue stream. We learned some valuable bit(coin)s of information; here’s what happened…
Most of our users backup their files at night, so our non-peak times are during the day (between 3am and 4pm). During this time, there is unused server capacity that can be used for other operations. Utilizing independent resources (since bitcoining is decentralized) such as the source code on Github, forums on Bitcoin Wiki, bitcoin.org, and the bitcoin simulator on coinplorer.com, a dedicated team of our best engineers spent a week testing the possibility and found that using our servers to mine bitcoins would affect our business model in four main areas:
Although IDrive owns 3,000 servers, we used 600 (each with a quad core processor operating at 2.8 GHz) for our simulated tests. Our study projected a year of mining at 100% processing power 24/7 and the assumption that the difficulty of mining (the calculating of hashes) would increase linearly. (We also assumed that there would be no additional charge for operating our servers consistently at full power for an entire year.*) Since mining bitcoins is designed to take a certain amount of time to ensure legitimacy, as more people get involved and more power is added, the cryptography is made more complex to slow down the process. Therefore, as time progresses, more power will be needed to mine (and, thus, more airflow for cooling is also necessary). As a result, it will take more energy to mine fewer bitcoins, with the energy needed consistently increasing.
*IDrive pays a set rate for a certain amount of electricity which we use to power servers. Mining bitcoins uses energy which increases our power expenditure. In our research, the amount of energy used for mining (during non-peak times) never exceeded our set amount, so this particular factor did not cost more. However, there are two other factors to consider. First, the servers usually operate at about 5% of their capacity during non-peak times; while mining bitcoins, the servers would operate at 100% the entire time. If you pay for the amount of electricity used, this increase in energy would cost more. Second, the increase in server usage could potentially wear out the servers faster, as they are operating at a higher capacity for longer amounts of time. This could shorten their lifespan and require replacing servers more frequently, which is another added cost. Lastly, it is possible that we could eventually exceed our electricity usage limit, which would result in our servers being shut down.
As mentioned before, it takes a longer time to mine a single bitcoin as more people get involved and the complexity of the cryptography becomes more difficult. Another point we found valuable is the fact that the time spent figuring out the details of the mining process detracted from time that could be spent focusing on our core services.
The value of bitcoins is continually fluctuating based on the market. The ROI would be unpredictable, not to mention the price paid to bitcoin miners will decrease as time goes on since there is a cap on the amount of bitcoins that can be created. Process, energy, complexity, and time will continue to rise as the ROI drops. In our simulated study, it would take a year to mine a total of 0.863 bitcoins. Using the current exchange rate, that would equal around $550.15 USD. As time went on, mining one bitcoin would continue to take longer and longer (while also using more energy). Further, considering we wouldn’t be mining during peak hours, that would cut our processing time in half, doubling the time to make a single bitcoin. So, actually, one year would result in .4315 bitcoins and $275.08 USD.
Our servers are not currently optimized or configured to mine bitcoins. Running bitcoin software on our servers would require installing the bitcoin daemon on each of them as well as re-opening parts of our network infrastructure (that we’d previously locked down) to enable the bitcoin network to periodically access and talk with our servers. We do continuous network security audits to ensure that we don’t have any areas of our network open that do not need to be. Opening up our network for something non-essential, like bitcoin, seemed like an unnecessary security risk.
In the end, we learned a lot about the interesting process of bitcoin mining, however, for us, the pros did not outweigh the cons. So, IDrive decided to stick with that we do best.
February 13, 2014
Love is in the air… and, if you use the cloud, so is your data. This Valentine’s Day, show your files and documents just how important they are to you with some extra special TLC.
At IDrive, data is always our number one amor (besides our wonderful customers, of course). Here are some suave tips to help you keep your relationship with your data fresh, exciting, and secure.
Woo your data with your organizational skills. Show it how reliable you are by maintaining a simple, clear, and consistent system for saving and storing files. That way you know where it is at all times and it never feels neglected.
Protect your data with a secure online backup plan. You want your data to feel special and safe, so pacify it with a trusted backup strategy and reassure it that it’s protected from physical harm, natural disasters, software/hardware malfunctions, and any other threat that it may worry about on a day to day basis.
Schedule some private backup time. Setting aside time specifically for your data’s well-being shows that you truly care about it.
Be extra smooth and treat your data to a luxury getaway. Take a trip up to the cloud and pamper it with backups, sharing, and true archiving.
And, always, compliment your data on how good it looks when it’s backed up.
Secure data is happy data. And when your data is happy, you can relax. Like any relationship, you have to put some time and money in to really nurture a healthy balance. Communicate with your data and find out what it needs from you and, in return, when it’s securely backed up and cared for, it can provide you with what you need when the time comes.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
January 15, 2014
Google recently announced its new data archival feature which allows users to create a secure and portable archive of their data from the various Google products they use.
Benefits of archiving your Google data:
- Portability: Archived data is provided in open and portable formats ensuring that the data can be easily imported to another service. For example, your mail will be downloaded in the mbox format, which can be used by other popular email programs.
- Accessibility: Google will email you the details regarding the archived data so you can access your archived data anywhere, anytime.
- Protection: Data archival creates a secure copy of the data. You will need to specify your account credentials while downloading the archive for security purposes.
You can now easily make a copy of all (or just a portion) of the emails in your Gmail, and then backup it all up to your IDrive account.
To create a Gmail data archive:
- Sign into your Gmail Account, click on your picture in the upper right corner and select ‘Account’ from the drop down.
- From the page that opens, click the Data tools tab.
- Click on Select data to download (beneath the Data tools box on the right) and then click the Create an Archive button on the subsequent page.
- Select Mail using the check-box (By default all the supported Google services will be selected).
- All emails in your Gmail account will be selected for archival by default. To select specific Gmail labels to archive, click on the Edit link and then click the Select labels check-box. Choose the desired labels and click Done.
- Click the CREATE ARCHIVE button to create your Gmail archive. Once the archival process is complete, you will receive an email with links to download your data.
Now using IDrive, backup your downloaded Gmail archive to your cloud space!
Using the same approach, you can download and backup a data copy of 13 other Google services, such as Calendar, Drive, Youtube, Google +, Photos, etc.
A Few Pointers:
- Ensure that you do not download your archived data on public computers.
- Your data archive will expire after a fixed number of days set by Google.
Seamlessly secure your Google data with IDrive!
As the year new begins, we’re making a fresh start! Let’s get rid of the clutter! Clean up those accounts stuffed with that data we barely ever use… Wouldn’t it be nice to have those rarely used files stored safely, but out of the way? Somewhere you don’t have to worry about it… Well, now you can store it away in our IDrive Safe!
IDrive Safe is a secure, long-term, cloud-based data archival service that ships drives directly to you in order to simplify the storage process. The drive delivery service encourages users to archive their data regularly and creates an easy-to-use experience through scheduled backups. It was created to meet the needs of personal and business users alike who have data they wish to archive, but also need the insurance that it is securely stored so files can be retrieved quickly and easily when necessary. The service is ideal for data that is not frequently accessed or for companies that need to retain bulk data in order to meet government or legal compliances.
IDrive Safe Key Features:
Archive large amounts of data in IDrive’s secure data centers via physical shipment (hard drive) to avoid bandwidth usage and store data faster.
Flexible plans to meet your data and pricing needs.
Data is encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption with the option for an NSA-proof private key for extra security.
Drives are shipped directly to you so you won’t forget to backup data, making archival even more convenient.
Archived data can be made available online within 24 hours of the request.
For faster data retrieval, data can be returned via physical shipment.
The IDrive Safe keeps your data protected and provides a simple, secure way to schedule backups at a frequency that fits your needs. Plans include monthly, yearly, and one time storage options. Ensuring your data is safe is our priority and making that process convenient is our pleasure.
Your valuables are worth protecting and what’s more valuable than your critical data? Lock it up in the IDrive Safe.
December 12, 2013
Our Linux users asked for it and we made it happen. At IDrive, we want all of our users to have the opportunity to enjoy the same quality services and trustworthy features in order to secure their data on a variety of platforms.
So, calling all Linux users! Hop aboard the IDrive Express!
How can the IDrive Express benefit you?
Backup or restore large amounts of data (up to 1 TB) faster.
Avoid bandwidth usage with physical data shipment using IDrive’s USB drives.
- Data is secure throughout the process, encrypted using military grade 256-bit AES encryption with an optional private key.
Once data is transferred to your online account, you can continue with incremental backups.
Plus, the service is FREE once a year for Pro Personal users and three times a year for Pro Business plans! After that, all further requests are $59.95 and return shipping is always included.
Say goodbye to slow backups and take advantage of an express service that’s so good, you’d think it was exclusive…
IDrive Express: Inclusive, Reliable, and Secure
Now for Linux
*This service is only available within the United States.
December 11, 2013
Folks, Sugarsync just announced that it is doing away with the free accounts going forward. It is a popular sync and backup service, and this is a major change to their policy. As the CEO of a competing service here at IDrive Inc, I wanted to share some of our thoughts on this.
There are two extreme ends in the cloud backup and sync segment. There are some who offer unlimited storage for very little money. There is hardly any justification from a long term business perspective about how one can really survive with this model. At unlimited offer, and with continuous growth of user data, especially multimedia data in pictures and videos that are getting accumulated on user’s computers, it is a no win situation for backup companies. At the best, it is a marketshare play, at the worst, companies will be burning through their VC money fast. Mozy, a key player in this space backed out of unlimited after 5 years of offering this sort of a plan. Companies resort to put in artificial limits, such as throttling user’s bandwidth, or limit backups to a specific device, or limit file types or at least make it harder for users to choose the big multimedia files to backup to save themselves from getting caught in the unlimited storage tail-spin.
The other end of the spectrum is SugarSync who has a high price/GB and are doing away with anything free.
Ours has always been a sort of a middling approach which we think is more sensible. We offer the best price/GB with a free option that lets consumers and businesses have a full taste of the features that we offer. We offer unlimited device backup for every account. Users are only limited by the space they buy. We are able to do this and stay profitable and can play this long term because of our vertical integration of the whole online backup service chain from owning or leasing our own servers, to our own home grown APIs, all the way up to the desktop and mobile clients. We can offer the best price/GB, best performance, and best set of features in this space. Vertical Integration is the key cornerstone of our strategy for the long term.
So if you are on the sidelines waiting to jump in on the best online backup service, IDrive offers a very compelling long term solution. Give it a spin. It offers free 5GB of storage!
CEO, IDrive Inc.
December 2, 2013
December, the month of celebrations, has just begun and the spirits of the festive mood are high. After having worked hard throughout the year, now it’s time to celebrate and relax. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to waste this season worrying about losing your digital assets to disasters.
‘Did you back it up?’ and if you haven’t done it yet, there couldn’t be a better day than today!
IDrive wishes you a happy advent! Sign up and get flat 50% discount* only on CyberMonday, that’s today. Secure your data with us, and stay at peace to enjoy the festive season at best!