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Availability and Durability – Why You Need to Consider Both When Choosing a Storage Vendor

Customers often ask me how reliable Wasabi is.  The terms availability and durability usually come up in these discussions.  Some customers use the words interchangeably. In fact, while they are both related to reliability, the terms availability and durability mean different things.  Availability refers to ensuring continuous access to storage in the event of equipment problems, infrastructure outages or disasters. Durability is about avoiding data loss in the event of disk failures or media errors.  In this blog I’ll review both concepts and explain how Wasabi ensures both the availability and the durability of your business-critical data.

Wasabi Guarantees High Service Availability

Availability describes system uptime.  Generally speaking, you expect your storage service to be available 24x7x365 the same way you expect to get dial tone any time you pick up your home phone (that is if you still have a home phone).  Wasabi is built on a resilient system architecture, with no single point of failure, to ensure extremely high availability. We back our service by a stringent Service Level Agreement.

Withstanding Infrastructure Failures within a Data Center

Each Wasabi data center is engineered using redundant compute, storage, and networking equipment; redundant power sources; and redundant internet connections to ensure high availability.  If an individual data center component or connection fails, a hot standby immediately takes over, ensuring uninterrupted data access.

Withstanding Data Center Outages and Catastrophes

Wasabi also supports a geo-replication capability to protect against data center catastrophes.  You can replicate data across geographically distributed Wasabi data centers to ensure continuous availability in the event of a disaster.  If an earthquake, tornado or hurricane impacts operations at your primary Wasabi data center, you can continue to access your data at the secondary data center.

Wasabi Delivers Extreme Object Durability

Durability describes the ability of a storage platform to protect data against disk failures, bit rot, degradation or other corruption.  Wasabi uses an erasure coding algorithm to provide extreme object durability while minimizing overhead. Without going into all the details, we convert data objects into a series of codes, which are distributed across separate disks for resiliency.  In the event of disk failures or data corruption, we can reconstruct the original data object using a subset of the codes.

More specifically, each customer data object is distributed across 20 different disk drives.  (The drives are housed in separate servers and distributed across racks to isolate failures.) We can fully restore a data object using only 16 of the drives.  In other words, we can withstand a failure of up to four of the twenty drives, without losing any customer data. Since today’s disk drives are highly reliable (the industry average annual drive failure rate is less than 5%) the odds of five or more drives being out of service concurrently are minuscule.

Erasure coding allows us to provide the same durability as our competitors while making far more efficient use of storage capacity.  We pass the cost savings along to our customers in the form of lower pricing.

Durability is expressed as an annual percentage rate, approaching 100%. The closer to 100%, the greater the durability of the storage platform, and the less likely you are to lose data due to drive failures, bit rot or media corruption.  If you consider the average annual drive failure rate and factor in how long it takes to repair a failed drive, Wasabi’s durability works out to 99.999999999% (eleven 9s). To put that into perspective, if you stored one million 1 GB objects on Wasabi, you could expect to lose one object every 659,000 years.

Wasabi Prevents the Most Common Causes of Data Loss

In today’s world you’re far more likely to lose data to human error or bad actors than disk failures or media corruption.  With that in mind, Wasabi supports an optional data immutability capability to protect data against administrative mishaps or abuse. An immutable object cannot be deleted or modified by anyone—including Wasabi.

Wasabi data immutability protects against the most common causes of data loss and tampering including:

  • User mistakes and administrative mishaps
  • Bugs in application software
  • Malicious programs like viruses and ransomware

Learn More

Wasabi can help you eliminate storage cost and complexity, while ensuring the integrity and availability of your critical data.  To learn more about our reliability features and capabilities, including the math behind our durability numbers download our new Durability Tech Brief.

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