Zonbu Storage Update & Response To Zonbu questions

Zonbu S3 storage update screenshotI wrote yesterday about my experience with the Zonbu S3 online storage model.

A member of the Zonbu team read the post and provided a lengthy response, asking a number of questions to help determine if there is an issue.

I’m going to formally respond here so the relevant items are outlined and updated…

Zonbu is responsive to feedback

Let it not be said that the team at Zonbu is not paying attention.

They have been very active in reading and responding to this blog, which is appreciated.

Problems will happen with new products, don’t let that put you off. What matters is how responsive they are and how effective the company is at solving the issues.

When it comes to storage, here was the what they had to say:

Aymeric Augustin for Zonbu

Your posting is very interesting and it definitely worths some

First, we would like to point out that all your documents folder is
backed up to Amazon S3 without any exception.

Now, let’s try to list all the potential bottlenecks:

1) Amazon server bandwidth
2) Your connection to the Internet
3) Your home/office network
4) Zonbu itself

The best candidate is 2). Do you know what your upload and
download bandwidths are? You may find this page useful:
http://bandwidthtest.info/. For instance, ATT Yahoo in California offer
for $24.99 a 3Mpbs download / 512 kbps upload. If such DSL connection is
the bottleneck, your 411 MB should be uploaded in 411*1024/(512/8) = one
hour and fifty minutes.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

As you readers can appreciate, I have a keen interest in #2, both as an end user and as a broadband network operator.

A quick observaton: California start-ups really need to vet their product in a handful of more typical markets around the country/world. When it comes to access to tech, end user savvy and infrastructure, California is not generally a good reference base, especially for “typical end users”.

Review the screenshot for background

Before we go any further I want to address the comment that all folders should normally be replicated. This is what I expected and why I think we’ve hit a snag.

As you can see in the screenshot I included at the top of this post, my local Documents folder does not match my S3 account.

I took that shot this morning just before starting this post (see clock time in shot).

For more background, My Zonbu had been online for at least another 8-10 hours after I added the files to the local Video folder (which already existed and still contains the two sample videos locally as well).

Broadband at home

The answer to the the question of speed is that when I am home my cable modem can run as high as 8 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload.

More commonly, I see throughput in the 2Mbps range for downloads for raw web access and up to 8 Mbps for data that is cached locally on our network (50% web request hit and 33% byte request hit rate from our web caches).

[Readers – do not construe my numbers as typical for cable – at the moment I am in a remote location with unique network topology and some scale differences relative to North American or Western European broadband operators.]

I can can achieve up to 2 Mbps for uploads. (This is limited by the modulation type we are currently using in the upstream path on the cable network).

On the backbone at work

When I am at work, I am sitting on the ethernet network connected to our data center. I can easily achieve multi-megabit speeds, in both directions. Occasionally we have high usage on our backhaul connection, which can limit my throughput. But the moment there is extra overhead, I could in in theory, fill that with traffic.

The download speed number is occasionally affected by us reaching peak load, although this rarely happens during the daytime. Normally that only occurs in the evening when people are home from work.

I am in the unique position of having access to the traffic graphs of the routers, so I can verify the status when necessary

We have just posted a download test page, downloading data directly from
Amazon S3 at http://www.zonbu.com/support/speedtest.htm. This could give
you some data regarding 1) and 2). We have not yet developed a similar
upload test.

Zonb Speedtest ResultsSpeedtest Results
I just ran the Zonbu speedtest, a screenshot is to the right.

The test came back at 234 KB/s to the reference server.

A quite note on bits and bytes: I mentioned above that my max speed is 8 Megabits per second. Broaband is normally rated in Kilobits or Megabits per second, whereas web browsers and other applications often report in Kilobytes or Megabytes/second. Since there are 8 bits in a byte, the two are very different.

234 KB/s X 8 = 1.872 Mbps.

I know, looking at my router graphs, that I have in excess of 10 Mbps available in both directions at the moment, so these numbers make sense.

Start > Control Panel > Storage

Aymeric had a few more questions for me:

Regarding 3) and 4), there is a performance tab in the storage applet.
There are a few options which can let you optimize how Zonbu interacts
with your network. Are you sure that you have not modified those
settings? By default, those tweaks are disabled (selection “don’t
optimize upload”). There are two other options to either “Optimize upload
automatically” (Zonbu will calculate the best upload throttle value
taking into account the status of your internal network) or to “set
fixed upload” which will set up a fixed upload throttle value.

I am certain that I have not modified these options. In fact, until I took the screenshot at the top, I had never opened that particular application.

I double checked and “don’t optimize upload” is still checked. I’ve not changed a thing in there.

My Internal Network

Internal network traffic is a non-issue right now. I am the only one home as my wife and baby are away.

Further, my MythTV machine is powered-down due to a hard drive failure and my Roku Internet radio is also off, as I’m using Rhapsody on the Zonbu. The only other connected device is my Vonage phone and I’m not actively using that either.

As well, being right on the backbone at work, I know I have substantial capacity at my fingertips.

I can safely rule that out the internal network as the current culprit.


Last, it’s still possible that there is bug in the Zonbu file system
layer interacting with S3. Your debug.log could be useful to investigate
this situation.

Best regards,


No problem, I’ll e-mail the debug.log to your help desk.

Let me know what else you need me to do, I’m happy to help.

-Mr. Zonbu


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