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Expounding on Backblaze

My last post on what I do when my computer fails got some attention. I thought I would expound on the backup service I use (Backblaze) for those of you who asked.

I’ve been using Backblaze on most of my machines now for close to 3 years. When I first signed up with them, I did quite a bit of research into what company I wanted to go with. At the time, my choices were Mozy, Carbonite, and Backblaze. Since then, a few others have popped onto my radar, but for the most part, these are the 3 that I still trust, and have personal experience with.

Let me cover all 3.

Mozy is my least favorite of the 3. I haven’t run their latest home client, but I’ve been disappoint in their business level services for some time now. The backups are slow. The program goes non-responsive sometimes when I try to open the configuration. They only recently added an unlimited backup plan with an unlimited backup plan (and I believe my business clients are still paying per GB because they don’t have unlimited at the business level yet, but I could be wrong on that). One thing Mozy has going for it is that they are SAS70 compliant. For some of my business clients, this is a requirement, which then turns them into the cheapest SAS70 compliant online service I’ve found so far… For home users though, SAS70 compliance isn’t something I would be worried about… especially when we talk about Backblaze’s security.

Next up is Carbonite. They have an unlimited plan coming in at $59/year. However, I have 2 issues with Carbonite’s setup. 1) They don’t backup external drives unless you upgrade to their home premium account ($99/month). 2) Their large file size limit is 4GB. The backups also haven’t felt as fast to me. Carbonite has a few things going for it though as well. They have a server version, something Backblaze does not. They also have a slightly cooler interface for restore and backup… However, I have found this interface to be frustrating at times, especially the way it integrates with Windows Explorer. Carbonite is my current choice for servers.

Backblaze is my choice whenever possible. Backblaze has been constantly improving their feature set for the last 3 years. They support unlimited backups at a rate of ~$50/year (the cheapest I’ve found). Their backups are also extremely fast (depending on your bandwidth). The developers have taken the time to optimize it for speed in ways I haven’t seen done at Carbonite or Mozy. They batch small files for upload, and break large files up into pieces to make sure they transfer properly. They also don’t have a single file size limit… So backing up those 30GB virtual machine images actually works. They backup USB/eSATA drives without any issue (but not network drives), and their software is pretty good at knowing what NOT to backup (IE: don’t backup my OS). The only thing Backblaze doesn’t have going for it (in my mind) is that they don’t have a server version.

If you’re worried about security, Backblaze also features local private key encryption. Just a word of caution though, if you decide to use this feature, backup your private key like 8 times… Maybe even a hard copy, because you won’t be able to restore anything without the private key.

I have Backblaze installed on my personal machine, and it’s backing up 3TB of data and not complaining. My prices haven’t gone up. Most importantly: the data is there when I go looking for it online. I don’t feel like I’ve taken a performance hit to run it (although, I should be honest, for about a month and half, there were some times where I felt like my bandwidth was running a tad low… But hey, it had to upload a couple terabytes of data… you can always pause it while gaming).
If you are not backing up your machine, I strongly recommend getting Backblaze. If you are only backing up your machine locally, I again strongly recommend getting Backblaze.

If you still aren’t convinced that they are the coolest frood on the block, then get their free trial and see how you like it… In fact, even if you want to sign up with them, you have to get their free trial first (so do it either way). And if that still doesn’t convince you, read their blog. I especially like the one where they talk about building their own storage… Or maybe the one where they show exactly how it works behind the scenes.

Even if you don’t get Backblaze… PLEASE BACKUP YOUR FILES!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • John May 7, 2012, 11:04 am

    I have made the switch to Backblaze and have been very happy. Uninstalling the CPU unfriendly antivirus software was a necessity as this computer gets older. Just a word of warning though: If you have a laptop and have a external drive, Backblaze doesn’t instantly detect your device (even if it has previously backed it up). Apparently they have a new release that addresses this issue but this has honestly been a hassle for me. I don’t know about the other backup services and Justin did not mention it, but Backblaze backs up the past month’s worth of data. So if you delete an important file on accident, you can get it back… as long as it hasn’t been a month (this has been a time saver for me on a couple occasions). Either way, I agree with Justin, Backblaze is well worth its cost.

  • PK May 7, 2012, 12:28 pm

    Isn’t Carbonite per year?

  • Alex May 8, 2012, 11:16 pm

    Interesting — I’ve been following Backblaze for a few years, ever since I read their storage pod 1.0 blog post: http://blog.backblaze.com/2009/09/01/petabytes-on-a-budget-how-to-build-cheap-cloud-storage/ (their follow-up, 2.0 is even better): http://blog.backblaze.com/2011/07/20/petabytes-on-a-budget-v2-0revealing-more-secrets/

    Anyhow, might finally be time to get this for me and Mykala. We regularly back up to an external Time Machine volume I’ve rigged up (that’s a post for another time), but I keep worrying about the place burning down. Backblaze would solve the house-burnt-down thing nicely.