A Review of Backblaze, a $5/month Unlimited Backup Solution

By Brian Patterson

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When Mozy raised their prices and threshholds last year, I was pissed.  I had been a customer of theirs for two years and had referred more than a handful of people to them.  The unlimited plan I had at the time was $5/month, and I backed up about 100GB onto their service.  Now, that same plan is $10/month and capped at 125GB (anything more and you have to pay extra).

Mozy's New Pricing Structure

I understand that businesses have to raise prices over time to account for inflation, growing their business, or whatever. However, Mozy was marketed and sold to customers based on its cheap price and unlimited storage, so to go completely against this and hit customers with a 100% price increase and data cap was ridiculous.  While $10/month still isn’t a crazy expensive price, I canceled based on principle.

As an asside, what happened to grandfathering your early customers in on older pricing?  SEOmoz does this, which is awesome.  Intuit didn’t do this recently when they raise their pricing on Quickbooks online, which sucks.  Reward your early customers, it pays off in the long run.

Finding Backblaze

For a while I was backing everything up onto a 2TB hard drive that I picked up on the cheap, but I hate managing my own backups.  For one, its local so it won’t withstand a fire at my house, and secondly I want someone else to be responsible for my backups, not me.

In my quest for a new solution I found Backblaze.  The Backblaze promise is very similar to that of Mozy from a few years ago – cheap, unlimited, bulletproof hosting. Given my experience with Mozy, I asked Backblaze about how long their pricing structure would stay in place (you can see this interview later in the post).

I installed the Backblaze software a little over a week ago and I’ve hardly noticed it – which is exactly what I want from my backup software.  It doesn’t slowdown my computer, there are no pop-ups, and I only see it if I want to.  A nice touch, I thought, was that when my first complete backup was done, it sent me an email letting me know. I appreciate that much more than a pop-up window.  After the initial backup is complete, incremental backups are done on any new or updated files.

Installing Backblaze is really simple, as is configuration.  The nice thing about this is that Backblaze is built as a native mac program, it isn’t a java port from a Windows app or some other crappy shortcut solution.  It looks and feels like it belongs and it lives in System Preferences, which makes it feel like its built into the OS.

Here is the basic settings screen:

I like that the default is to just backup most things on your computer, and then you can tweak it if you want to include more or less.  With Mozy, I remember having to make decisions on what I wanted in and out of the backup routine, which isn’t the most user-friendly approach.

Restoring your data is simple, and although I haven’t used it yet, you can do it through the Backblaze website or have them ship you a DVD or hard drive with all of your files.  While the latter options are pricey, its nice to know they’ve thought through the details.

A Brief Interview with Gleb Budman, Backblaze CEO

We’re not Techcrunch, so we’re not all that interested in funding. But I do think its important for our readers (and anyone considering online backup software) to be comfortable that their backup provider will be around for a long time. How can you assure us of that?

Backblaze is a bootstrapped and profitable company. As such, we are very secure since we are not reliant on raising our next round as a means to survival.

I was a Mozy customer when they hiked the prices. That act really annoyed me, and I canceled the service and started backing up stuff on my own locally. What confidence can you give us that you won’t raise prices (or be bought out by someone who won’t raise prices)? Or, if prices do get raised, would original customers be grandfathered in at original rates?

Backblaze is committed to unlimited online backup. Our whole goal of innovating on the cost of storage is to continue offering a great service at a fair price. By doing this we’ve been able to go the opposite direction; while others have become more limited…we added unlimited file type backup, unlimited file size backup, and even faster backups for all of your data which we backup automatically!

Is there anything on a users computer that wouldn’t be automatically backed up? Really large movie files, or anything like that?

Our goal is to backup data…so we exclude your OS, apps, and temp file. Otherwise, we backup everything up. By default the product is set to backup files up to 4 GB and excludes virtual machines. However, users can simply open the Settings dialog and change those settings in the Exclusion section. Done.

Any future features or things in the pipeline that you can share?

We’ve got a number of good things in the pipe. One thing I can mention is that we’re working on mobile apps…

Backblaze is Recommended by Maciverse

I like Backblaze a lot. It feels like it belongs on the Mac, and its super easy to get up and running. Backing up your computer is important, and if you don’t already do it, I’d suggest giving Backblaze a try.  They have a free 30-day trial so you can see if its a good fit for you.

Disclaimer:  Backblaze provided us with a 1 year trial to review this product, but this opinion is honest, and we’ll be paying customers after the year ends (as long as they don’t raise their prices :))

About Brian Patterson
Brian is a new Apple Cult convert, having just bought the MacBook Air in November of 2010. An IT consultant by trade, he focuses on Search Engine Optimization, Reputation Management, and other cool stuff on the interwebs. G+

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