Started in a small Palo Alto apartment, Backblaze has seven co-founders who have worked together since 2007, founding first their cloud backup offering and then the b2 Cloud Storage offering in 2015. Being an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), the latter product focuses on software integration for the business market. In 2018, Backblaze announced business partnerships with Packet and Server Central to connect the data centers.
Backblaze now has approximately 150 employees serving nearly 500,000 customers in 175 countries worldwide from its headquarters in San Mateo, California. Well-known customers are Fortune, Streamlabs, Patagonia and Complex Networks.
Backblaze B2 cloud storage (opens in new tab) is the company’s latest offering, but is it the best cloud storage? (opens in new tab) for your needs? Read on and find out.
Backblaze B2: Subscriptions and Pricing
Backblaze B2 has a fairly simple pricing model. While there is no free trial, the offer of 10GB of free storage with no time limit is even a notch better. This way, lower need users can access the service while others can try it out before deciding to commit fully.
Furthermore, the cost is only $0.005 GB/month for stored data, which makes us wonder why others in the space don’t take such a simple pricing route. While we didn’t find any upload charges, the $0.01 GB/month download cost, although less than some other services, can definitely add up. As an incentive to go with them, Backblaze E2 will cover transfer and any legacy outbound costs for migrations larger than 10 TB.
Backblaze B2: Features
Backblaze B2 is designed to handle media storage as they claim to have “millions of objects and petabytes of data”. It is designed for easy installation and getting you up and running in minutes. It is also great for media as the files are always accessible and not stored on tape or any other offline solution with the inherent delays in accessing the data. Also designed to be ‘workflow friendly’ as it can be easily connected for NAS, SAN and MAM configurations.
Migrations to Backblaze B2 can be done in several ways. It can be done from cloud to cloud, moving the data from your existing cloud service, e.g. Google Drive (opens in new tab)or Amazon S3 (opens in new tab)and then written to the Backblaze B2 server. Another option is the on-premises to cloud solution, where the data is moved from a server, NAS or SAN, and the data can be migrated via “optimized cloud pipes” or via “Backblaze’s 96TB Fireball device for fast ingestion”. The last option is from tape media, either from a reel cassette or a cartridge, where the data goes through a direct high-speed connection.
Also realize that data goes through simple internet transfers so files can be moved over existing internet connections, optimizing the connection through multi-threading.
At the heart of this service is the IaaS, which is S3-compatible and native APIs, SDKs, and CLI, and is also designed to handle developers’ workloads. It is also highly secure with multiple security features including SSE and CORS rules.
Backblaze B2: Support
Support for Backblaze B2 is available through a number of methods, but no phone support is available. We consider this a shortcoming, as there is a phone number on the website, but it is specifically labeled as ‘Not for customer support’.
Instead, the support is available through a direct email address or through a support portal that allows the user to attach a file (such as an annotated screenshot). Elsewhere, it states that users will receive a response via the portal within one business day. There is also a help page with a long list of articles grouped by category, such as in the FAQ section, an article on “How do I ungroup?”
There is also the option to chat. We do take issue though as the opening times are a bit confusing as it is 9am to 5pm PST Monday to Friday but it is closed 12pm to 1pm on Mondays and 12pm to 1pm on other days. There are no hours listed for weekends either. Also, just in case all this wasn’t confusing enough, the chat is completely closed on alternate Wednesdays, making us wish this option was more available.
Backblaze B2 offers plenty of features and support that make it an attractive choice. It also points out on its website the lower cost it offers than Amazon S3 as it is about 76% to 80% cheaper compared to data storage and downloads.
While this is true, we would also consider IDrive e2 (opens in new tab)† This is because it also offers the first 10 GB for free and additionally has a lower storage cost along with no outgoing fees.
Backblaze B2: Final Verdict
Backblaze B2 offers a well-polished product in this S3 space. We appreciate that the first 10 GB of storage is free and the storage costs undercut many competitors. The support options are another plus. However, we are concerned that there is no direct telephone support and that the hours for chat interaction are limited. While it’s a reality in most of the segment, we’re not exactly fans of the download costs this service charges.
In our final analysis, and based at least in part on the offering for the first 10 GB, we can easily put Backblaze B2 on the short list of products to watch in this segment.
We’ve rounded up the best cloud backup services (opens in new tab)†