Today marks the official conclusion of my 2 week trial period with BackBlaze, and the conversion of my trial account to a full featured plan for $5 per month. The price alone is one of the most compelling reasons to consider BackBlaze as a part of your backup strategy, it’s one of the lowest in the industry. While price is always a nice selling point in today’s economy, I don’t care how cheap something is if it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, so here’s my 2 week review of BackBlaze – and why I feel comfortable recommending it.
General Information :
Pricing options vary for BackBlaze and go as low as $3.96 per month for unlimited data storage – I’m using the month to month plan at $5 per month, which works out to exactly 16.66 cents a day. Not bad.
I’ve used CrashPlan and Mozy mostly in the past, but had a nasty run in with CrashPlan’s “enterprise” technical support department that left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Other than that, BackBlaze pretty much does what’s it competitors do – keeps your data stored offsite in case of a local disaster, and allows you restore files as needed. BackBlaze can back up all local drives, as well as any external media that you may plug-in. From what I understand though the software does not back up network drives or NAS/SAN appliances, so that rules out paying $5 to back up your small businesses entire fileserver ;)
As most other options out there on the market, you have the ability to exclude certain file extensions from being backed up. All of the standard exclusions are already included in the exclusion list, and you really don’t need to do any customizing beyond that if you don’t feel the need.
It’s important to understand that BackBlaze currently only backs up files, and does not have the ability to create a system level backup for a system recovery. While I think this would be a pretty nifty feature I don’t have a problem with reinstalling the operating system myself then grabbing my files as needed, so not really a downside there. This is also the case for most other backup solutions as the real value of a desktop typically resides on the data it contains, not the systems configuration itself – of course this is a different case for a server, but that’s a topic for another article.
Similar to CrashPlan, BackBlaze offers a “mail drop” service for users that need to restore large amounts of data – a USB drive shipped to your house that contains all of your data. In my case, it took me just over 2 weeks to back up 2 TB with another 2TB to go so this could be a nice feature at some point. Other than that I don’t mind it taking time to back up all of that data as long as it’s safe, and I don’t mind waiting to have it restored – a good majority of it is not mission critical in my case.
Another nifty feature of BackBlaze is that it works on Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS – unfortunately I only use Windows 7 at home and don’t have any Mac devices to test it out with. If anyone out there wants to chime in on the Mac experience with BackBlaze, drop me a comment below.
My Experience :
I’m currently a little over two weeks in with BackBlaze, and I’ve managed to seed over 2TB of initial information during this time. I’ve got a fairly regular cable connection and my computer is typically turned on anywhere from 4-12 hours a day depending on what day of the week it is, so it’s pretty impressive that I was able to get 2TB of data backed up in this time frame. I choose to stick with the standard exclusions, but I did tell it to ignore file size and backup EVERYTHING – a setting that was set to ignore files over 4000MB by default. Here’s a screenshot below :
Other than that, I didn’t find anything out of the ordinary and haven’t had any negative experiences with the software yet. It runs silently and efficiently in the background and I don’t even think about it more often than not. It’s nice knowing that my data is backed up somewhere else besides my home. If anything changes in the future I’ll be the first person to come back and update this post with any shenanigans.
The Test Restore ( Moment Of Truth ) :
All this talk of having your files backed up and secure is well and good, but to really vet a backup you need to do a restore. BackBlaze offers 3 ways to get your data back; web download, USB flash drive, and USB drive. The web download is free and set to your email address, and the other two cost $99 or $189 respectively. One thing I would like to point out here is that while you won’t need a backup that often, it would be prudent to keep local copies as well in order to avoid getting slapped with a $189 fee for retrieving backups. Besides, you never know – it’s worth the peace of mind to have your data in multiple locations. “Never keep all of your eggs in one basket” comes to mind ;)
I chose to restore 1GB of data with the web download option and am happy to report that it worked well and was quick. You choose the option to restore data from your account on their website, and it zips it out to an email address that matches. My data was safe and accessible, and back in my hands within minutes. Awesome!
While I would love to write about the horrible experience I had with CrashPlan earlier this year, and in an enterprise environment no less – I can’t get into particulars as I no longer consult for that client. But essentially, data that I needed to have restored didn’t seem to exist anywhere on their side, which rattled my faith in cloud based backup software. I’ll be testing BackBlaze throughout the course of the next few weeks and will update this post accordingly if I’m unable to get any of my data, but in the meantime and hopefully going forward – I am confident to recommend BackBlaze cloud backup as a good solution for your backup strategy.
Disclaimer : I was going to write a nice little write-up on the experience anyways, but I noticed that BackBlaze has an affiliate program. I signed up and will be putting that link below this post.
If you found this article helpful and if you want to reward me for my efforts, then you can use this affiliate link here to signup, and I’ll receive commission for you signing up with BackBlaze – it doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it helps me cover some of the hosting costs for this site. There’s a 2 week trial so you can make up your own mind as well. As always, let me know your thoughts or any experiences that you’ve had with this software.