Wasabi review

Cloud storage with a bit of spice

Wasabi
Image Credit: Wasabi

Our Verdict

If you want fast and cheap cloud storage and aren’t bothered about it being a little inelegant, then Wasabi is built for you. But requiring extra software to make the most of the facility might take the shine off it for some.

For

  • Blindly quick
  • Low price
  • Decent security

Against

  • No sync tool provided
  • No official mobile apps
  • Telephone support is extra

A relative newcomer to the cloud storage market, Wasabi was founded by David Friend and Jeff Flowers, the creative team behind Carbonite.

Wasabi is the fifth business the pair has formed together, and the growth of this company from its launch in May 2017 has been spectacular. 

What is attracting so many customers to Wasabi, and will they also sway you?

Features

Wasabi's web interface (Image Credit: Wasabi)

Features

We’ll be upfront and say that initially, we weren’t especially impressed with Wasabi because the web interface functionality is very basic.

That’s because those signing up to this is doing is buying a cloud service, and relatively little else.

After you’ve created an account, you are invited to create a ‘Bucket’, the Wasabi term for a controlled data space where files are stored, and you can control access.

You can make as many Buckets as you like, enabling you to partition storage for different purposes or unique security.

Once you’ve created a Bucket, you can upload files and folders, and also define who can access them and what permissions are appropriate.

This aspect of Wasabi is very granular, in that it allows users, groups, roles and global policies to be defined, in a not dissimilar way to how a local file server might be managed.

Except, this is globally accessible to anyone with a web browser and the right credentials.

One oddity of this solution is that when you install the Wasabi Cloud Storage Client software on a PC or Mac, that it automatically creates two new Buckets one for ‘Wasabi Cloud’ and the other for Wasabi Cloud (Immutable).

These are linked to two network drives on the computer, and you can use them as you would any other network storage.

The only difference between these drives is that while you can write files to the ‘Immutable’ drive, you can’t delete from it. And, you can activate versioning on these drives, allowing every version of a file ever created to be recovered.

For those wondering, there is no sync tool. Therefore, if you want that facility, you will need to run additional software that takes files from the PC and pushes them to the Wasabi network drives.

Cloudberry

CloudBerry backup can be used to sync your files to Wasabi's network drives (Image Credit: Cloudberry)

Software like CloudBerry Backup would work well in this context and only costs about $30 for a license.

On the Wasabi site, are a list a collection of tools that will work with the service that you can find here.

It would be preferable if Wasabi provided more software, as it is a basic requirement for those that want to secure their PC/Mac against data loss. There is also no official mobile app, although you can use S3Anywhere for Android to connect on that platform.

The lack of sync or mobile apps is disappointing, though this platform is still maturing, and this functionality may come along in time.

But, as Wasabi was built to work in much the same way as Amazon S3, any tools or apps built to interface to that infrastructure should also work with Wasabi.

Much less of an issue is speed.

File transfers to and from the cloud are lightning quick and a significantly better experience than with Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure.  

The level of performance was especially impressive when you consider that the datacentre we were accessed were based on the East coast of the USA, and the reviewer was based in Europe.

At this time Wasabi has only East and West coast servers, though it recently announced that the next one is to be opened in the Netherlands.

Wasabi claim to be six times faster than Amazon S3. That might be a degree of hyperbole, but it is certainly quicker if you have the broadband bandwidth to exploit it.

Overall, while Wasabi might be basic from a client connectivity perspective, but the cloud storage side of this equation is well balanced.  

You can easily create access and secret access keys using Wasabi (Image Credit: Wasabi)

You can easily create access and secret access keys using Wasabi (Image Credit: Wasabi)

Security

here are two sides to the Wasabi strategy to keep your data safe, and the first of these is the physical security of the datacentres.

These have all the defences and technology that you’d expect in a Spy movie, apart from automated lasers. They have 24/7 security personnel, biometric access, CCTV systems and multiple redundant systems.

They’re all rated to have an uptime of better than 99.9%, which translates into a day every three years.

On top of the datacentre security, the other side to Wasabi is a sturdy protection plan for the files even before they get to storage. It uses a model that encrypts all the files in the Wasabi Cloud, and files always travel in an encrypted form. You can have Wasabi keep the encryption keys or define them yourself if you are responsible enough never to forget them.

The service has have two-factor authentication, is HIPAA compliant, and if you use a backup tool like CloudBerry, you can also apply additional encryption to the files before they travel to the cloud.

As cloud storage goes, security is well-considered with Wasabi.

Adding new users with Wasabi is easy and you can even customize their access privileges (Image Credit: Wasabi)

Adding new users with Wasabi is easy and you can even customize their access privileges (Image Credit: Wasabi)

Pricing

As a headline feature, the price of Wasabi is certainly a head-turner. The cost of storage space is just $0.0049 per GB, which is remarkably low.  

Although wisely, Wasabi put a minimum of 1TB storage as the low water line, guaranteeing that it gets at least $5 from you each month.

That works out at about a quarter of what Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure is asking,  

When this service first appeared, like many others in the IaaS market, it had a steep download cost of $0.04 per GB. That’s $40 to get your 1TB back, and this made the solution inappropriate for customers that like to download often.

Wasabi has since changed that plan, as it now comes with no download cost, but you can still have this model which has an even lower $0.0039 per GB cost for space. And, should you realise that you are incurring costs that you wouldn’t under the other model, you can switch between them.

The only other cost to consider is that for a support plan.

Wasabi Basic Support is free and provides a knowledge base, documentation and an email-based ticketing system.

Unfortunately, if you want to talk to a human and get a prioritised email response that costs $300 per month for a Premium support plan.

That seems excessive for telephone support, but those with a mission-critical project might feel that it is a necessary expenditure in the event of problems.

Final verdict

If the price and speed are the best things about Wasabi, then the worst is in connecting the service to the customer systems. The lack of a sync tool or any mobile apps is regrettable.

To complete the circle of connectivity you are forced to install additional apps and rely on their support for Wasabi to do things that other services offer inherently.

That said, once you’ve got over those hurdles, this is a rapid, secure and highly affordable solution that many people could find a good reason to use.