Backblaze B2 is an attractive option for scalable cloud storage services with a focus on the business market. Users are sure to appreciate the free data allotment, and the overall simple pricing model and that it is designed to make it ‘Workflow friendly’ makes it easy to partner with.
10GB of data for free
Simple pricing model
Multiple support options
Several migration options
No direct phone support
Limited hours of chat support
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Backblaze, which started in a small Palo Alto apartment, has seven co-founders that have worked together since 2007, first founding their cloud backup offering, and then in 2015 its b2 Cloud Storage offering. As it is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), this latter product targets software integration for the business market. In 2018, Backblaze indicated corporate partnerships with Packet, and Server Central to connect the data centers.
Backblaze now counts around 150 employees servicing almost 500K customers located globally across 175 countries from its corporate HQ in San Mateo, California. Notable clients include Fortune, Streamlabs, Patagonia and Complex Networks.
Backblaze B2: Plans and pricing
Backblaze B2 has a pretty simple pricing model. While there is no free trial period, the offer of 10GB of free storage without a time limit is even a notch better. This way lower needs users can have access to the service, while others can try it out before deciding to fully commit.
Beyond that, the cost is a simple $0.005 GB/Month for data stored, which makes us wonder why others in the space don’t go with such a simple route for pricing. However, while we did not find any cost for uploads, the download cost of $0.01 GB/Month, while less than some other services, can certainly add up. As an inducement to go with them, Backblaze E2 covers the transfer and any legacy egress fees for migrations that are over 10 TB’s.
Backblaze B2: Features
Backblaze B2 is designed to be able to handle the storage of media as they claim to have “Millions of objects and petabytes of data.” It is designed for ease of setup and to be up and running in minutes. It is also well suited for media as the files are always accessible, and not stored on tape or another offline solution with the inherent delays of getting the data accessed. Designed also to be ‘workflow friendly,’ as it can easily connect for NAS, SAN and MAM configurations.
Migrations to Backblaze B2 can be performed through a variety of different methods. It can be done cloud to cloud, with movement of the data from your existing cloud service, for example Google Drive, or Amazon S3, and then written to the Backblaze B2 server. Another option is the on-premises to cloud solution, in which the data is moved from a server, NAS or SAN, and the data can migrate through ‘optimized cloud pipes,’ or through “Backblaze’s 96TB Fireball rapid ingest device.” The last option is from tape media, either from a reel cassette or a cartridge, with the data going through a high speed direct connection.
Also realize that data goes through simple internet transfers so files can get moved through existing internet connections, with the connection optimized 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 be able to handle developer workloads. It is also highly secure with multiple security features including SSE and CORS rules.
Backblaze B2: Support
Support for Backblaze B2 is available via a number of methods, but there is no phone support available. We consider this a shortcoming as there is a phone number on the website but it specifically designates as “Not for customer support.”
Rather, the support is available via a direct email address, or via a support portal that allows the user to attach a file (such as an annotated screenshot). Elsewhere it states that users will get a response in a business day through the portal. There is also a help page, with a long list of articles grouped by category, such as in the Common Questions area, an article on “How do I dissolve a group?”
There is also the option for chat. However, we take issue as the hours are a little confusing, as it is 9 AM to 5 PM PST on Monday to Friday, but it is closed from 12 PM to 130 PM on Mondays, and from 12 PM to 1 PM on other days. There are no hours listed for the weekends either. Also, in case this all was not confusing enough, chat is completely closed on alternate Wednesdays, making us wish that this option is more available.
Backblaze B2 offers plenty of features and support making 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% less expensive in comparison for data storage, and for downloads.
While this is true, we also would consider IDrive e2. This is because it also offers the first 10 GB for free, and additionally has both a lower storage cost, along with no egress 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 no cost, and that the storage costs undercut many competitors. The support options are another plus. However, we have concerns that there is no direct phone support, and the hours are limited for a chat interaction. Also, while it is a reality across most of the segment, we are not really fans of the download fees that this service charges.
In our final analysis, and at least partially based on the offer for the initial 10 GB, we can easily put Backblaze B2 on the short list of products to look at in this segment.
Jonas P. DeMuro is a freelance reviewer covering wireless networking hardware.
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