Diggin' technology every day

October 9, 2012

Backblaze’s answer to the Thai flooding

Filed under: Storage — Tags: , — Nate @ 10:37 am

Saw an interesting article over at Slashdot, then went to GigaOm, and then went to the source. Aside from the sick feeling I felt when a cloud storage provider is sourcing their equipment through Costco, or Newegg, the more interesting aspect to the Backblaze story, that I wasn’t aware of before is the people in the Slashdot thread pointing out the limitations to their platform.

Here I was thinking Backblaze is a cheap way to store stuff off site but its a lot more complicated than that. For my own off site backups I use my own hardware hosted in a co-location facility that is nearby. The cost is reasonable considering the flexibility I have (it seems far cheaper than any cloud storage I have come across anyways which honestly surprises me given I have no leverage to buy hardware).

Anyways back to Backblaze, the model really sort of reminds me of the model that so many people complain about when it comes to broadband and wireless data usage plans. The price is really cheap – they did that part well.

The most startling thing to me is they delete data 30 days after you delete it locally. They don’t allow storage of many common types of files like ISO images, virtual machine images. They acknowledge

Backblaze is not designed as an additional storage system when you run out of space.

(having wrote this I could just as easily see consumer internet companies saying that they are not designed to replace your Cable/Satellite with Netflix+Hulu)

At the same time they advertise unlimited storage. They talk about how much cheaper they are than (shudder) Amazon, and other providers (as well as doing things in house), but don’t mention these key comparison points. I believe one of the posts on slashdot even claimed that Backblaze goes out of their way to detect network drives and perhaps iSCSI attached network storage and blocks that from being backed up as well.

For all I know the other players in the space have similar terms, I haven’t investigated, I was just kind of surprised to see such mixed messages coming from them, from one side they say unlimited storage for a cheap rate, while at the same time they put all sorts of restrictions on it.

The up side is of course they seem to be fairly up front about what they limit when you dig more into the details, but at the same time the broadband and wireless data providers are fairly upfront as well, but that doesn’t stop people from complaining at ever increasing volumes.

I’d think they could do a lot more if they expanded the scope of their support with tiers of service, For example extending the window of storage from 30 days to some arbitrary longer period, for some marginal increase in cost. But maybe not.

I’m sure they run a fine service for the target market, I was always sort of curious how they managed the cost model, outside of the hardware anyways, reading this today really enlightened me as to how that strategy works.

Learn something new every day (almost).

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