Backblaze, the small, independent cloud storage company that competes directly against the Amazons and Googles of the world and yet has held its own, is going back to the future.
The San Mateo, Calif.-based company on Jan. 26 announced a public beta called the Restore, Return, Refund Program. This initiative combines Backblaze's data storage and backup services with old-fashioned mail delivery of storage hardware.
With all the data transfer happening now in real-time virtuality, this approach looks like a breath of old-school fresh air. If you don't need your data moved or backed up yesterday, here is another way to do it safely.
Customers use Restore By Mail to get a hard drive or flash key with all of their data, and then return it for a full refund. This enables customers to get all their data back from Backblaze quickly, without using their Internet connection, at no charge.
Anybody who has ever tried to move large amounts of data from one place to another via WAN or other Internet connection knows quite well the time and money it can take to complete the job. Some large data sets can take days to back up in a cloud storage service; putting the load onto a hard drive and mailing it back and forth seems like an ancient way to do this, but it's also very efficient.
There are two ways to use this new program. The first is this:
--Order a Restore By Mail order ($99 for a USB Flash Key or $189 for up to a 4TB USB Hard Drive).
--Receive and keep the hard drive with your data.
Alternatively, you can:
--Return the Restore By Mail drive to Backblaze within 30 days via your preferred shipping
--Upon receiving the drive back, Backblaze will refund your entire purchase price.
--Restoring large amounts of data is easy; just have a drive shipped to your door.
--Restoring large amounts of data is inexpensive; no charge if drive is returned.
--Hard drives can still be kept by customers as a local backup if they do not wish to return the drive.
--Restore By Mail avoids ISP bandwidth caps and speed throttling that is part of some data plans.
Backblaze has always offered three ways to restore data: Free Web Restore (via a .zip), Backblaze Mobile apps for iOS and Android, and Restore By Mail ($99 per USB Flash Key and $189 per USB Hard Drive).
"What sets us apart from Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, iCloud, etc. is that they are not backups," CEO and company founder Gleb Budman told eWEEK. "Uploading data to sync/share services is a manual process, not automated or continuous. External drives are not backed up/synced by default. Sync/share services don't protect against total hard drive failure. Restoring multiple gigabytes or terabytes is burdensome, slow, and can lead to ISP overages."
Budman said some of Backblaze's competitors are either eliminating or reducing their Restore By Mail programs.
"Crashplan completely removed its Restore to Door feature for CrashPlan for Home users. Carbonite is only available for Windows, and its Personal Prime costs $149.99/year users in the U.S.," Budman said.
Backblaze claims—and it can back it up—to have built the world's lowest-cost cloud storage. AWS, Google and Microsoft can argue this point, but they will lose the debate. None of those well-known storage names can claim to charge unlimited data backup in the cloud for laptops and desktops for $5 per month, nor can they offer enterprise data storage for less than Backblaze charges.
"We're charging one-half cent/GB/month," Budman said. "The lowest cost [AWS] S3 tier is 2.2 cents/GB/month, and even [AWS] Glacier, which has a 4-hour data transfer delay and other charges, is 1 cent/GB/month."
Backblaze Restore by Mail is available worldwide. Go here for more information.