Recently a former co-worker of mine contacted me to tell me about his new startup – BackBlaze. I gave the service a try, and I have to admit – this is by far the easiest backup service I’ve ever used. Keep reading for the full review and a link to give the service a try.
Backblaze Philosophy: Backup All Data
The Backblaze service backs up all your data. We believe you should not need to worry whether you selected all the files you care about, put any files in a different location on your computer, or added any new files that may not be included in your backup. Therefore, we automatically select all your data.
Backblaze does not want to waste your bandwidth or Backblaze datacenter disk space. Thus, we do not backup your operating system, program files, or temporary internet files that are transient and would not be useful in the future. At the moment we also exclude certain email file types since they change with each email received and the entire large file would be backed up and files that are individually over 100 MB. You can see these exclusions by clicking on “More Options…” in the Control Panel and selecting the “Exclude from Backup” tab.
And their software truly follows their philosophy. You run the installer, and you’re done. BackBlaze finds all of your Photographs/images, Music, Movies, Documents, Browser Favorites and Bookmarks etc, and backs them up. They have made backups so simple that yes, even your parents can do it.
At the end of the installation, BackBlaze tells you exactly what it’s going to start backing up (note: there are so few files in the screenshot below because I used the software on a nearly new Vista install).
You can pause backups at any time, and the “tips” window will rotate through various suggestions/tips for BackBlaze.
The main Settings page allows for you to throttle the bandwidth used for backups, alter the notification schedule, and edit the top directories.
From the Schedule page you can change how often backups occur. You will likely want to leave the default setting, so that files are uploaded as soon as they are added/changed.
By default, BackBlaze includes all of the Windows System folders to be excluded from being backed up. You can also use this section to add folders that you don’t want BackBlaze to backup.
The Files Scheduled for Backup tab lists exactly what you’d think – all of the files currently scheduled to be backed up.
There are currently 3 methods to restore your backups, and there’s a chance that before the product becomes “final”, they will have changed. The existing options are: 1) Back From The Web. You can choose sets of 1GB or less (BackBlaze zips your files into a 1GB zip file and you download that file). You can download an unlimited number of 1GB zip files. 2) BackBlaze will FedEx a 4.7GB DVD of your files. A fee applies, and this is one of the options that may be removed. 3). BackBlaze will load 160GB of your files onto a USB hard drive, and FedEx the drive to you. A fee applies for this option as well, and the final price has yet to be set.
The web interface, as seen below, is quite easy to navigate and use. You just select the files you want to restore, and choose a restoration method.
BackBlaze runs in the background all the time. It uses very little system resources and really does define the “set it and forget it” philosophy of software.
Pros and Cons
As I mentioned at the start of this review, this company was founded by a former co-worker. So in the interest of being completely fair, I will list some of the shortcomings of BackBlaze in addition to the benefits. Here goes.
So – there you have it. Now give it a try. Visit https://www.backblaze.com/simplehelp and the first 25 folks who sign up can skip the “invitation needed” requirement.