September 23, 2015

528 words 3 mins read

Blackblaze burns the competition with B2

backblaze
Yesterday, Backblaze announced a new game changing product, if you’re into storage. The new Backblaze B2 offers cloud-based object storage, similar to AWS S3 or Google Cloud Storage, except that it’s significantly cheaper than the competition. This is shocking since a lot of people have never heard of Backblaze, and they don’t play in the “cloud” market.

Backblaze has been around since 2007 and is known for their backup product. In fact their company has been laser focused on that single product (to their benefit) for the last 7 years. Unlimited backup for $5 a month is a darn good deal and I’ve yet to find anything remotely close to as good as their service.

So the B2 product isn’t that far from their wheelhouse of “lots of storage”. They post regularly about their storage pod technology, which makes their “unlimited backup” possible. Even though it shouldn’t be, it’s amazing how low they can price their B2 storage product. Here’s a comparison chart they posted:

backblaze-b2-compare

Let’s take a closer look at the pricing comparison of B2 to AWS S3 and GCS, but what prices to compare? While AWS also offers Glacier (at $0.007/gb/mo) that’s offline storage so it’s not analagous — however B2 is still cheaper. GCS also offers Nearline at $0.01/gb/mo but that’s not quite online either, and B2 is still cheaper. The next closest both services offer is AWS S3 IA (at $0.0125/gb/mo) and GCS DRA (at $0.02/gb/mo). In both cases B2 is still cheaper, but we don’t know what the durability and accessibility for B2 will be, so it could be more equivalent to normal AWS S3 & GCS (which are even more expensive).

What’s this mean for you in real life? If you were storing 1 TB (1024 GB) of personal data, in a way that’s safe and secure, but you don’t need access super regularly, here’s what it would cost*:

<th>

Cost for 1 month

<th>

Cost for 1 year

<td>

$5.12

<td>

$61.44

<td>

$10.24

<td>

$122.88

<td>

$12.80

<td>

$153.6

Service
Backblaze B2
GCS Nearline
AWS S3 IA

*Most of these and similar services offer a “free” tier. I am ignoring that tier for elucidation purposes.

270TB Storage pod? I want!
So B2 is awesome and it’s cheap, what’s the catch? Well, it’s still in Beta and we don’t have any real field reports of performance. There is a huge difference between the performance requirements of storing data for backup, and storing data for a live app. While B2 may provide adequate performance for a use like Dropbox-style file server, it may not be nearly fast enough for a production web app. We also don’t know what the data durability or accessibility will be, or how those compare to the competition. Also since B2 isn’t in the same network environment as your production app (e.g. AWS S3 to AWS EC2), you’re going to have latency to contend with. At the end of the day, Backblaze knows all of this and is targeting the file server & custom backup markets. Personally, I’m looking forward to getting B2 so I can cut costs on my consulting clients backup costs (for those situations where their backup service doesn’t fit).