Most of us learn about the importance of having and keeping regular backups only after loosing some of our important files, photos and documents. Luckily, I haven’t lost a single file and mostly because I have been lucky. Even the best hard drives crash and laptops get smashed or stolen.
My first real backup solution more than six years ago was a 120 GB external hard disk that needed a bulky power adopter to be plugged into the wall and turned on before it could be used. There was no software that would be able to sync only the modified files so I had to create folders such as
aug_2007 and copy everything again and again every time. USB transfer speeds were slow and it took only month to have reached the ultimate backup mess on that external disk.
Few years later I got a new external Maxtor disk that would use two USB wires to power the disk instead of the external adapter. It should have made it easier but it didn’t because the syncing software was still too slow and hard to configure to do any good. So I lived my life on the digital edge and presumably didn’t think about loosing all my client website source files, server access information, invoices and many other important files.
Fast Forward to 2011 — Online Backup
The fact is that I don’t buy software before I make sure that there is no way I can build it myself or find an existing open source solutions. I was surprised to discover that I couldn’t buy even the necessary disk space on any shared server for the price of most online backup solutions that were available on the market. The conclusion was simple — I had to choose from the existing online backup providers.
First I tried Carbonite because Leo Laporte had them as one of the sponsors of TWiT and I really wanted to like it. I also tried Mozy and SugarSync and many others but there were exactly two things that I didn’t like about all of them:
- limited backup storage, and
- complex software that slowed down computer.
None of these limitations are relevant today — bandwidth and storage are cheap and performant software is a must (just look at Apple and Google Chrome). Nobody should think about which photos or documents to backup just to avoid having unexpected payments at the end of month.
The Solution — Backblaze Online Backup
I don’t remember how I discovered Backblaze, but their offer sounded exactly how I imagined it should be — reasonably priced and without limits. It automatically created a trial account for me once I had it installed and I didn’t even have to visit their website again. In a few days I had forgotten that it was running in the background and all my important files (~ 40 GB) were backed up just before the end of the 15-day trial.
I was amazed at how fast and resource aware their software was both on my Mac and Windows machines and what a difference it made. After being their customer for two month I signed up my girlfriend’s laptop under the same account and today we both have around 150GB stored at Backblaze servers for $10/month in total.
My Backblaze Stories
Changing Computers and Transferring Files
Recently I got a new Macbook Pro as my main machine for work and I ended up using Backblaze to transfer all my documents and files from the old Windows machine just because they were already in the Backblaze cloud. Restoring files using their website is really simple — just select the folders you want and a single .zip files is prepared for direct download in minutes. I have a 100 Mbps internet connection at home, so it ended up being faster than if I had used an external hard drive.
That PowerPoint Presentation During Vacation
A month ago I went to Germany for a little weekend vacation and didn’t bring the laptop with me because I had just finished all the work and I really didn’t want to think about it for at least a weekend. On Saturday my colleague calls and asks for a little but important modification to one of the presentations that I had just finished. I had sent him a PDF version of that presentation due to some font issues so there was no way he could edit it.
It took me at least five minutes to figure out that Backblaze might have managed to sync the latest version of the original PPT file that I saved on my desktop just before shutting down the computer. And it had! So I simply download the original presentation using the online restore feature and got it fixed in no time. It felt really good considering that my laptop at home was turned off and the wireless router was unplugged to save some electricity. There is no way I could have done it without Backblaze.
Try Backblaze for 15 days and see if it works for you as well as it does for me. There is nothing like a comfort of knowing that all my important files, photos and podcast videos are stored securely in Backblaze datacenter and I can get them from wherever I am.