Backblaze wants to eliminate tape-based storage

The company has officially launched its low-cost B2 storage service

Online backup company Backblaze made waves last year when it announced a beta test last year of B2, a new public cloud storage service that would be cheaper than competing offerings from Amazon and Microsoft.

B2 has now exited beta with some new features that may make it more appealing to business users. It now has a service level agreement guaranteeing 99.9 percent uptime for all data stored within it, matching the baseline offerings from Amazon Web Services’ S3 and Microsoft Azure’s Blob Storage service.

In addition, users can now purchase expanded support from Backblaze, which will give them guaranteed rapid responses to support questions and – at the highest level – access to a phone number for around-the-clock support.

According to Backblaze CEO Gleb Budman, the company has shifted away from trying to steal customers away from S3 and other storage services, and towards eliminating companies’ reliance on tape-based storage.

“There are still just hundreds and hundreds of petabytes of tape that get deployed [inside companies],” he said in an interview. “And in almost all of those cases, everyone that uses them hates them, and has for a long time. There’s really nothing redeeming about tape, except for cost.”

In addition, companies can now more easily get their data out of Backblaze’s cloud. B2 users can take advantage of a “Snapshot” feature that lets them select up to 3.5TB of files stored with Backblaze and get that mailed to them on a physical hard drive for US$189.

It's similar to a service that Backblaze already offers customers of its cloud backup service, which allows them to get files from their computer mailed to them in the event they need physical access to that information.

As part of this launch, Backblaze also revealed a quartet of partnerships for B2, including an integration with network attached storage provider Synology. New NAS models from Synology will be able to back themselves up to B2, and the storage hardware company will be updating many of its recent storage devices to support that capability, too.

Businesses that use Cloudberry to do their cloud backup can now also use B2 through that service, building on its integrations with other providers including Amazon and Microsoft.

Looking towards the future, Budman said that Backblaze is looking to launch another data center in California, near its existing facility. After that, the company is looking to expand its geographic footprint to another location in North America.

Companies that want to make sure they have their files stored in multiple data centers can still benefit from B2, according to Budman. In his view, companies will still end up saving money by storing one copy of their information with B2 in Backblaze’s California data center and storing another copy in another storage service like Amazon S3.

So far, 30,000 people signed up to try B2 during its beta period. With Backblaze’s partnerships, it has the potential to pick up many users going forward, but it’s going to face tough competition against the likes of Amazon and Microsoft.

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Blair Hanley Frank

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