Sunday, November 3, 2013

Backblaze - Effortless Backups for Mac OS X and Windows PC


I've been listening to the Accidental Tech Podcast and The Talk Show for sometime now and one recurring sponsor, Backblaze, caught my attention.

Backups are boring and nobody likes doing them.  But, when disaster strikes, everyone wishes they had one.  And that is where Backblaze comes in.  Backblaze, with it's great team of people, including some ex-Apple employees, is an elegant backup solution that takes minutes to setup and gives you the piece of mind that lets you sleep at night.

Installation and Setup


Blackblaze works with Mac OS X 10.5 and later, Windows XP (32-bit), Windows Vista (32 & 64-bit), Windows 7 (32 & 64-bit), and Windows 8.  You download and install a small client application on your computer.  After the easy installation processes, it's time to configure your backup.  You simply select which hard drive(s) you want to back up, select any folders that you want to exclude from the backup, and set your backup schedule.


For me, I'm backing up my MacBook's main hard drive.  I've excluded my iTunes movies folder because I can redownload most content from Apple.  I want to make sure that I always have the most current version of my documents backed up all of the time, so I selected the default back up schedule of "Continuously (Recommended)".  If your installation is anything like mine, you've spent about 10-15 minutes setting up the software.


What I really liked about the client installation is that is a real native application for Mac OS X.  It's not a warmed over Java application that runs equally poorly on all of the support platforms.  I also appreciate that the developers have made this a "real" Mac application - one with the same look and feel that makes you believe that the application belongs on your computer.

Be Productive, We Got This

But you might be thinking, "Ya, but I have a lot of data.  This is gonna cost an arm and a leg."  Here's another thing that sets Backblaze apart from other online backup solutions: They will back up all of your data.  All of it.  Got 500MB? No problem.  Got 2TB?  No problem.  You just pay your monthly flat rate fee and Backblaze will back up all of your data.  The software throttles the data streaming back to their data center so get to you keep working the same way you always have.  Continuous backups run in the background keeping your data safe.  Based on my ISP upstream connection and the amount of data I have, my initial backup has been estimated to run about 42 days.  (I don't keep my Mac on 24x7.  Your milage will vary.  When I last checked, the initial backup is projected to be completed in 22 days.)

With Backblaze, backups really are a "no brainer" and once the software is setup and running, you can forget about it and just do what you do best.

Hassle Free Recovery

When disaster does strike, you won't have to worry about getting your data back because Backblaze makes recovery super easy.  If you accidentally deleted a folder, overwrote that important document or photo, or had a hard drive crash? Getting your data back is easy.  Login to the Backblaze website and select the computer that had the file.  Backblaze gives you four options for recovering your data: Single file download, multi-document .zip file download, restored data on a USB flash drive, or restored data on a USB hard drive.  The first two options are free, the flash drive option is $99 with a 53GB file maximum, and the hard drive option costs $189 for up to 3TB of data.

To help with your data recovery, the web UI data restore console allows you to navigate the folder structure on your hard drive or search for files/folders.  Have an iPhone?  Don't forget to download the Backblaze iOS app.  With it, you can download individual files right to your iOS device.  That's really handy if you need to look up some information that is back at home or the office when you're out or at a customer site.


It's aways a drag when a hard drive or computer dies.  But there is nothing more infuriating when the data loss is due to a stolen computer.  If you enable the feature, Backblaze has a Locate My Computer feature that can be used to locate your computer based on it's network connection.  It's a nice little bonus at no additional charge.

Plan Pricing

The personal plan that I selected is $5/month, but you can get down as low as $3.96/month if you pre-pay for two years of service up front. You can change your subscription plan at any time.  Business plans are $50/year per computer.

Conclusion

No body likes to run backups on their computer.  With Backblaze, backups are super simple and easy to setup.  When you need to, Backblaze makes it easy to get your data back a hassle free process.  If there is only one software service you buy this year, make it Backblaze.  You'll be glad you did.
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