B2, or not B2, that is the question

By | December 22nd, 2015

Cloud Storage vs Cloud Backup
Since we announced B2 Cloud Storage, many of our existing online backup customers have joined the B2 Beta program and started working with B2. That’s great, but we also know that many more of our customers are still on the sidelines trying to decide if B2 is right for them. Their dilemma:

B2, or not B2, that is the question
Whether ’tis wiser in the mind to backup
Your Mac or PC with continuous online backup
Or to change to back up on your own accord
And in migrating use B2: to set, and forget
No more; but to use a GUI, CLI or API;
The power, the control now in your grasp
Is it all too much? The serendipity
Rages in your mind. Backing up,
Online or with B2, choose; aye, there’s the rub.

With apologies to Shakespeare, you do not have to choose. Whether you use our traditional cloud backup service or our new B2 cloud storage service or both depends on where you are on the backup continuum…

The Status Quo

If you think “cloud storage” is techie-poetic metaphor to describe a stormy sky, then the status quo may be for you. For you, Backblaze Personal Backup has quietly and efficiently been backing up the data on your PC or Mac, you don’t even notice that Backblaze is there. It is set-and-forget and that’s just the way you want it. If this is you then you’re probably getting all the B2 you need in your multi-vitamin.

B2 Curious

You use Backblaze Personal Backup and you’ve read the B2 blog posts but you’re still not sure what you can do with B2. After all you’re a dentist, not a developer. Here’s how you can have some fun with B2. Sign in to Backblaze and make sure B2 is enabled. There’s a nice Web GUI (Graphical User Interface) that will get you B2-ing in minutes. Start by creating a bucket and make it public. Then use the drag-and-drop feature to upload your favorite photo or video. Click on the “info” icon and copy the URL of your file and share it with your family and friends for them to view and save on their computer or mobile device. Easy, and it won’t affect Backblaze Personal Backup which will continue doing it’s backup thing.

Stash What Matters

You dutifully saved every video you’ve shot in the last 13 years. There are 51 external hard drives piled high in your closet threatening to topple over at any moment. Out of all those video files there are a couple of dozen that you just can’t lose. How about using the Web GUI to store those must-keep videos on B2. To start, create a bucket then find the critical videos you want to save forever and upload them to your new B2 bucket. Once you’re done you’ll have a copy in the cloud of just the keepsakes you want and best of all it will only cost you $0.005/GB a month store them – actually less as the first 10GB of B2 cloud storage is free.

IT Guru

If the following makes any sense to you then you might find the B2 CLI interesting:

    $ b2 authorize_account ab01cd02ef03 a01b02c03d04e05f06a07b08b09c10d11e12f13a
    $ b2 list_buckets
    $ b2 upload_file photo-files ~/documents/hamlet.mov hamlet.mov
    $ b2 list_file_names photo-files

B2 has a command line interface that you can integrate into your current scripts to save files to the cloud as needed, for example, an offsite copy of your nightly logs or the latest incremental server backup. In many cases B2 can save you money over your current offsite storage. It’s well worth your time to learn more.

Killer App Ninja

You’ve had the idea for the next great killer app, but the cost of storing the data from your app in cloud storage is crushing your dreams. What good is an app if you have to give 1/2 your revenue to Amazon? Cheer up and try the B2 API. At 1/4th the cost of similar services that store data, B2 can help you on your way to being the next big thing.

Linux Rules

You love Backblaze, but alas you cannot use Backblaze Personal Backup because you use Linux. For years you have wanted Backblaze to create a Linux client, you begged and pleaded. You tweeted daily, you commented on our blog, and on our Facebook page, on Hacker News, on reddit, anywhere Backblaze was mentioned: “when will you have a Linux client?”

Well my Linux friend B2 is for you and anyone like you. Now you can create a tarball of your stuff, executables and all, and stash them on B2. You’re in control. You can script the perfect backup process, set up a cron job, then send us your files, keep versions, hide files and more. You can even share your work on Github with your Linux friends. Go ahead, it’s OK, no really, you can backup your Linux system using B2 Cloud Storage. There’s really only one big downside: we’ll miss your comments…

Andy Klein

Andy Klein

Director of Product Marketing at Backblaze
Andy has 20+ years experience in technology marketing. He has shared his expertise in computer security and data backup at the Federal Trade Commission, Rootstech, RSA and over 100 other events. His current passion is to get everyone to back up their data before it's too late.
Category:  Cloud Storage
  • After reading the article , I still don’t know what B2 is. Personal Backup uses a client app to back up your files to the cloud. What does B2 do? I see you can upload files to it from the example in the article. So it is a cloud storage service with an API similar to Amazon’s S3 offering? How does the cost to store data in B2 compare to storing data in Personal Backup? What are the read/write speed differences and storage limitations of each?
    The article is sparse on these details.

  • Yeah. Making Linux users script everything for a simple backup solution sucks. You could totally do this with a gui in gtk or qt and have the personal backup solution for us. Just because we are Linux users doesn’t always mean we want to script. Think about the money you could make with a simple Ubuntu client that could then be ported to dozens, if not hundreds, of other distros. You guys should just sack-up and develop it instead of just giving us an API. Lol

  • No_Rep

    You write “Go ahead, it’s OK, no really, you can backup your Linux system using B2 Cloud Storage.”

    This conflicts with the information in https://help.backblaze.com/entries/51211344-Supported-Operating-Systems

    In that document, Linux is said to be not supported.

    • Different products! Backblaze Personal Backup does not support Linux servers, however B2 Cloud Storage does!

      • No_Rep

        It was very hard to get any information from that article. The author seemed more interested in impressing and amusing himself with his intelligence than explaining the situation for readers. In any event, the support for B2 on Linux appears to be exceedingly weak. I have not been able to get Hashbackup, Duplicity, or the web interface for that matter to upload any files.

        • Ka Yuk LEE

          If you’re “support for B2” means an GUI client which sits in the background and does the upload silently for you, then there is no official support. But with the easy to use API I believe there will be lots of B2 clients coming to the market.

  • Dracolith

    My question would be…. is B2 itself backed up? I assume that during the Beta all the data could in theory be lost at any time. But after the beta is over… suppose I use B2 as the backend for an application which archives things….. when B2 goes ‘live’, will there be backups of my data stored on B2 and assurances made that data on B2 is protected against both disasters or catastrophic events and ‘minor incidents’ affecting Backblaze?? Also, will there be SLAs to show a performance and availability promise for the services, suitable for building commercial applications on top of?

    • Yeah, good point. Hopefully we hear back from Backblaze on this!

  • Davy

    For a long time, I have been wanting to start my own little backup company. Maybe this is the light. Is it possible to mount the bucket as an ftp or sftp folder? Sorry not a dev.

  • Domain Rider

    Was hoping to upload some nested folders from Windows, but can’t see how to do it…

  • Louise Buth

    I’m sorry to be dense, but I am so computer illiterate that I have no idea what a GUI is. What’s a “bucket”? I have the BackBlaze Backup & love it because it’s saved me when my computer crashed. But why do I want or need B2? Is it different than a BB back-up? What’s the benefit? Is there an extra $ charge? Please explain for the computers “dopes” like me…& no abbreviations, please! I don’t need “how’s”…I need “why’s”! I’m on a Mac running El Capitan.

    • Hello Louise, you don’t need Backblaze B2! If you like the Backup and don’t understand the rest of that stuff, don’t worry about it! B2 is mostly for developers and very advanced users!

      • Louise Buth

        Thanks, that’s what I needed!!!

  • mike

    I was stil hoping for a Linux client for normal backup. Set it and forget it and unlimited. Not utility billing and still requires scripting or waiting for someone to make something as intelligent as the normal backup application.

    • mike

      However B2 is great to start shaking up the object storage industry. It’s just super bets and wish it was more like S3 API. I understand the way it’s architected though it cannot be.

    • calmdownbro

      Why would you use Linux if you are afraid of scripting?
      You need:
      1) Cron

      • mike

        I’m not afraid of scripting. I want an efficient daemon that taps into kernel-level features like inotify.. handles versioning and everything, but most importantly is offered as an “unlimited” service.

        No matter what scripting is done the billing is still utility based.

      • Because some people want a plug and play solution, or they are new and just want to use their OS and have a backup solution.

    • trey

      agreed! Backblaze clearly does not think “Linux Rules” or they would offer linux support for personal backup or business backup.

    • Thibault Molleman

      I guess technically you could have a mac or windows box somewhere that has the personal backup and just use something like Beyond Compare to mirror to that computer (It’s not ideal, but I guess it would get the job done… Right?)

      For anyone from Backblaze who’s reading this. I’m not trying to make you guys lose profits. People like me who want to switch to Linux won’t be able to use Backblaze personal backup. Which is a shame. I think if you made a personal backup service for linux only users and it was 10$/month unlimited and with a proper client like on Windows and Mac lot’s of Linux users would do that!

  • would love a relatively easy method to use this amazing service with my Synology NAS! Once I can get this working B2 will be the only service I use for long term archiving.

  • Mark Cope

    Any plans to integrate Backblaze online backup with B2? E.g. I’ve already backed up all my files with Backblaze online backup,can I copy 100GB of files to B2 without uploading again?

    • Hello Mark, nothing to report at the moment, but you can definitely just reupload the 100GB and keep it in B2 as well.

    • Chris S

      I would love this option too. I have a decade’s worth of photo data (my wife is a digital pack rat) up to 1TB and growing ever faster. She never uses the out-years but can’t delete any of them. Its unwieldy to have to maintain 1TB online when she uses only a macbook.

      Currently I am doing the following:
      1. Create an AWS EC2 with 2TB EBS drive.
      2. Create zip restores on Backblaze.
      3. Using Chrome with Developer tool on, choose Download and cancel download.
      4. On the Network tab, right-click the download file and choose “copy as cURL”
      5. On the EC2 instance, paste the link and pipe into a zipfile.
      6. Unzip the file.
      (This is where I am now.)
      7. Write a java/python/bash to iterate through the files and upload them into B2.
      8. Repeat 5x to get all the data.

      Seems like a waste of bandwidth if the files are already in the same / adjacent data centers. At least this avoids tying up my home internet connection for a couple months.

  • Günter Grodotzki

    Very promising product. Unfortunately as of today even as beta far too unusable/unreliable. In an automated environment only approx 10% of the uploads work – thats a very sad rate.

  • Michael Smith

    Very cool. No native Windows support, but I like that there’s a REST API for this.

    • Yup! Backblaze online backup has native Mac and Windows apps, B2 however does not.

      • Jon

        Is Backblaze developing OSX/Win/*nix native apps for B2? Something like DropBox?

        Maybe something that just seemlessly mounts a B2 bucket as a drive the was Transmission (FTP Client for OSX) can with S3 shares…

        Or… are you 100% relying on independent developers to provide client side apps?

        • We’re working on a few internal things, but mostly leaving it up to the developers to have at it and do with it what they want!

  • Kunal Moryani

    Love this! Exciting times at Backblaze.


    I am so up for B2! For ages I’ve been using a cobbled together S3/Glacier solution, which works but is pretty clunky. And for ages I’ve been meaning to take BackBlaze for a spin but needed to rig up a Windows VM somewhere.

    B2 CLI client looks super-easy to script. A neat API. Oh and files are accessible from a web UI. And a mobile app.

    Great job guys! All my stuff will be landing on your servers very soon!

    • Can’t wait! Have at it :D