Steel To Tin: The First 10 Years of Backblaze

By | April 20th, 2017

Today Backblaze celebrates turning 10 years old. Tin is the traditional gift for a ten year wedding anniversary: a sign of strength and flexibility. Getting to this point took not only the steel to make the servers, but tin as well.

How things have changed:

2007 2017
Team Five Founders in a Palo Alto apartment 55 employees around the country
Storage Hard drives strung together 60-drive, tool-less Storage Pods
Drives 1 TB drives 8 TB and 10 TB drives
Redundancy RAID redundancy 20-Storage Pod Vault redundancy
Storage 45 TB of total stored customer data 300,000+ TB
Customers A few friends as customers Hundreds of thousands across 125 countries
Files Saved 1 customer’s data restored (mine) 20 billion+ files restored
Business Lines Consumer Backup Consumer Backup, Business Backup, and Cloud Storage
Financials $0 revenue Millions in revenue and profitable
Mission Make storing data astonishingly easy and low-cost Make storing data astonishingly easy and low-cost

From Our Humble Beginnings In 2007:

To Over 300 Petabytes in 2017:

Someone recently asked me, “Does Backblaze look now the way you imagined it would ten years ago?” The honest answer? I had never imagined what it would like in ten years; when trying to figure out how to even get to market, that timespan wasn’t even on my radar. When we were filming our first video, we were more concerned with finding our first customer than planning our first birthday.

Now, not only has it been a decade, but we’re signing 5-year data center contracts and talking about what the company will look like in ten years and beyond. We often say that we hope this will be the last job for our employees.

Thinking back, a few things I learned:

  • Staying in business is as much about commitment as cash.
  • The existential risks are hard to predict.
  • The hardest times are rarely due to tech or business; they’re personal.
  • The accepted wisdom is often wrong.
  • Less money often leads to better solutions.
  • Culture affects everything.

I’ll expand on all of these in future posts. Over the next few months, I’ll be more active in bringing back our entrepreneurship series of blog posts. Don’t worry, our Hard Drive Stats and all the other stuff aren’t going anywhere!

But today is about the community that makes Backblaze what it is: None of it would have been possible without all of the people who built Backblaze as their own company every day, our friends and boosters, partners, and (of course) our incredible customers. While I did not, and likely could not, imagine a decade ago where Backblaze would be today, I’m thrilled at where we have arrived. Thank you.

And tomorrow, onto the next decade.

Gleb Budman
Co-founder and CEO of Backblaze. Founded three prior companies. He has been a speaker at GigaOm Structure, Ignite: Lean Startup, FailCon, CloudCon; profiled by Inc. and Forbes; a mentor for Teens in Tech; and holds 5 patents on security.

Follow Gleb on: Twitter / LinkedIn / Google+
Gleb Budman

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Category:  Entrepreneurship
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  • Pekka

    Off topic – just general feedback: I’m giving backup advice to a colleague and came here to find out whether Backblaze can back up the entire system state (like Time Machine does) or just user files – and if it does, what the process of restoring a backed up Mac is. I failed to find either info on the site. :(

    • The blog wouldn’t really cover that – but Backblaze is not a bare-metal backup. We back up the user data on the machine. If you have specific questions about the service you can always ping support, they have live chat available! -> https://www.backblaze.com/help.html

  • I’ve heard of external drive enclosures, but not external server racks! :-) Are those servers in an outdoor plastic storage bin? Oy! You have (thankfully) come a long way since then! Congratulations.

    • Hah – yea, that’s exactly what it is. We needed to test how hot they’d get and what better way than stacking them in an outdoor cooler in California :P

    • Brian from Backblaze here -> The “corporate office” was my 1 bedroom apartment, and data center computers have SUPER loud fans. So to get the sound reduced, I put the “Tuff Shed” on the back deck, drilled a hole to give it 1 Gbit/sec ethernet, and moved up to four of the original pods out there (not with customer data, we would “burn them in” and test them in the office before taking them to the data center). It was very successful, returned the “office” (my living room) back down to sane levels of sound and gave us some more room.

      • Been there. Was just giving you grief. Amazing what we do when we’re bootstrapping our companies, isn’t it. Look back now and I’m sure you shudder at the thought, but ya’ gotta do what ya gotta’ do. :-)