Backing Up All Data Is Too Hard: Backblaze Switches to Backing Up Twitter


It’s no secret that providing online backup for all of the data on peoples’ computers takes a lot of hard drives. To be specific, four tons of drives show up every week to our data center to back up our customers’ school papers, birthday videos, and baby photos… So many baby photos.

After a week of long brainstorming sessions and a recycle bin full of Red Bull cans, we still hadn’t had the amazing light bulb moment.

Then I read a tweet from Wayne Gretzky:

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is,
a great player plays where the puck is going to be”

That was it! The big realization: A quote like that is too good to risk being lost!

Backblaze will no longer back up a customer’s computer; instead we will back up their Twitter account! The idea immediately clicked with the whole team. Brian Wilson, CTO, said “I don’t use Twitter, but if I did, I would totally be bummed if my Tweets were no longer available for posterity.”

And with a day of engineering work, we introduce our new path: TwitBlaze

Tim Nufire, VP of Engineering, had to develop a new, patented, artificial intelligence-based compression algorithm to save on storage space, enabling Tweets to be compressed by 64%:

Original: “What is going on in my building? It sounds like a crazy dentist downstairs?”
Compressed: “Crzy dentst dwnstrs—wtf?”

Instead of the last five years of all tweets fitting into one-third of a Backblaze Storage Pod, we can now fit all tweets onto a USB stick.

In addition, we had to throttle our large customers who Tweet more than 100 times a month—only their consonants will be backed up. This allows us to keep our costs down for all users by discouraging the messaging hogs.

We are proud to offer five different plans to meet your needs and increase confusion:

      1. 1.


      1. for $5/month: backs up to 200 Tweets
      1. 2.


      1. for $7/month: backs up to 400 Tweets, vowels are un-throttled
      1. 3.


      1. for $12/month: backs up 900 Tweets, and your followers’ tweets
      1. 4.


      1. for $49/month: backs up 20,000 Tweets, your followers, and Ashton Kutcher’s tweets
      1. 5.


    1. for $99/month: backs up 100,000 Tweets including friends, followers, and celebrities. Restores are free via FedEx to you on a 3.5 inch floppy disk.

We are looking forward to providing this new service!
(Well, that, and not breaking our backs carrying all those tons of hard drives.)


About Gleb Budman

Gleb Budman is a co-founder and has served as our chief executive officer since 2007, guiding the business from its inception in a Palo Alto apartment to a company serving customers in more than 175 countries with over an exabyte of data under management. Gleb has served as a member of our board of directors since 2009 and as chairperson since January 2021. Prior to Backblaze, Gleb was the senior director of product management at SonicWall and the vice president of products at MailFrontier, which was acquired by SonicWall. Before that, he served in a senior position at Kendara, which was acquired by Excite@Home, and previously founded and successfully exited two other startup companies.