Ma.gnolia Wilts with No Backup

Magnolia was a bookmark storing and sharing service (similar to that has shut down due to data loss. The company started several years ago and built a small, but adoring user community that liked Ma.gnolia’s easy-to-use API and caching of linked pages. The service was the work of Larry Halff who nearly single-handedly built the service.

Alas, as for many companies without a good backup, data loss caused a mortal wound: Ma.gnolia completely shut down on February 17th, 2009.

Halff explained that when he started the company several years ago, no good cloud-based backup services existed, thus requiring him to develop his own backup. The backup was doing a file sync over Firewire to another computer. Unfortunately, there was no integrity checking, no versioning, and the system was never tested to see if the backups worked. When it came time to restore, it turns out they did not.

People often assume simply setting up a copy or sync process is sufficient for backup, only to discover the issues with this when a restore is needed. At Backblaze, every file is compressed, encrypted, de-duplicated, and integrity-checked to ensure the backed up file exactly matches the original.

Halff intends to develop a new service and says when starting the new company, “My first priority is better backups.”

We wish Larry Halff the best with his new service and hope others benefit from his pain.


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.