Backblaze challenges dominance of cloud-storage vendors

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Backblaze, the cloud-backup vendor legendary for its quarterly hard-drive-failure reports, has decided to kick Amazon, Microsoft, and Google in the shins with a much cheaper and more customer-friendly storage offering.

Like other cloud backup services, Backblaze used a small app to backup and restore on a PC. In 2015, in response to repeated requests for direct access to its storage services, the company introduced an API and service under the name Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage and now claims more than 100,000 customers.

The company has released beta versions of S3-compatible APIs that allows customers to redirect data workflows from S3 to Backblaze’s B2 Cloud Storage. The company says through its services, customers will have infinitely scalable, durable offsite storage at a quarter of the price of S3, Azure, and Google Cloud Storage.

What this means is software vendors and developers alike can switch to Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage by simply pointing their data to B2. There’s no need to write new code or change in workflow. The Backblaze API supports S3 but since Microsoft and Google offer solutions for customers who want to use the S3 API, S3 is effectively the de facto standard API for cloud storage connectivity.

There are multiple benefits for this, says Backblaze CEO Gleb Budman. First, the big-three cloud providers all charge around $0.020/GB/mo while Backblaze B2 charges $0.005/GB/mo, or one quarter the price.

“Also, [the other providers] like to keep you hostage, so [they] charge egregious prices to get data out,” Budman says via email. The big three all charge around $0.09/GB to take your data out of their services while Backblaze B2 charges $0.01/GB.

And, he says, “you need a Ph.D.” to fully understand their pricing through all the tiers and functions. “There are entire companies built around just figuring out 'cost optimization for AWS',” he says, noting the ridiculous calculus that has to go into figuring out S3 storage. With Backblaze B2, there's a single tier and it's really simple, he says.

And Backblaze is getting some help. IBM Aspera, Veeam, Quantum, Igneous, LucidLink, and Storage Made Easy are among the suppliers who have said they will support B2 Cloud Storage as a destination for customers using their S3 workflows.

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