Backblaze Online Backup

(Posted May 9, 2008 by Gleb Budman)

What is Backblaze and what does it have to do with budmang.com?

Budmang.com is my personal site that was setup in 2004 primarily as a place to put up photos…though I update it very infrequently. Backblaze is an online backup company I co-founded to protect people’s computer files.  In about two minutes, without any technical skills, you can be automatically backing up all of your digital photos, music, Microsoft Office documents, etc. We have a free trial and, if you like it, you can keep backing up everything for just $5 per month. If your computer dies, you can download your files or we’ll send you a DVD or USB hard drive. Simple. You can start here or read more about it below. 

Why did you start Backblaze?

I love figuring out solutions to problems and building companies around those solutions. Backblaze is the sixth startup in which I have been involved - and the fourth of which I am a founder. In 1999 I joined a four person startup (Kendara) that grew to 50 people and was acquired by Excite@Home...and through it I met an incredible team of people. Many of us continued to work together for nearly a decade, including through the next startup, MailFrontier, which was focused on eradicating spam. When MailFrontier was acquired by SonicWALL, I led the Email Security division for a year and a half, and then, after nearly six years fighting spam, I decided it was time to look at new challenges.

But why an online backup company?

I started talking with Brian Wilson, who was a co-founder of MailFrontier and with whom I had worked since 1999. He had been called by a panicked friend who had lost her photos because her computer died and she hadn’t backed up. 

A couple days later, not knowing about this conversation, my girlfriend mentioned that she was worried about something happening to her laptop and that she would lose all her law school papers. Periodically, she would backup her most important docs to an external USB thumb drive, but kept it in her laptop case, ready to be lost or stolen together. She said, “I wish something would just take care of this automatically, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it, maybe even online so it wouldn’t get stolen if my laptop did.”

I was planning a month-long trip and though I was saving files to an external USB drive, I worried what would happen if I lost my laptop on my trip – that would be a month of lost data and no way to access any of my backed up files. I talked with some friends of mine and they had just lost four months of baby photos because they had forgotten to backup for a while.

But don’t most people backup?

Nope. Turns out they don’t. The more I talked with people, the more I realized no one was backing up, at least not consistently. And they were losing data, regularly. A laptop stolen on a trip; a virus corrupting the file system; a coffee spilled at the internet café; a “save” instead of “save as”. Nearly everyone I talked with had a story about losing irreplaceable photos, years worth of carefully collected music, important work files, various tax documents, and all the various other stuff on their computer.

Why did you choose to provide online backup? Aren’t there other ways?

Sure there other ways. You can backup up by burning DVDs, but that requires constantly figuring out what to backup and remembering to do it. Many people back up to external USB drives, which works well if they do it and if the drive doesn’t get stolen with the computer. Uploading pictures to an online photo site and sending yourself files in email are partial backup options as well, but then only some of the items you want are actually backed up and both backup and recovery are manual effort.

Online backup has lots of advantages. It enables the backup to be completely automatic ; offsite so that is protected from fire/theft/etc.;  can backup whether you’re at home, at work, or on a trip; and allows you to get your files back no matter where you are.

Are you the first company to do online backup?

No…online backup companies have existed since at least 1999. But only recently is online backup really viable. Computers have lots of data people care about, broadband is ubiquitous, and storage is inexpensive. There are other companies that provide online backup today (Carbonite and Mozy are two examples.) But Backblaze is incredibly easy, takes literally two minutes, doesn’t ask you to figure out anything, backs up everything, and costs just $5.

So, I would love for you try Backblaze online backup free but please backup your computer somehow! You won’t regret it. 

If you want to contact me at Backblaze, you can email me at: