Last week, Backblaze announced B2, an ambitious cloud storage platform intended to compete with the likes of Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure. The company is known for its Backblaze consumer backup service, but is now looking to shake up the cloud infrastructure market by releasing the cheapest Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform to date.
Backblaze has spent the last couple of years scaling up their server cluster and preparing developer tools. As a result, B2’s feature set is impressive, but pretty standard for the IaaS industry:
- Developer API
- Access via web, command line (CLI), or iOS and Android apps
- Scales with demand, pay for as little or as much as needed
- Set spending limits and get notifications when limits are close
- 128-bit AES encryption on site / SSL encryption in transit
- Keep unlimited file history and restore unlimited file versions
- Full download, upload, and usage reports
- Customized server architecture promises 99.99999% annual data durability
Backblaze’s reputation was established on being innovate on costs. The company’s consumer backup service is still one of the cheapest around, at only $50 per year for unlimited data.
Their low cost is made possible by building and open-sourcing their own server rack design, the Backblaze Storage Pod. Since 2009, the company has upgraded the design four times, open-sourcing the pods each time, and can now stick 180 TB of data in a $8,713 pod. Each Pod is given its own IP address and network transfers happen over HTTPS to allow for quick scaling. To keep costs low, they also use open-source Debian and Apache software, and developed their own open-source Reed-Solomon Java library.
Backblaze B2 is an attempt to drive costs down on the cloud infrastructure market. The company claims that storage costs are still prohibitively expensive for small businesses and startups, claiming that the innovative photo startup, Everpix, would have survived if their Amazon S3 storage was cheaper. To compete, they’ve unveiled storage costs that are nearly 4 ½ times lower than most of their competition. At a price of $5 / month for 1 TB, it’s possibly even cheap enough for individuals and enthusiasts to consider.
The biggest hurdle for Blackblaze is their unproven uptime. Businesses will be hesitant to switch to a company with unproven clusters. But B2 seems perfectly curated for innovative startups that could disrupt the market. By offering low-cost cloud storage, Backblaze could usher in new innovative cloud technologies or even just cheaper Dropbox-like services.
(Per GB per Month)
|Amazon Web Services (S3)||$0.022||Free||$0.05|
B2 is in private beta, but you can sign up at this link, and get the first 10 GB for free.