NIH #26 – Unlimited online backup

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A particular example of limitations of an unlimited service: Backblaze is a great service, but the way it markets itself as “unlimited online backup” is a fair bit of exaggeration.

From Backblaze site:

Unlimited Online Backup

Backblaze will automatically back up all your files including documents, photos, music and movies. Unlimited files. Unlimited file size. Unlimited speed.

I use Backblaze myself and generally recommend it to everyone. But I also recommend understanding all the limitations of the “unlimited online backup”.

Implicit and explicit limits:

  • Backblaze backs up computer storage and connected external hard drives. Although you can invoke some trickery with external drives, for practical purposes the backup is limited by how much storage you can connect to your computer. In a sense this is an ideal situation for a provider of unlimited service: the natural limit exists, but it is not imposed by the vendor itself.
  • Data from external drives is only kept for 30 days since Backblaze saw the drive for the last time.
  • Deleted files and previous versions are kept for only 30 days. In the event of data or drive corruption you only have 30 days to recover your files , if you somehow manage to detect the problem.

With all these limitations I can hardly call it both unlimited and backup. But as I discussed in the previous episode, we simply cannot engineer things, which are truly unlimited.