The Real BackBlaze Backup Speed

by Harijan

As I prepare for my move out to California, I decided to back up all my data online lest my Drobo and other hard drives get lost during the transition. Last time I had a data disaster, I lost all my pictures without a backup. I am not going to chance it again.

After much consideration, I decided to go with BackBlaze. Though I like the service they provide – unlimited cloud storage at $5 per month, I realize the speed which they promise the users is always on the optimistic side of the spectrum.

Initially, I thought the backups were slow because I was using the laptop or that my internet connection at home was too slow. Having only two weeks of time left to back up ~330 GB of data, I decided to park my laptop and external drive at the university for the past weekend and see how it fared without user interruptions and at Ethernet speed.

I’ve charted the hour-by-hour backup for the past 80 hours into google docs and charted out the backup process over this time. The blue is the overall cumulative data stored in Gigabytes. The red is the data backed up in 10 megabytes per hour (100 = 1 GB).

On Thursday midnight, the back up started at 21.1 GB. The last reading is on 8am this morning at 72.9 GB. That is a 51.8 GB over 80 hours, or 0.65 GB/hour. However, the first 24 hours (all of Friday) seemed very eratic in transfer rates, with no files transferred at certain hours in the afternoon hours. Calculating just all of Saturday and Sunday, the transfer rate improve to a 0.87 GB/hr [(30.1 – 71.7)/48].

Since I have approximately 260 GB to back up, it would take me 13 days to back up at 0.87 GB of data. However, that’s probably the most optimistic estimate since the speeds have crawled to a slow and conspiculously consistent 0.1 GB/hr since 3AM this morning.

In addition to this, I noticed that BackBlaze was taking up 2.38 GB of data on my disk for its own purposes. One particular file, bzfileids.dat is at a porky 973.9 MB.

At any rate, I don’t think my backup would be complete before I have to leave North Carolina, but at least all of critical files are back up now. I will probably keep BackBlaze services for the next 3 months or so, but I would probably have to have additional backup solutions once I get settled.

Update: the bzfileids.dat is causing my computer to stop. I was instructed to uninstall the client and reinstall, but it seems like that may erase the data I worked so I hard to store in the first place. I’m not happy about the solution, granted I only paid $5 for the service so far.

My current solution: I made backblaze to back up only when I click back up now button. So at least my 80 GB of irreplaceable data is safe. My hope is that backblaze is able to update their software without requiring a restart of their software.

Conclusion: As of  5/3/2009, BackBlaze is a highly unreliable cloud back up solution. You can lose your data easily by reinstallting the software. The software itself will slow down your computer to unresponsive states. I cannot recommend it for the time being.

Update: 5/4/2009. Received email from BackBlaze. Told it would be best to “bite the bullet” and restart the backup process without really much guarantee as to how this is going to prevent future need to bite the subsequent bullets. Would rather never have to bite a bullet or anything else unpalatable as far as my data is concerned.

*sigh* google storage please come to my rescue.