@Mozy to @Backblaze and now @Crashplan - a deteriorating state of online backup

As a photographer and a computer user in general, you need a way to backup your data somewhere far away in the cloud. I've used various services and the results have been poor at best.

Here is a key thing - if you have a lot of data - anything above say 500 GB that you want to backup then no tiered plan will work for you. You want an unlimited plan for a fixed price a month. Otherwise the costs will go up to thousands of dollars a year, which will not make sense in most cases. For a photographer like me, who shoots in RAW, it is not uncommon to have a backup close to 2-3 TB. The problem is that while 'all-you-can-eat' type of plan is the only one that would work for me - no 'all-you-can-eat' backup provider would actually want me for a customer. I don't say that cynically. I say that almost with empathy. If you are selling unlimited backup for $5 a month - you don't want people who can backup an almost 'unlimited' amount (which 2TB comes close to) of data. This is similar to how an 'all-you-can' buffet - doesn't want people who can eat a lot! The idea is to make the offer attractive and then use ways to discourage the ones with really big appetite (maybe limitation on the number of 'trips' you can make or number of plates you can use.)

The conclusion is that I've given up on Mozy and Backblaze and now I am using Crashplan. Not sure for how long though. Because I don't seem like a customer that any cloud backup provider wants to have.

Here is a summary of my experience with the 3 of the leading cloud backup providers.


So, I started with Mozy unlimited plan for $5 a month a few years ago and it seemed to work fine until they got bought by EMC and they pulled a bait-and-switch and abandoned their unlimited plan and introduced a tiered plan which bumped the cost to several thousand dollars a month for the 1+TB I was backing up with them. Mozy software was always clunky and unreliable. It relied on the old method of you picking the volumes or folders you want to backup (rather than just backing up what it could and asking you to exclude what you didn't want to) but it more or less did the job.


With Backblaze I seemed to have a perfect solution. They have a super elegant technical storage solution which they wax poetic on their website, they have a slick no-nonsense, non-intrusive client that continuously runs in the background. The software embraces a very Mac sensibility and provides a limited set of features. It is very fast. The only big issue is with the restore feature. That is from a website that is slow and clunky but it does the job. For $5 a month, I thought I was done with my offsite backup needs. I told anyone I could find about how great backblaze was.

Well, that love affair ended a few weeks ago when on a routine check on their restore website - which I do to confirm that the stuff is actually being backed up - I realized that Backblaze had mostly stopped backing anything up a few weeks ago. I was appalled and scared. I reached out to their help desk that gave me a program that I could use to select a file that wasn't getting backed up and then it would give me a report that I could send to them. However, their program didn't do anything. I send their support guy several emails and followed up on their website many times but nothing. They just left me high and dry. I still have an account with them but they have stopped responding to my emails or to my help desk tickets on their website.

I think they simply discouraged me from being a customer. Though, I'd like them to have been more professional or direct about it, I get why they don't want me. And for the same reason, I don't want them and anyone currently using them should drop them as well.


Crashplan seems like a directly opposite of Backblaze in software design sensibility. While Backblaze was all 'behind the scenes', Crashplan is all in front, in your face. The client software is clunky, written in Java, feature-packed with a distinct Windows feel to it and feels awkward on the Mac. However, their verbose style has an advantage. They, unlike Backblaze, are telling you continuously how much you've backed up. You even get a weekly summary email, which is a great way to know whether your backup is working well, something could've really used when I was on backblaze.


You need to use online backup even if the services aren't exactly working out. Using two currently seems like the best idea. And two will cost you about $12 a month, which doesn't seem all that expensive. All the three above had great promises and also delivered but at least the first two didn't work out for me. Jury is out on Crashplan. I am going to reserve judgment on them until I've used for a bit longer.