Why I cancelled Backblaze

This is the feedback I sent to Backblaze shortly before I cancelled my account with them.

For the additional context – the restore failure I alluded to was basically that:

  1. Over the course of more than a week and repeated attempts, they were unable to restore 99.7% of my data.
  2. They sent me 685 spammy emails telling me the restore failed.  Six hundred and eighty five.
  3. Their tech support was at least fairly open, and admitted to the problem without fuss, but were unable to actually do anything to get the data back.  Which is, after all, the most important thing.

So, the departing ‘support’ ticket I filed with them (#167833):

Maybe this’ll help your future would-be customers.

The main reason is that when I tried to actually restore data a month or two ago, I was unable to. Epic fail on your part. (Support request #162743, FYI)

That alone is a deal-breaker. The lacklustre customer support and idiotic email spam bugs add icing on that horrible cake.

There are other reasons too, however:

  • There’s no secure way to restore. You require me to provide my private key password to your web site. So many ways that can go wrong. I want something more akin to Crashplan’s ability to restore through a local app [once it’s given the private key password]. I should never, *ever* have to transmit my private key password over the internet.
  • 30 day inactivity window. I recently travelled away from home for nearly 30 days, and realised that if I’d been gone a little longer, you would have thrown out all my backups. If I’m still paying you, you should still be retaining my backups. (and since *all* my drives are external, including my boot drive, this applies to *all* my data. Even if my boot drive weren’t external, the vast majority of my valuable data is on [permanently connected] external drives)
  • 30 day restore window. I’m somewhat on the fence with this one, but other backup services offer retention horizons much longer, or alternative schemes where you have up to N (typically 30) *versions*, regardless of how old those are. Both are preferable to a fixed time window. Since the vast majority of my data is write-once, or thereabouts, I don’t actually have multiple versions of most, but for those that do it’d be comforting to know that I could go back months or years to the prior version(s). I’d be willing to pay extra for this.
  • The Backblaze daemon takes an unduly long time to notice new files. Even if I manually tell it to hurry up (i.e. option-click ‘Restore options…’) it still sometimes doesn’t notice new files. I see good reason to not be too hyperactive with backups – it’s true I don’t need every minute’s version of some random file I’m working in – but most of my data is photos & videos, which are import-once-and-never-change (or maybe delete, later). I’d really like to just see Backblaze immediately start backing up newly imported photos & photos as soon as they hit the disk.

I’ve realised that I need all these things, and as it happens Crashplan offers them, so I’m switching.

To your advantage, uploads are much faster than many of the alternative services I tested (particularly Crashplan), and I otherwise like your native app and it’s relatively minimal system impact. So I’m a little sad to see that go. But simple, fast uploads are quite pointless if, when all is said and done, they’re essentially going to /dev/null.

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