Today’s Question: I know you use and recommend Backblaze. The drive that I wish to back is LARGE (8TB). And that is not my only drive. According to their FAQ page, backing up something this size will take MONTHS — perhaps 4-6 months. That is pretty daunting. Is there any alternative? Can you send them a drive, or large portions of the drive rather than uploading via the internet?
Tim’s Quick Answer: The short answer here is “no”, by virtue of the Personal Backup service from Backblaze (https://timgrey.me/onlinebackup) not offering an option other than to back up your data via an internet connection. However, Backblaze does offer their B2 Cloud Storage service at a higher price, and with the option to send your initial data via hard drive.
More Detail: One of the key features of an online backup is that it employs an internet connection to transfer your data to servers so that you have a backup copy of your data in a remote location, wherever those servers may happen to be.
Of course, the fact that this type of backup is an “online” backup means that transferring your data requires an internet connection, and that can require a considerable amount of time depending on both your own internet connection speed and the speed at which the online backup will actually receive the data.
My photos currently consume about 8 terabytes of data, for example. Using the connection speed test from Backblaze (https://www.backblaze.com/speedtest#af9pdk) I found that my data could upload at around 6 Mbps (megabits per second). That would require about four months of upload time to back up all of my photos.
That said, once you’ve completed the initial online backup the later backup updates happen quickly. So, if you backup your photos locally in the meantime, it isn’t a terrible idea to let Backblaze work in the background for an extended period of time until the full online backup is completed.
I should add that Backblaze does offer a service that allows you to have a hard drive sent to you that you transfer data to, then ship the drive back so the files are added to your online storage. But this is only part of their “B2 Cloud Storage” backup option. They require a $3,000 deposit for the hard drive and a $75 shipping fee. With this B2 plan you also pay a price per gigabyte per month rather than a lower flat fee.
For the personal backup solution, the only option is to use an Internet connection, which obviously can be slow. However, I think this is still a good option, even though for many photographers just getting started with Backblaze it will be quite some time before their initial backup is actually completed.