Backblaze lights up cloud storage with dirt-cheap prices

Backblaze slashes prices on cloud storage to a half-cent per gigabyte per month, but the lack of Amazon API compatibility might limit its appeal

Backblaze lights up cloud storage with dirt-cheap prices
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Backblaze, the backup service company that garnered attention for publishing its internal statistics about hard drive failure rates, is throwing open the doors on a cloud storage service with rock-bottom prices.

According to a blog post announcing the new service and its pricing page, Backblaze's B2 Cloud Storage costs for 0.005 cents per gigabyte per month. Uploads are free; downloads are 5 cents per gigabyte (plus a fee of 0.4 cents per 1,000 transactions). A free tier is also available, where up to 10GB can be stored at no cost, albeit with a download limit of 1GB or 2,500 downloads per day, whichever comes first.

Backblaze sees its main customers as developers, who can access B2 through a RESTful API, and users, who can go through a Web-based interface to upload data. The latter will probably see B2 as a Dropbox competitor, although B2 doesn't currently have desktop or mobile clients like Dropbox.

Developers and enterprise IT customers could use B2 as a cheap mirror for data either in an existing cloud storage service or on-premises data center. In that case, B2's value doesn't revolve around its price, but whether the bandwidth and latency to and from the B2 data center will be up to snuff.

Another possible issue: B2 is served by only one data center. According to a discussion thread on Hacker News (with replies by self-identified Backblaze employee brianwski), there are plans to add another data center due to the existing one running out of space. Also under discussion is the possibility of an S3-compatible API -- the current one doesn't have it -- but it would require the use of load-balancing technology that Backblaze originally eschewed in order to keep costs down.

[An earlier version of this article listed the price per gigabyte as 0.05 cents, not 0.005 cents.]

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