Backblaze celebrates tenth anniversary of storage pod with new Tiger Bridge integration

The new Backblaze integration with Tiger Bridge is designed to solve a pain point for businesses and MSPs who want to tier their data in Veeam to the cloud at low cost.

Today, online backup provider Backblaze is making a pair at announcements at SpiceWorld in Austin. One is a celebration of the ten years of the launch of their Backblaze Storage Pod in September 2009, which when open sourced, led to the explosion of Backblaze’s business. The other is a new integration with Tiger Bridge that will make things easier for Veeam customers who want to tier inexpensively to the cloud.

Backblaze, based in San Mateo CA,  is 13 years old and has 130 employees.

“We have five founders, all of whom are still in their operating roles,” said Ahin Thomas, Backblaze’s vice president of marketing. “The company came together on the initial premise that consumers would pay $5 a month to backup their data off their computer to backup. We found the bump in the road for this model to be that you couldn’t build a sustainable business model on AWS S3. The founders determined that we needed to build our own storage server so we could afford this $5 price point.”

Accordingly, Backblaze designed a 4U storage server, with 45 hard drives delivering 67 terabytes of storage. This was the Backblaze Storage Pod, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this month.

“We open sourced it, and that led to great adoption and us getting a lot of help in improving it,” Thomas said. “We are now on the 6.0 version, and are working on releasing 7.0 for next year.” Backblaze never sold the Storage Pod itself to others, although another company, 45 Drives, has done that.

“For us, Backblaze Storage Pod fuels the lowest cost of storage on the market,  with 50 per cent gross margin,” Thomas indicated. “The graveyard of storage companies is to build scale and make money off that. Our consumer business fueled us to exabyte scale.”

It also led to requests for a commercial version of the offering.

“We were being asked for the underlying API for servers because of demand for an object storage cloud, so three years ago we introduced B2,” Thomas said.

B2 is Backblaze’s version of AWS S3, but with what the company sees as some distinct advantages.

“We make a three-pronged pitch – our APIs are simpler, our pricing schedule is simpler, and we are half a penny per gig,” Thomas stated. “With them, you need a calculator and the cost is 4x. B2 is a flat fee, with one cent a gig for egress. We want customers to be able to both store and use their data.”

Backblaze has channel partners, although their acquisition has been more opportunistic than by design.

“Speaking directly to the channel is relatively recent for us,” Thomas said. “We have some channel partners, both MSPs and VARs, in our consumer backup business. $5 a month for them is cheap, and we offer a 10 per cent commission to registered resellers for the lifetime of the customer. We also have Groups functionality that lets resellers create multiple groups and act on behalf of the individuals. With B2, we do not have a channel program – yet. But we are a quarter of the price of S3. Partners can both mark up our margin, and cut the customer bill, and everybody is happy.”

Backblaze’s new integration with Tiger Technology’s Tiger Bridge software is designed to solve a common backup problem faced by Veeam users who want to tier to the cloud, in order to extend the length of backup data that is retained. The integration of B2 with TigerBridge lets VMs be backed up in the cloud and restored for a third of the price of using S3.

“The most exciting part is that it does not interrupt the customers’ workflow,” Thomas said. “This appears as a destination inside the Veeam VBR console, in a single pane of glass. It lets customers achieve cloud tiering without changing the workflow. That’s exactly what customers told us they want.”

Thomas indicated that Backblaze didn’t really have a good solution for customers backing up to disk before.

“We do have a partner, Starwind, whose VTL works well for customers who backed up to tape. Most customers now back up to disk, and now we have a great solution for disk.”

Thomas said that SpiceWorld was a great place to launch the new integration.

“We are very active in the SpiceWorks community, which leans heavily to smaller companies and smaller MSPs,” he indicated. “Those folks tend to be price-sensitive, and they love our solutions.”

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