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Author Topic: My (not so good) experience with backblaze !  (Read 13988 times)

jity2

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My (not so good) experience with backblaze !
« on: April 29, 2013, 05:56:19 AM »
Dear all,

An online backup company is supposed to back my data. I am customer since April 2011. I have recommended their service on this website (see :
http://www.donationc....msg283957#msg283957 ).


Here is my (not so good) experience :

1) March 2012 : Too bad ! I've chosen the wrong option and I just lost my uploaded data (500 Go).
I did not make this error the first time I have used it.

--------

Here is why I think the backblaze guidelines misleaded me : for computer‑hp[3] , I was in a hurry and read fast :
see the following part at the bottom of this link : https://secure.backb...om/user_overview.htm
"COMMON QUESTIONS : • My computer died and I have a new one, what should I do?"

I have thought : does my computer has failed ? Yes. So I have followed the text : this was my error (I didn't use "Transfer Backup State") !

IMHO you should make your explanations more clear i.e. : like this :

If your computer has crashed : you have 2 options :
#1 : you don't want to keep your previous uploaded data and install blackblaze software on another (new) computer, follow these guidelines :
"My computer died and I have a new one, what should I do?"

OR

#2 : You want to keep your previous uploaded data as one of your hard dives has failed or you are adding a new hard drive to your computer ? Follow the guidelines under "How do I transfer a license to a different computer?"

--------


I asked them to correct this and add a simple delay if one customer makes an error. But they didn't change their process or their guidelines ! (even if they now add the current date to the name of the computer when you add a new one - that was another of my suggestion...). I even wrote to their CEO and received... no answer !




2) April 2013 : Sorry there is a bug in our software : you are forced to delete your uploaded data !   What ? I have just lost (1,100 Go) ! Too bad for me : just start over from zero !
I have spent more than one year to upload my data (DSL line) ! ;(


----
bzfileids.dat too large ? :

Greetings,

Thanks for contacting us. I think I know what is going on, but you'll have to help fill in some details. Something has gone slightly haywire on your system that we are seeing in very few customers backups related to the bzfileids.dat file.

There is a very specific file on your disk that is part of Backblaze which has bloated up to be too large. It is called "bzfileids.dat" and is found here:

Mac: /Library/Backblaze/bzdata/bzbackup/bzfileids.dat
Windows Vista/7: C:\ProgramData\Backblaze\bzdata\bzbackup\bzfileids.dat
Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All users.windows\Application data\backblazebzdata\bzbackup\bzfileids.dat

This is a very simple file, it is a mapping from your filenames to a totally unique integer ID that is anonymous that we use to identify your files in the Backblaze datacenter. This means we never know any of your file names, or file contents.

For some reason, your computer wants to backup a few million files and your bzfileids has grown very large (yours is over 1 GB). When bztransmit (the process that runs once per hour) starts up, it reads this bzfileids.dat file into RAM. On a normal machine, this is about 20 MB, but on your machine something has gone haywire and bzfileids has grown far too large.

Now, there are several things that contribute to this file being large, so you can think about how this happened and let us know. We're trying to understand this situation better:

A) If you have ever renamed a Time Machine folder at the top of your hard drive, Backblaze will bloat up trying to back it up. It is absolutely not supported to "back up a back up" and Backblaze can only function properly backing up the originals.

B) Lots of files. If you knew of a folder with hundreds of thousands of small files that didn't change much you could back them up differently or exclude them from Backblaze backups.

C) Renaming top level folders with a lot of files. For example, if your top level folder name is "/my_music" and it contains 100,000 file names in it, then when you rename it "/my_great_music" Backblaze needs to add all of those filenames to that bzfileids.dat file which bloats it up. So the best thing you can do is keep your enormous folders the same over a long period.

D) Shorter Path Names. It would be best if your hundreds of thousands of files are on a disk called "d" instead of "disk_that_contains_files" and the top level folder is called "f" instead of "folder_for_lots_of_files". Etc. The shorter the paths, the smaller the bzfileids.dat file is.

It's possible to shrink the bzfileids.dat in case they've been temporarily bloated by one of the above situations, however it requires reuploading all data to the Backblaze servers. You can follow these steps to do that:
1. Visit https://secure.backb....com/user_signin.htm and sign in to your Backblaze account with your email address and password.
2. Click on the "Account" link in the upper left hand corner
3. Select your "old" computer from the list of computers.
4. Click the "Delete Computer" link next to it. This will delete the backed up data, the bloated bzfileids.dat and free up the paid license.
5. Click on "Overview"
6. Click the download link for your operating system in the bottom right corner.
7. Install Backblaze.

Here's the problem. If you cannot reduce the number of files or path names significantly, then you absolutely are going to encounter this issue again. We are working on a fix for it, but it is proving to be very difficult and currently our engineering team has no ETA on a fix. If you uninstall and reinstall without changing anything, then your backup might start working again, but you will reencounter this problem a little ways down the road.


----
Here is why I think I had this problem : yesterday I have added a new drive F:\ to be backup.
Alas it has removed all the folders I have added previously in the the exclusion tab (I was aware of this bad backblaze client behaviour, but I did not remember it!)  .
Futhermore I think clicked on ok too fast and forgot to exclude some folders on the new drive that contains millions of files.

Then just after I have tried to exclude them as I was hearing my drive (E:\ and F\ are on the same physical drive) running like crazy during a lot of minutes. This was too late to be stopped !
Then I rebooted my computer and got the backblaze's error message.

Usually I just mainly upload zip files of my 10+ years archives (big zipped files containing many htm and their related files : gif etc...) and keep an unzipped folder on my pc (on F:\) just to make keywords searches on it.
I just keep the current month unzipped in backblaze and a few big video files. Like that I have about 500,000 files to upload (about 1To size). This can be managed by backblaze fine. ;)


But now I am blocked : I can't change the amount of files the Backblaze client has counted !
Even if I am sure (with the same folders excluded) I have 'only' 500,000 files to upload in total (1.1 To), it keeps saying :
Selected : 3.2 Millions files (2 To)
Remaining : 2.7 Millions files (0.9 To)
Please see screenshots.

- If I remove the F:\ drive, it changes nothing. (*)

- If I had some folders in E:\ in the exclusion tab, it changes nothing. (I cant' remove C:\ !) (*)

- And this is the same thing if I remove fully the E:\ drive ! (*)


(*) Even if I hit ALT+restore [here the strange thing is that I am not hearing my E drive running (I am sure of this as my C:\ drive is a ssd)] or if I choose "only when I click backup" and it hit backup. Or if I let it on continuously !

I have tried to download a new backblaze client and install it. Alas I have the same problem !
----


Here is what I finally did [EDIT: In the end this did not help me but I had no other option!] :
I made a copy of bzfileids.dat.
I deleted the original one.
Then hit ALT+restore. This seemed to do something but it didn't work.
Then I installed backblaze client again. And it created a new bzfileids.dat !
Now I just have to wait x days and all my data will be again online (like if I had a new hard drive).
In 1 day it has found 400Go out of 1100Go. And 582,000 files out of 588,000. ;) (see screenshots).
And the bzfileids.data is only 60MB (not 1 Go anymore)


----
Greetings,

Unfortunately, manually editing the bzfileids.dat file is not a viable option to resolve the bzfileids issue. Manually editing this file will likely cause issues with your backup, possibly resulting in lost or corrupted backup data. While it will appear to work, all the pointers for the existing files in your backup to the corresponding file on your system have been severed, as well as any versioning history. The only current solution we have to the issue is the upload of a fresh backup. We are working on a software update to resolve this specific issue, but until that update is complete, this is the only means of ensuring a reliable, secure backup.

Because the bzfileids file has already been manually edited and attempted to synchronize with the Backblaze backup, I would be extremely suspect of the viability of the existing backup.

To uninstall and reinstall the Backblaze application and start a fresh backup, please follow these steps:

1. Reboot your computer to make sure all Backblaze files are unlocked.
2. Uninstall Backblaze.
• Mac -- Hold down option and click on the Backblaze menu bar icon and choose Uninstall.
• Windows -- use the Add/Remove Programs utility to remove Backblaze.
The uninstaller will warn you that your backed up data will be deleted, but you can disregard this warning. The deletion does not occur immediately, so as long as you reinstall Backblaze within a week, you can continue with this process.

3. Visit https://secure.backb....com/user_signin.htm and sign in to your Backblaze account with your email address and password.
4. Click the "Home" link at the top left hand corner of the browser.
5. Click the orange "Download Again" link center screen
6. Run the installer you downloaded.

The new installation will register as a 15 day trial under your new account. You can let the trial run it's course to allow the client to upload as much data as possible before removing the old backup and transferring the paid license. Once you are ready to remove the old backup and transfer the license to the new backup, you can do so by following these steps:
1. Visit https://secure.backb....com/user_signin.htm and sign in to your Backblaze account with your email address and password.
2. Click on the "Account" link in the upper left hand corner
3. Select your "old" computer from the list of computers.
4. Click the "Delete Computer" link next to it. This will delete the backed up data, and free up the paid license.
5. On the Overview page click the "Use License" button next to your new computer.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

----

So I had no other option than to start over from zero !  >:(
Any way to speed my new backup ? No !  :(
Even as it is backblaze's fault they should provide a solution like for instance : I send them a crypted hard drive (they give me a special software for that). They add it to their datacenter and they send me back my hard drive.


I must add that their support answered me within one day most of the time (* see next message).

Would I recommend backblaze ? Hard question ! I am still a customer (only one computer now. I had two before) as I have paid one year in advance. I don't know what I would do next.

I hope this helps (backblaze included) ! ;)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 12:48:16 AM by jity2 »

jity2

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Re: My (not so good) experience with backblaze !
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 01:12:13 AM »
Hi !

(*)
About a month ago one of their support member answered me twice. He labeled my ticket as "high priority" (see https://twitter.com/...857217/photo/1/large) then I took many time to write some detailed answers. Atfer 11 days without answer, he deleted my ticket.
I thought that I was alone. But I have found that I am not the only one see :
https://twitter.com/...s/329099254066982912
and
@Mozy to @Backblaze and now @Crashplan - a deteriorating state of online backup
http://networkedblogs.com/KuZSV

I wrote a new ticket explaining that I had no answer. Somebody else was assigned to it but I received no answer !

See ya

jity2

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Re: My (not so good) experience with backblaze !
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2015, 04:37:24 AM »
Hi,

To be fair I can add that Backblaze, a few months later after my problems, increased the size of their bzfileids.data among other technical things.
So more than 1.5 year later, I am still a customer probably because broadly the reasons given here http://www.donationc....msg283957#msg283957 are still valid.
I have now about 2 To of data saved in backblaze (about 700,000 files and 2 Go for bzfileids.data).
But by that time, beside keeping local backup on several places, I have added copies of my data into other cloud providers : Google Drive (1To limit - I hope they increase it soon ! ;) ) and spanning.com (*) (it saves my Gmail emails and google Drive daily with unlimited storage with amazon cloud. I currently have more than 2To saved there).
By the way I also use Syncdocs http://www.syncdocs.com/ for (only) uploading data into Google Drive as it is far more reliable than the Google Drive uploader !

So I now don't use anymore Raid mirror on my pc as I have several physical copies + several online copies of my data.
I hope this helps ;)
See ya

(*) (Note: you & I get a $5 discount if you follow this link : https://spanningbackup.com/s5m5/A7E6XK ). They save once (if you have lot of data) or twice a day your Gmail inbox,draft,trash...+ Google Drive (but not google plus photos or script or forms because they can't be exported from google with google API) so you can restore (or export on your computer) your old emails and Google Drive files easily. Once saved, they can't delete anything and keeps all data incrementally. You will probably have to wait a few days so that they do a first full backup of your data.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 07:35:23 AM by jity2 »

mouser

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Re: My (not so good) experience with backblaze !
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 08:46:46 AM »
Just wanted to say that I appreciate the updates  :up:

40hz

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Re: My (not so good) experience with backblaze !
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2015, 12:54:21 PM »
I think it's also illustrative to note that whenever you push the boundary conditions on any system, some strange and unforeseen problems are sure to surface. So it's wise to take any 'absolute' you hear ("unlimited capacity", "near real-time performance", "unbreakable security", etc.) more as a statement of good intentions than anything else.

@jity2 - And also my thanks for the updates. :Thmbsup:

jity2

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Re: My (not so good) experience with backblaze !
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2015, 01:07:29 PM »
My pleasure. ;)

jity2

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Re: My (not so good) experience with backblaze !
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2016, 04:51:52 AM »
2016 edition : How Backblaze Personal Backup lost me 2TB on purpose !

tl;dr : Backblaze uses file checksum to their advantage, so their customers can loose easily most of their previously uploaded data when changing hard drive (or moving a big folder inside a new partition) !


Dear all,

Instead of using the 30 days data retention policy to the customer advantage (by transferring automatically ALL the files already uploaded previously), Backblaze software is designed to lose most of its customer updated data when the customer remove an old drive and add a new bigger one (with the same data). Logic would be that they first find all the already uploaded files whatever their size and then starts uploading the missing ones ! After all, their software does a file checksum for something. But, in fact, it ranks the files by size and then starts to upload the smallest files first. So if a customer has uploaded a lot of big files before (max 2GB zip files in my case), they are lost IF all the smaller files are not uploaded during the 30 days lapse.(*)

For years, their client has also some on purpose bugs :

    1) It does not tell you that when you add a new drive in your computer you have to manually add it in their client settings.
    2) And when you do so, it again silently removes all the exclusion list that you ave added before ! And you have no choice but to again add manually all the folders you need to exclude !
    3) Caution: their new client version (v 4.20) added a "stupid feature : " exclusions now work across all attached drives. " Too bad for those that have the same folder name on different drives. Now you can't exclude only one in all drives or in none ! I just can't believe you did that ! ;("

It is why :

    - Their support team always answer: "Backblaze client needs time to find already uploaded data" ! They acknowledge this but it is hidden in their help file : "Backblaze prioritizes smaller files, and uploads larger files later." https://help.backbla...-handle-large-files-

    - They sell it as unlimited but recommend in initial backup in 30 days : "(...)3. Ideally, Backblaze should be able to complete your initial backup in 30 days. If your initial backup is estimated to take longer due to a lot of data or slow internet connection, then Backblaze is not the best solution for you.(...)" https://help.backbla...64608-Best-Practices

I like them a lot (see their blog) and I understand that they need to stay profitable (from memory 250GB threshold in 2012? 1TB threshold in 2016) but their customers must know that they should upload their files also elsewhere (Amazon Drive, ..etc..) where, contrarily to Backblaze Personal Backup, they can move the uploaded files very easily thanks to APIs (with for instance cloudhq.net or a cheap VPS and rclone).

(*) in my case: Win 8.1 64bits running 24/24 7/7 - 16GB RAM - DSL (upload max speed 10GB/day). Customer since 2011. About 3TB uploaded in July 2016. About 2TB lost as of today and only 1TB recognized (30 days period ended). ;( I have tried to add many folder exclusions (note: you can't just remove C:\ !) so backblaze could find easily my previously big files. Alas for me they were in 2 big folders previously. And I have added them into one big folder in my new drive. And could not remember or check easily within the 30 day retention period. Note2: I also lost about 2 weeks in order to realize that the new drive was not added automatically by Backblaze client) which exact many parts were previously uploaded. ;( Hopefully for me I use other storage services (Amazon Drive...). See here : http://www.donationc...ndex.php?topic=41873