How does the Backblaze Fireball Program work?


What is the Backblaze Fireball Program?

Backblaze Fireball is Backblaze’s way of enabling customers to move terabytes of data to Backblaze B2 storage directly rather than tying up internet connectivity for weeks or months. Backblaze supplies a multi-drive NAS with 96 TB of storage and 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. Backblaze ships the Fireball along with the drives, and the drives are easily installed on-site. After connecting the device to the network, uploading data to the Fireball and verifying the solution, the drives are removed from the Fireball and repacked. The Fireball and drives are returned to Backblaze. Backblaze reassembles the Fireball, and uploads the data directly to B2 storage.

How much does this service cost?

The Fireball requires a security deposit of $3,000 and a shipping fee of $75 (domestic only, international customers please contact Backblaze Support for further details). All Fireballs are shipped from the U.S., even if your account is based out of a non-U.S. data center. The rental fee is $550 every 30 days.

When is the deposit returned?

The deposit is returned when the Fireball is returned and checked for damage.

How is the data protected in transit?

Data is transparently encrypted on the device with a Backblaze-supplied key. When the Fireball is shut down, the key is erased from the device and the data is inaccessible until it arrives back at Backblaze to be uploaded to B2.

How is the device protected in transit?

Backblaze packs the NAS and drives separately in foam cutouts within a heavy-duty plastic protective case, to insulate both the NAS and drives against physical impact and electrostatic damage. An outer cardboard carton is also used to protect the product.

What hardware does the program use?

The Fireball is a Synology NAS Network Attached Storage device with a 10 Gigabit Ethernet add-in card. Backblaze supplies the drives for this standalone NAS device. The device connects to the network infrastructure via Ethernet, and a program downloaded from Synology (Synology Assistant) is used to locate the NAS on the network for data upload.

How is the hardware connected to my system?

The network storage device attaches via 1 Gigabit Ethernet, or 10 Gigabit Ethernet connection via the Add-In Card. The 10 Gigabit Ethernet connection uses RJ-45 connectors (standard Ethernet, not optical transceivers or SFP connectors) and will auto-negotiate as needed for slower network speeds such as 5 Gb/s, 2.5 Gb/s, 1 Gb/s and 100 Mb/s. Wifi is not recommended for moving terabytes of data quickly.

How does data get onto the hardware?

Synology supports receipt of data from many different filesystems, so data can be moved easily to the NAS.

How is the data checked to ensure that data will upload to Backblaze storage?

Files are uploading using Backblaze b2cli. Verification is completed comparing the destination bucket's content with the content on the Fireball.

How quickly will the data be online?

Backblaze uploads the data as soon as possible, usually starting within 2 business days of receiving the Fireball back from the customer site. Depending on the amount and composition of data, it may take several days or weeks to be completely loaded into B2.

What notifications, if any, about data are part of this program (Fireball sent out? Fireball received? Data uploaded?)

Backblaze sends email notices at the following points:

  • Backblaze is prepping the Fireball to send
  • Backblaze has shipped the Fireball
  • Backblaze has received the Fireball back
  • The data upload from the Fireball is complete and ready in Backblaze B2

Are there instructions?

The Fireball package comes with customer instructions, as well as having instructions located online.

When is the deposit and shipping charged?

The deposit and shipping is charged immediately.

Does the rental period start when the fireball ships, or when it is received by the customer?

The rental period starts when our shipping company reports the Fireball has been delivered. The rental period stops when the Fireball is received by Backblaze. The $550 rental is charged at the start of every 30 day period, and is not prorated.

How do I return a Fireball back to Backblaze?

To return a Fireball back to Backblaze to be uploaded to B2, please make sure you've completed all steps in the provided guide, repack the NAS device, the hard drives, and any cables back in to the padded foam box, and repack the padded foam box in to the cardboard shipping box, securing it with tape. Please ship the package to:

Backblaze Fireball Return
500 Ben Franklin Ct.
San Mateo, CA 94401

The approximate shipping weight is 44 lbs, and we highly recommend an insured and tracked shipping method to ensure safe delivery. Return shipping costs are the responsibility of the customer. 

How long will it take to transfer data to the Fireball?

That depends on many environment-specific variables, among which are the size of files (moving many small files can take longer than the same amount of data in many large files), network speeds, write speed of the Fireball, and how fast the data source can feed data onto the network. 4 Terabytes of data could take about 10 hours to move across a 1 Gigabit Ethernet connection, or as little as an hour for a 10 Gigabit Ethernet connection.

Many variables can conspire to slow this down (a non-exhaustive list includes: small average size of files, how loaded the Ethernet network is, how fast the data can be read from on-site storage, and how fast the data can be written onto the Fireball), so that estimate is a best-case scenario. Ultimately, moving a tremendous amount of data will take time measured in days.