Well, disaster struck.
Last week, the hard drive in my father's MacBook died. In the past, I'd setup a networked Time Machine drive to backup my parents' laptops, but for whatever reason it never worked reliably. OS X would often become unable to mount the drive — even when connected to an Apple Airport. Fortunately, I gave up on Time Machine a few months ago and installed Backblaze on everybody's Mac. Ponying up the $50/year per machine seemed like a great deal. Definitely worth the peace of mind it brings me knowing I don't have to waste time fighting with Time Machine or manually backing up their data whenever I visit.
This past week, with my father's hard drive verifiably dead, I'm happy to report that Backblaze performed flawlessly.
My father isn't a heavy computer user, but he still had 20GB of data stored in Backblaze's cloud. Once we verified that his data really was lost, I signed into Backblaze's website and requested a full zip file backup of all his files. Twenty minutes later they emailed to say a 20GB zip file (!!!) was ready to download. Over my 30mbit Comcast connection it only took about an hour to download, another ten minutes to unzip, and bam! All of his music, photos, documents, everything right back as it was just hours earlier.
It's so, so, so important to keep good backups of your data. In my father's case, he had fifteen years worth of genealogy research on his Mac. I can't even imagine that data being lost. And while I've done a few small restore tests with Backblaze, this was the first time I've truly needed it for a full recovery. And, like I said above, it worked just as advertised. Kudos to the Backblaze team on an outstanding product.