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Author Topic: Help me choose an online backup service  (Read 25332 times)
mouser
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« on: February 15, 2012, 04:45:12 PM »

Ok after a recent hard drive crash scare, I'm ready to finally bite the bullet and pay for an online backup service.

I do feel quite good about my local backup policies, but I am very poorly protected if there was ever a fire or home robbery, and I feel like it's time for me to address that.

The choices for online backup services are a bit overwhelming -- so let me try to be a bit specific about what I'm looking for.

Price:  It's going to have to be under $100 a year.
Capacity: I'd probably only use this for my coding and document backup, not backing up entire pc images (though that would be nice).  So a 100-500 gb maybe.

Use: My plan is to use this as the final emergency safety in case of fire or theft.  That is, it is very unlikely i will ever have to restore from these backups.  I have my own local backup process that backs up my files regularly to separate hard drives, and versioned backups of my documents -- so i will only need to get data from my online backup if there is a truly catastrophic disaster. In an ideal world i'd also be able to upload a couple of large 100gb full drive backup image files in addition to my documents, but if i can't do that i can live with that.

What I care about:

I like to have complete control over what is being backed up, when, where, etc.  I don't want some opaque thing meant for people who don't want to know details.  I want to be able to see exactly what it is doing and when, and have control over it.  I want to be able to see what's been backed up, how much space i have, etc.  I want flexibility in choosing which folders and file EXTENSIONS are backed up or ignored, and what the schedule is. BUT at the same time, I do not want to have to select every individual file that i want backed up one at a time.

What I don't need:

I don't really need mobile access or synchronization features -- i know that's something that many services are offering lately.  I won't be using this to access files or move them around.  I don't mind having these features -- i just don't need them.

What I've looked at:

I've only begun to look around at services.  Carbonite seems attractive to me.  I don't really need the "unlimited" space, but it wouldn't hurt.  From what i read though, it doesn't seem like it's super nice in terms of allowing you to control stuff, like which file types get backed up -- or to see and control things at a finegrained level of detail.

Acronis Online Backup actually looks surprisingly good to me.  From the screencasts I am impressed with the level of control and transparency.  I've had pretty good experience with Acronis, so that's another plus -- though i'm a bit skeptical of their tendencies to bloatware.  Its $50 a year for 250gb, which is in my pricerange.  It does look like going beyond 250gb is not an option, which is not great.

There are a ton more of these services (mozy, sugarsync, etc.) that i haven't looked into yet.

I have no idea how the cpu/resource use of these things compare.



So.. anyone gone through the process of evaluating these services have any recommendations?
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Curt
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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 05:05:23 PM »

I am using BeeCloud Backup (who are using Livedrive). I started with a free version for 500GB, and upgraded to a €2 per month version for unlimited backup size. Downsides: The Livedrive application / connection gives slow upload speed, 380kbps, and too much CPU usage when scanning. Everything else is fine. They are now keeping 1.6TB for me at €24 per year.

Edited: Funny; they just updated the desktop application right now! Maybe they've improved it further? It is too early for me to tell.

http://www.beecloud.eu/packagesprices.html

Edited:
Hmm... I now realize that BeeCloud Backup is situated in EU. Do they have an American based server as well? I don't know. Livedrive is fine / the same, but more expensive: http://www.livedrive.com/

Quote from: beecloud.eu
Do you have a website or a blog?

We will offer you a free unlimited backup account (yes, you read this right, not 512GB but UNLIMITED), if you write about us on your blog or website !

Read how: http://www.beecloud.eu/webmasters.html

« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 05:25:30 PM by Curt » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 06:34:21 PM »

Just trialed corbanite (in a virtual machine of course); it's not for me.  Not enough finegrained control and i dont like how it wants you to select and show files to be backed up.
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mouser
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 07:16:17 PM »

I tried Acronis ONLINE backup, and I actually really liked the interface.  Unfortunately I have never before seen a process completely chew up and waste cpu cycles like the resident TrueImageMonitor.exe; it literally rendered my vmware session unusable, and this was while presumably doing nothing but waiting in the background.  Surely a bug in the software of some sort but that would be a completely unacceptable behavior on my real pc if it was eating anywhere near that many cpu cycles when doing nothing..

EDIT:
Since I run true image hard drive backup software, i notice that i already have trueimagemonitor.exe running in the background on my real pc (this is what i meant about acronis bloat); however it may mean that since i already have this running on my pc and it behaves locally, maybe i won't have the crazy cpu usage on my real pc.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 07:21:20 PM by mouser » Logged
tranglos
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 07:32:15 PM »

Glad you're asking about it, because I've been thinking the same thoughts lately. To your requirements I'd only add that I'd rather not have to use yet another app specifically for online backup. I'm using four separate backup apps already (not all running at the same time, but still). Better to re-use tools I already have.

That pretty much excludes all the web-based online services :-)

Have you considered (s)ftp to your hosting provider? At Dreamhost I have the least expensive plan (ca $110 a year), and that includes 50 GB specifically for backup, outside of the /home directory. 50 GB may not be enough for your needs, but perhaps there's an ISP out there that can do better. You probably already use a backup app that does ftp, and in any case it can be easily automated in all kinds of ways.

And, most desktop backup apps (SyncBack, Backup4All, etc.) will give you the level of control that you need, plus encryption (which you didn't mention, but you're going to encrypt the backups, right? :-)
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hpearce
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 07:35:35 PM »

based on the free ones I have tried, Idrive seems to be the fastest.
Last time I tried Acronis it looked suspiciously like Mozy which I dropped because it was hard to tell what if anything it was doing.
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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 07:39:41 PM »

I definitely have been considering just doing an encrypted ftp upload.. It's definitely a viable possibility.

And yes i do already use software (Super Flexible File Synchronizer) for the local backups that i could try to leverage for this task.

So yeah, if i don't find something I really like, I may fall back on ftp uploading of encrypted backups.
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mouser
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 11:51:33 PM »

You know tranglos I'm starting to think more and more the idea of grabbing a $10/month hosting account with unlimited or large storage space and just using encrypted ftp may be the way to go.

It's not nearly as convenient and automatic, but it does offer the control and also can serve as a backup place to host an emergency backup website..
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paulobrabo
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2012, 02:05:42 AM »

Mouser,

I've been using Cloudberry Desktop Backup for some time now (two years. maybe?). You buy the standalone app once (30 dollars, you are allowed to use it in a couple of pcs) and it uses Amazon S3 for storage, which is notoriouly cheap. I have recursive local backups but I use the program with the same scenario you described in mind (fire, robbery. etc). It's light, automated and transparent.

http://www.cloudberrylab....torage-online-backup.aspx

As far I can see Cloudberry Backup features everything you are looking for, and some more, if you're interested... things like (optional) file versioning and (optional) real-time backup.

Cheers from Brazil

Paulo
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JavaJones
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 02:22:40 AM »

Web-based backup is in my view not a very good option. It's going to be slow to do proper syncs, doesn't do versioning (granted this may not be a concern for you), and in fact many web hosts actually have policies against using their "unlimited space" plans for this purpose. So while you may get away with it for a while, you could also find your account suspended without warning and unable to access your backups.

Having written about this quite some time ago now, though admittedly I never followed-up with my full recommendations (damn me!), I'm surprised you haven't considered CrashPlan yet. That's what I use and overall I'm quite pleased with it. Unlimited backup space, reasonable pricing, good level of control, cross-platform, versioning, etc. And if you have lots of data to backup, it's one of the few that offers both a "seeding" service (they send you a drive that you load up with most of your data, then you don't need to upload it over your no-doubt-not-very-fat-outgoing-Internet-pipe), as well as an emergency recovery service (they send you a drive with your recovery data on it, instead of having to download 100s of GB over the wire). Both services cost extra, but are worth it for large data IMO. I backup 1.5TB with them right now. Also, though it may not be of interest if you already have backup software taking care of everything else, Crashplan does do local backup as well.

Edit: I don't know how S3 got this reputation of being cheap, but if you actually have large amounts of data, it's really, really not. I have 1.5TB of data. I pay CrashPlan $50/yr and it's unlimited, I have all 1.5TB up there now so I know it allows at least that much. According to this S3 calculator, just to store that much data at S3, much less transfer in and out any notable amount, it would cost me $135/mo for "reduced redundancy storage", more for full redundancy. Almost any of the other services, from Carbonite to Mozy to Humyo are cheaper for equivalent storage. S3 is nice due to its accessibility options, but for anything larger than a few 10s of GBs it's not really cost competitive in my view.

- Oshyan
« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 02:28:31 AM by JavaJones » Logged

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mouser
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2012, 02:32:39 AM »

Going to check out CrashPlan now..
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mouser
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 02:34:49 AM »

Quote
emergency recovery service (they send you a drive with your recovery data on it, instead of having to download 100s of GB over the wire)

nice.
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mouser
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 02:36:05 AM »

Quote
in fact many web hosts actually have policies against using their "unlimited space" plans for this purpose. So while you may get away with it for a while, you could also find your account suspended without warning and unable to access your backups.

great point.  while in my case it wouldn't be a disaster to find myself locked out, since i wont be uploading the only copy of anything -- i think its a high enough likelyhood that it's not the wisest solution to pursue.
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 02:42:16 AM »

I am not sure if rackspace fulfills all the points but take a look -  http://www.rackspace.com/...tion/online_file_storage/
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mouser
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 02:59:31 AM »

I'm trying CrashPlan now.. It looks really good. Definitely my favorite so far.
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mouser
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« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2012, 03:13:01 AM »

There is something really important to note about CrashPlan.

You can use the full and powerful application freely to back up encrypted backups to a friend/family PC.

So if like me your goal is to provide a backup solution to protect in case of fire/theft, you could very easily find a friend with the same needs and back up to each other's PCs, at no cost (at least that's my understanding).
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2012, 03:16:19 AM »

I did this investigation some time ago and ended up with SpiderOak, which I now have paid space with (it does all my documents / development stuff / etc).

It's got lots of other features, but they push security strongly, but I only really use the 'backup' side of it.

Not sure why I moved away from CrashPlan now?
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2012, 03:17:43 AM »

There is something really important to note about CrashPlan.

You can use the full and powerful application freely to back up encrypted backups to a friend/family PC.

So if like me your goal is to provide a backup solution to protect in case of fire/theft, you could very easily find a friend with the same needs and back up to each other's PCs, at no cost (at least that's my understanding).

That's true... but they'll need to be very friendly 'cos they'll have a copy of your files smiley
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mouser
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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2012, 03:37:10 AM »

Quote
but they'll need to be very friendly 'cos they'll have a copy of your files

encrypted though so they wont be able to read them.  but will they be able to see filenames? that i don't know.
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highend01
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« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2012, 03:46:48 AM »

Isn't CrashPlan's software a java application?
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mouser
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« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2012, 05:40:07 AM »

Quote
Isn't CrashPlan's software a java application?
yes, appears to be.

JavaJones' comprehensive review of CrashPlan is here: http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=26224.0
I had forgotten about it completely -- it's a great review.

I will say that memory use does appear to be a bit high -- perhaps this is related to the point made by highend above about it being a Java app.
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tomos
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« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2012, 05:41:44 AM »

JavaJones's review of CrashPlan:
Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software

(mouser got there first)

This would bother me:

Quote
The file format it backs up to seems to be proprietary. This is understandable but a frustration for some, and a deal breaker for others.
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Tom
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« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2012, 05:44:58 AM »

Amazon S3 is great for smaller amounts -
I back up my most important backups there using Super Flexible File Synchroniser.

Amazon have online access, or you can use free version of Cloudberry to check out the contents (I keep forgetting to check... embarassed )
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Tom
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« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2012, 05:46:36 AM »

Java backup applications suck (imho)...

I've tested CrashPlan a year ago and observed equally the same results as in the review of JavaJones. A backup client software that was
awfully slow and used up several hundreds MB of memory. Ridiculous...

ATM I'm using rsync (under windows) tongue in conjunction with a hidrive account (www.strato.com)
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« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2012, 06:30:31 AM »

I've got most of our high backup volume clients set up for either Carbonite or Backblaze.

I've been happy with both services.

Everybody knows about Carbonite. Backblaze is a little different in the way it works from most. It's more a continuous mirroring rather than a traditional backup/sync service (although it can be set up to do a scheduled standard backup if you prefer), so definitely visit their website for full details. They'll provide you with a free 15-day trial to see if it works for you. For general backup use I slightly prefer Backblaze. Especially now that they've added support for backing up VMs. Datasheet here. And having the option to have them send a DVD or a drive to restore from is a major plus for me. Sure beats pulling half a terabyte of data down the wire during a major restore.

I'm not too up on what the exact performance is for either of these two services. They're more than fast enough for what we're doing.

Luck. smiley
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