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Author Topic: Remote backups. Any recommendations?  (Read 4450 times)
Graham Mitchell
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« on: October 29, 2010, 06:36:46 PM »
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I am currently using SuperDuper to perform a daily smart local backup which is working great, but I am starting to feel that I should invest in a remote backup system. All the local backups in the world are no good if all the disks are destroyed in a fire, or stolen, etc.

Something like Time Machine, but using a remote server would be ideal. Would be a bonus if the system used compression and encryption.

So far I have found Crashplan (www.crashplan.com). Seems very close to what I am looking for. Is anyone using it? Is there a better solution out there?



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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2010, 08:00:53 PM »
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To me the real question (which seems very hard to get an answer about), is how well does one of these online backups actually restore files or drives. I have gotten very mixed responses and there are no comparisons online that compares these services in terms rebuilding files and drives. They only ever compare how easy or fast they are to use at the front end. I use Mozy but I have no reason to really trust it.
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feppe
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2010, 06:42:58 AM »
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To me the real question (which seems very hard to get an answer about), is how well does one of these online backups actually restore files or drives. I have gotten very mixed responses and there are no comparisons online that compares these services in terms rebuilding files and drives. They only ever compare how easy or fast they are to use at the front end. I use Mozy but I have no reason to really trust it.

I also use Mozy, and am very happy with the UI and how easy it is to setup. Restoring individual files is quite easy, and there's an improved UI for that coming soon. But just like you, I place little trust in it to be able to fully recover from a catastrophic crash/theft/fire/etc. I have never tried restoring an entire drive, but I don't even backup entire drives. I only backup directories, mainly my Photographs, iTunes, and personal files.

I use Mozy for redundancy. I place most of my trust on three levels backups (Mozy being fourth). Daily to internal HDDs, weekly to external HDD which is kept offline. For offsite I use an external HDD which I keep at my office, and update it on a monthly basis.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2010, 11:05:12 AM »
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You might want to have a look at these folks too: http://cubeglobalstorage.com/

Mike.
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2010, 11:11:00 AM »
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Being the eternal pessimist, I wouldn't expect any of these companies to be in business next year. Backup onto an external HD, and take it to your girlfriend, mother, safety deposit box ...
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fredjeang
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2010, 12:50:20 PM »
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Yes, I was asking myself the same question.
Are they really reliable in time or is it just another commercial siren song?

Why not backing in the own server via ftp? if a remote backup is desired.
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pcunite
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« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2010, 01:06:35 PM »
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This seems like a real need, the problem is cost. All of them suck when you want to get your files back, basically taking forever.. days to transfer. Why? Bandwidth cost. It is not to bad having a stack of drives, but getting the files back to the customer seems to be the real trouble. Of course if you want to pay $50 month I am sure somebody has you covered out there.
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alain
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« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2010, 03:27:52 PM »
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Maybe  I missed something, what's against using external disks that are placed offsite?

There are now solutions where the disk can be "bare" and use e-sata,  2TB is now less than 90euro.

Most broadband connections are simply not up to the task for larger amounts of storage.
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martinreed22
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« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2010, 03:42:13 PM »
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There's no "right" solution, each person needs to trade off risk vs cost vs convenience. I'm an experienced pessimist (equipment has and will continue to fail) and inherently lazy Smiley. So here's what I do as an example (Windows, but Mac can do the same). This covers what I consider my important files (images, music, receipts, email etc). I deliberately organise my files so I know what really matters (about 120GB so far) and what is the accumulated detritous of a life time of hording digital stuff.

1. Backup to an internal drive dedicated to backups using ShadowProtect on a 2 hour cycle (TimeMachine would do similarly on a Mac). I've tried many Windows backup solutions, ShadowProtect is fast and robust, built for enterprise use really.

2. Backup regularly to external drives using SyncBackup (on a Mac try SuperDuper); these drives are only powered on and plugged in for backups. I like copy/sync software that has the option to actually compare file contents, not just check date and file sizes. Once in a while a copy operation will (probably silently) result in a corrupt copy. Fact of life if you move enough bytes around (strange nobody mentions this in the brochures)>

3. Use both Carbonite and Mozy for online backup.

Personal circumstances make a traditional offsite backup with external drive tricky. On the other hand, I also apply my usual level of pessimism about the online backup companies. By going for two (which frankly cost peanuts compared with the data value) I've mitigated the risk: different companies, different backup s/w, different server locations.

Sure it takes a while to upload at first, but every file uploaded is an instant mitigation of risk. Once you have it all "up there" I find the daily load quite manageable. I'm also mitigating my laziness - those files will be offsite within 24 hours. No way I can match that with offsite external drives.

Sure it would take days to download again. Then again, I only plan on needing to do that if my house-office burns down. Under those circumstances, I'll wait a while. If your needs are such that you can't wait, then by all means use offsite drives - they just don't suit me.

cheers, martin
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« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2010, 04:15:19 PM »
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The likelihood of me having a catastrophic HDD failure at the same time as my online backup provider goes bankrupt is not something I'm too concerned about. But I'm paranoid so that's why I have multiple backups.

Maybe  I missed something, what's against using external disks that are placed offsite?

There are now solutions where the disk can be "bare" and use e-sata,  2TB is now less than 90euro.

Most broadband connections are simply not up to the task for larger amounts of storage.

I and others have advocated exactly this solution.
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2010, 06:17:03 AM »
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Being the eternal pessimist, I wouldn't expect any of these companies to be in business next year. Backup onto an external HD, and take it to your girlfriend, mother, safety deposit box ...


Your concern about the storage company is a legitimate one. However, if they go out of business you can switch to another backup service within a day and be protected again very quickly. More reliable than a girlfriend, I'd say Wink

The idea of carrying a HD around is really a bad one. If you want hourly/daily backup, you will need to have the drive in the office daily as well, and then it can be wiped out in the same fire/disaster as the other drives which defeats the purpose. The continual transportation of the drive is a hassle, and exposes that drive to a high risk of accidental damage or theft. This is definitely no solution.
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2010, 06:18:29 AM »
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Why not backing in the own server via ftp? if a remote backup is desired.

If you have a server in another location, then why not (e.g. from studio to home). You just need to set up the connection. I work from home though, so this doesn't work for me. You would also need to keep your home server on 24/7, so the cost of the server, electricity and fast connection is probably going to be a lot more than these $5/month services which use RAID storage and fireproof facilities.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2010, 06:37:58 AM by Graham Mitchell » Logged

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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2010, 06:51:17 AM »
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Maybe  I missed something, what's against using external disks that are placed offsite?

How do you access those drives if they are kept offsite? That's the snag.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2010, 06:54:29 AM by Graham Mitchell » Logged

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feppe
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« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2010, 07:07:57 AM »
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Your concern about the storage company is a legitimate one. However, if they go out of business you can switch to another backup service within a day and be protected again very quickly. More reliable than a girlfriend, I'd say Wink

The idea of carrying a HD around is really a bad one. If you want hourly/daily backup, you will need to have the drive in the office daily as well, and then it can be wiped out in the same fire/disaster as the other drives which defeats the purpose. The continual transportation of the drive is a hassle, and exposes that drive to a high risk of accidental damage or theft. This is definitely no solution.

If you require 100% recovery from daily backups, probably the only workable fire/theft/waterproof solution is daily online backup, whether to Mozy or similar, or your own offsite server via FTP - and that assumes you have enough bandwidth to move daily data overnight.

Let's say you would lose 30 gigs of data from one day's shoot. Using a 5Mbps pipe it takes almost 13 hours to transfer that, so you'd have a ready backup by the time you come back to work the next day. While that download speed is readily available uncapped at affordable prices (at least in Northern Europe), 5Mbps upload is not. Also, you will bump into bandwidth caps very soon as ISPs in many countries impose those.

The only solution would be to share a T3 connection, but that will cost serious . You'd have to make an ROI calculation based on how much one day's shoot costs for you, how much the T3 connection would cost, and how likely it is that you will have a catastrophic data loss. Hourly or real-time offsite backups are probably unworkable with modern cameras which produce more data than even the fastest broadband connections affordably available.

As for offsite HDD backups, you can rotate two backup drive (sets) for offsite backup. That way you'll always have one to recover from, and don't have to worry about the fire happening the day you have the drive(s) at home/office for weekly/monthly backup. Guaranteed to be much cheaper than shared T3.
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2010, 07:18:09 AM »
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and that assumes you have enough bandwidth to move daily data overnight.

Yes. There are some great connections available these days (e.g. 100Mbit down/10Mbit up) which are easily enough for this kind of use. However the server at the other end has to allow a sufficient bandwidth as well, and looking through Crashplan's user forum, this does not seem to be the case.

What sort of upload speeds are people getting with other services such as Mozy, and how did you get over the initial seeding issue?
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« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2010, 07:29:59 AM »
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Yes. There are some great connections available these days (e.g. 100Mbit down/10Mbit up) which are easily enough for this kind of use. However the server at the other end has to allow a sufficient bandwidth as well, and looking through Crashplan's user forum, this does not seem to be the case.

What sort of upload speeds are people getting with other services such as Mozy, and how did you get over the initial seeding issue?

10 Mbps up might be available affordably in Estonia, but it's not available outside of Nordics, Korea and Japan.

Mozy claims they don't cap the speed when you upload data to them, but my connection is only 3Mbps - it upload at that speed. Google might be helpful - it also depends on the connection to their servers. I believe their servers are in the US, not sure where their recently opened .fr site's servers are.
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2010, 08:09:45 AM »
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Mozy claims they don't cap the speed when you upload data to them, but my connection is only 3Mbps - it upload at that speed. Google might be helpful - it also depends on the connection to their servers. I believe their servers are in the US, not sure where their recently opened .fr site's servers are.

I'll look more into Mozy then, thanks.

10 Mbps up might be available affordably in Estonia, but it's not available outside of Nordics, Korea and Japan.

You can get 2.5Gbit down/1.2 Gbit up in parts of France: http://slashdot.org/articles/06/07/26/127205.shtml
It's available in Sweden for $30/month: http://www.comhem.se/comhem/bredband/abonnemang/bredband-abonnemang/-/6336/17518/-/index.html
UK:
Or in Germany for 30/month: http://www.netcologne.de/privatkunden/privatkunden/glasfaser-dsl/glasfaser-dsl/pakete-und-preise.html

You get the idea Smiley It's becoming quite common these days.
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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2010, 08:21:19 AM »
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I'll look more into Mozy then, thanks.

You can get 2.5Gbit down/1.2 Gbit up in parts of France: http://slashdot.org/articles/06/07/26/127205.shtml
It's available in Sweden for $30/month: http://www.comhem.se/comhem/bredband/abonnemang/bredband-abonnemang/-/6336/17518/-/index.html
UK:
Or in Germany for 30/month: http://www.netcologne.de/privatkunden/privatkunden/glasfaser-dsl/glasfaser-dsl/pakete-und-preise.html

You get the idea Smiley It's becoming quite common these days.

Of course, but did you read the small print on capping? Also, unannounced capping is not uncommon - ie. if you start moving tens of gigs worth of data upstream you'll get throttled or plain capped. Finally, just because your connection is rated at 10Mbps up doesn't mean you actually get that - for most "regular" connections you're sharing that bw with several other households.

But no point in arguing about this: fast upload is getting more affordable, but is far from common in most of the world. If one requires daily backups, quite a bit of research is needed to find if it's even possible online, let alone ROI.
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2010, 08:45:55 AM »
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Of course, but did you read the small print on capping?

Capping seems to be more of a US/UK issue. I haven't heard of it happening in other European countries I've lived in. It's quite unethical to sell a connection based on a promised speed, but not deliver it. There's a crackdown on this practice happening now in the UK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10760069

By the way, the Swedish provider calls their connection 50-100 instead of 100 because they offer a guarantee that if your speed drops below the lower limit, you only pay the price for their slower connection. I realise that it's not like that everywhere but that seems like a much fairer way to sell a service and will probably become more widespread.
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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2010, 09:17:59 AM »
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Just to expand on my previously mentioned pessimism - is anybody worried about security? I would be reluctant to upload much of anything - eg photos, personal info, financial stuff, etc, without some serious encryption. And that's just another level of PITA.
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