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Online Backup Solution

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by quatchi, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. quatchi

    quatchi Mu-43 Veteran

    326
    May 17, 2012
    Munich, Germany
    Hey,

    I am currently searching for an affordable online backup solution for my photos (RAW, JPEG, TIFF, ...). At the moment I have accumulated around 500GB of photos, videos snippets and other stuff which should go into the backup. My current backup strategy consists of an external 2,5" hard drive (the working drive), a time machine backup to a 2,5" hard drive connected to my Airport Express and a CarbonCopy clone of the working drive to another 2,5" external drive. The CarbonCopy backup is only executed once in a while as I have the harddrive at my work place - an off-site backup so to speak.

    From that regard, I consider myself as fairly safe in terms of loosing my photos. I have to state here that I am not working as a photographer. I am a pure amateur, happily snapping some pictures. :)
    The thing is, however, that my "off-site" backup is only performed very unregularily. Only once a quarter I remember to bring the harddrive from work and run CarbonCopy. Additionally, I am not sure whether our IT department is so happy about bringing alien harddrives to work, even though I am not connecting it to my work PC.

    Since I changed my Internet subscription to a VDSL line (50MBit/s down, 10MBit/s up) I am thinking about an online backup in order to supersede the off-site backup drive. Ideally I would love to have a background process syncing from my working drive (such as TimeMachine does). Dropbox comes to mind, however, paying $50 per month is to expensive for me. Googleing the topic lead me to Backblaze. They offer a very affordable service (max. $5/month) with the kind of software I am looking for (I do not need a older copies of my files such as TimeMachine offers. A single backup of the files is fine for me). They offer a 15 days trial which I happily subscribed to yesterday. After the initial euphory, however, I was put down by the upload speed. My network activity monitor showed up to 200kByte/s at times (~1.6MBit/s). These 200k where only reached periodically, however. The upload stopped in between completely and sometimes only trickled with a couple of kB/s. A testfolder, I choose for the backup (nearly 2GB), took all afternoon. When I stopped after like 5 hours, 1.2GB where still left to upload. This averages to 45kBit/s. :-(

    Can you hint me on some other services similiar Backblaze, etc. you are happy with? Maybe one which operate datacenters in Europe as well (that might be the problem with Backblaze as they only have two storage locations in the US). Thanks!
     
  2. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    65
    Feb 14, 2012
    I was actually looking to do the same not that long ago. The cheapest service by far was Zoolz: https://www.zoolz.com/ , which comes at 13 euro per year. There are some 25% discount codes floating around. They use Amazon cold storage, which means your files won't be immediately available upon request, which works fine as a last resort backup. They also offer some raw preview, suitable for photographers.

    I haven't subscribed yet, I want to organize my hard drive first and I am completely swamped lately to do it properly, but this will be probably my choice.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. gpburdell

    gpburdell Mu-43 Veteran

    248
    Jul 16, 2014
    Crashplan is what I use. Family plan covers up to ten different computers. Unlimited storage. I have a small dual-drive (mirrored) NAS on my LAN that is my Time Machine target. That's my primary backup. I use Crashplan more as a disaster recovery solution to cover the "house burned down" scenario since it'd take a fair while to restore all the data.

    Don't get all twisted up in whether it takes a few days to do the initial seeding. Let it go and it'll finish in time.

    I have no idea whether to serve Germany though.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    678
    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Scott
    I use Crashplan. It's reasonably priced, and they offer an initialization process where the mail you a hard drive so you can do the initial backup over USB. They'll merge that with whatever data didn't fit. When I did it, it was $79 for a 500g starter drive. I found that very worthwhile.
     
  5. quatchi

    quatchi Mu-43 Veteran

    326
    May 17, 2012
    Munich, Germany
    Thanks for the tip. Zools looks quite promising. I especially like the feature of being able to preview all my RAW files through their web page or mobile apps. Has anyone a real world experience with Zools?

    Another service I came across is bitcasa. They are slightly more expensive (1TB for 79€ vs. 70€) but offer a similar service (less the RAW preview). Anyone heard about them?
     
  6. quatchi

    quatchi Mu-43 Veteran

    326
    May 17, 2012
    Munich, Germany
    In the mean while I had a look at CrashPlan. They look very promising as well. There is certainly a plus for the additional backups to other local machines (I have an old Mac Mini connected to my TV which otherwise sits idle around...). Their pricing seems fair as well.

    EDIT: Oh boy, know they almost have me. They are currently offering a 20% discount. In conjunction with the 4-year plan (money back when canceling) and the US-EUR exchange rate it comes down to 2.40€ per month. Expressed with the BigMac-Index, it's not even half a Big Mac (currently 4.90€ in Germany). :)
     
  7. gsk3

    gsk3 Mu-43 Regular

    124
    Jan 29, 2012
    Synology now syncs to Glacier. I have my photos on my Synology drive, then it automatically backs them up to Glacier (can do it in the dark of night so it doesn't interfere with evening movie watching, etc.). Pretty happy with that as a solution. Cost is dirt cheap (everything else is built on top of Glacier anyway, so using it directly saves $) except for the Synology itself, which costs about double what other manufacturers seem to want (~$200 for a dual-disk version).
     
  8. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I use Backblaze and I really like it. Crashplan used to slow down my Mac, Backblaze was designed from scratch to work with Macs. All of the upload speeds are slow, particularly when you are making the first back up. The best thing to do is to do is let it do its thing for a day or so. Once the initial backup is made, then like Dropbox, all future uploads are incremental. I forget that it is there, it keeps all of my drives backed up without a problem. I use it in conjunction with a local Time Machine back up. You can't beat the price for unlimited online backups.
     
  9. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    Wendy
    I use Crashplan as an online backup and Time Machine for local. Yeah, the initial online backup is going to be brutally slow no matter what service you use, though Crashplan (perhaps others as well) allow you to adjust the settings to determine the % of computer resources to use, speed, etc. Once the initial backup was done I don't find it slows down my Mac, though my Mac is only a year old and has a lot of RAM. We got the family plan since my husband and I both work from home most of the time and we have 5 family and work computers to back up.
     
  10. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    775
    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    The "all you can eat for one fee" types of services like CrashPlan work out very nicely for photographers. We typically have more data than most folks and so it works out to be a good deal for us compared to "pay as you go" like Glacier. Essentially "normal" users are subsidizing heavy photography users.

    I've used CrashPlan for a few years now and have been quite happy. Use a family plan so all our various computers and laptops are backed up. There are many similar services to CrashPlan as well.
     
  11. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    BEWARE OF TIME MACHINE backup. I lost three very productive months of work due to its corrupted backup files. It provides no bootable copy making a very lengthy process to even access the Mac. Then the the time for recovery time lasted more than a day.
     
  12. Matero

    Matero Mu-43 Veteran

    455
    Jun 22, 2013
    Finland
    Exactly similar experience with Time Machine. Lost a lot of time, lucky I'm not pro, so didn't loose any money, just my nerves waiting to see whether I lost any photos or not. So after that I'm more careful. Backup procedure is:
    - live, local copy with Time Machine - quick for small accidents and targeted browsing from history
    - full hard disk clone once a month - quick starting point for incremental Time Machine recovery, if sh*t hit the fan and
    - Crashplan cloud backup, just in case for worst ever scenario, fire or similar

    Now I'm sleeping well again :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Jesse_S

    Jesse_S Mu-43 Regular

    73
    Jan 7, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    I have a Mac and started with Backblaze but now use Crashplan and I really like it. I find the Crashplan software to be better, less resource intensive and gives you more control than Backblaze. It has really powerful customization tools for scheduling and bandwidth usage so you're not constantly pounding your connection and slowing the whole house down.

    One of the other nice bonuses of Crashplan is that if you have an iPhone or iPad (I think they also have an Android app, but don't quote me) you can access your backed up files online. So you can download a photo from the Crashplan app straight to your tablet if you're on the road and feel like fiddling with it or showing it to someone.

    They all seem to have free trials, so I would just experiment and see what you like best. What you don't want to do is pick one and then decide six months later that you preferred something else...that was a lot of uploading.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    Wendy
    Though I have not had any problems with Time Machine - it has saved my butt a few times and I've used it to restore a Mac and to set up a new iMac - your strategy is the same as mine.
     
  15. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    For Mac owners wanting online backup, I find Arq to be the best. Works silently in the background, hardly takes up any CPU, copies 100% file metadata, and backs up to Amazon servers, so your files won't get lost in any disaster. The best encryption too.
     
  16. quatchi

    quatchi Mu-43 Veteran

    326
    May 17, 2012
    Munich, Germany
    Here is the feedback on how my decision went. The abstract is: I went with CrashPlan.

    The longer version... :)

    These are the service I looked at and tested:
    (~500GB, location Germany, VDSL (50MBit/10MBit), RAW/JPEG/TIFF/MOV)

    [table="width: 700"]
    [tr]
    [td]Service[/td] [td]Verdict[/td] [td]Tested[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]Backblaze[/td] [td]The price is right for unlimited storage. The desktop app ok. Speed very slow (~200kBit/s).[/td] [td]very slow (from Germany)[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]Arq + Amazon S3/Glacier[/td] [td]I like the app. The overall costs App + Amazon service exceeded other plans, however.[/td] [td]fast (datacenter in Ireland)[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]Bitcasa[/td] [td]More expensive then others[/td] [td]fast (~8MBit)[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]Zipcloud/Justcloud[/td] [td]Their web-presents seemed somehow dubious to me and put me off. Same service, two different names. Pop-up when leaving the site...[/td] [td]-[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]Synology + Amazon Glacier[/td] [td]Seems to be a very good combination. Especially the idea of the "private" cloud appeals to me. Recent SynoLocker issue. Steep initial investment + Amazon fee.[/td] [td]-[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]Dropbox[/td] [td]Easy of use. Expensive.[/td] [td]medium speeds[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]Google Cloud[/td] [td]More expensive then other services (Amazon, ...)[/td] [td]-[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]CrashPlan[/td] [td]Cheapest option with 4 year plan + additional 20% off and currency conversion rate. Good (but improvable) desktop software. I especially like the ability to backup to other computers as well (a plus would be to upload simultaneously). iOS app lets you download all files.[/td] [td]fast[/td]
    [/tr]
    [/table]

    As already mentioned I went with CrashPlan in the end. They offered the best combination of speed, price and software (service) for me. At the moment my photos are being backed up to the cloud with a speed ranging from 5-9MBit/s (six more days to go :biggrin:). They are probably going to Amazon's datacenter in Ireland (have no idea where CrashPlane is storing data, though). An additional plus is there relaxed subscription policy. You can cancel whenever you want (with a refund of the unused month) and you can choose to not automatically renew the subscription. All goes for US$3.14 per month (~2.40€).

    ---

    When going through all these services I noticed that almost all of them offer encrypted transmission and storage of data. Many of them additionally offered to use own encryption keys. A very positive trend in my opinion!
     
  17. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    65
    Feb 14, 2012
    Just a quick note: some of these services do not backup external drives, you need to check terms and conditions.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. gpburdell

    gpburdell Mu-43 Veteran

    248
    Jul 16, 2014
    This illustrates the core difference between Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, and Backup.
    • BC is how you get back going quickly. Cloned drives are generally best for this piece if it's important to you. Another options is keeping key folders synced between a laptop and desktop. If one dies, limp along on the other.
    • Backup provides versioning so you can access deleted or corrupted files from yesterday, last week, last month, etc. Time Machine is a decent solution, so long as you check it periodically and accept that it'll take a while.
    • DR provides for the worst scenarios such as fire, flood, or theft. You also need to consider recovery time, though for most of us cloud DR is fine since I'll have more important things to worry about in the first few days if my house burnt down. If you're a pro and depending on quick recovery you'll need to consider how to address that.

    A properly thought out strategy considers all three areas in context of Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective. (RTO is how long until you're back up and running, RPO is how much data loss you're willing to accept and drives your settings for how often your backups happen)
     
  19. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    For me, cloud backup is disaster recovery. I realize this is very individual, but for myself I don't need rapid access and I value low cost. Slow speed was only an issue with the initial upload of about 750GB of files (which took more than a week) - so I went with Amazon Glacier (which would more appropriately be named Glacial :wink:).
     
  20. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    678
    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Scott
    FWIW, the C drive on one of my computers failed and was replaced last week. I installed a new SSD, installed a new copy of Windows, and hooked up Crashplan. It asked me if the "new" computer was replacing the old one, to which I replied Yes. It then began syncing the new C drive to the old backup. I also restored my Documents folder to the new drive.

    Very slick.
     
    • Like Like x 1