The Back-Up Plan: We Examine 5 Cloud-Based Services



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The first online backup service I tried was Mozy, but it was way too sluggish. I bailed on it after a year and switched to back2cloud, which I've used for at least 2 years now and am happy with. Every once in a while it seems to hiccup; it'll warn me that I haven't backed up in a few days, even though it's supposed to be doing that automatically, and I'll have to prompt it to resume the backups. Aside from that though no issues.



I used Carbonit for a while but I stopped trusting them after they had problems on their servers. I've been trialling a new cloud based backup called Genie Timeline for a week now.

The backup stored on Amazon S3 and they support disaster recovery for complete system restore. They also have full management consol for all machines and reporting.




your comparison did not address 2 important issues:

1. many backup systems throw away the file date info.

2. encryption: must be done before leaving my computer,  with my control of the key

the only service that i have found that does both is JungleDisk/s3.

Mozy handles encryption properly, but didn't preserve file dates, at least the last time i checked.





Which services actually work?

For example:

 I don't think any of the listed services do restore to bare metal.

 At least one listed services doesn't handle Alternate Data Streams,

 I'm not sure if any of the listed services handle Access Control Lists correctly.

 I'm not sure if any of the listed services handle the extra dates and other

infomation in NTFS.



Carbonite's throttling doesn't kick in at 200GB, it is there from the start. I just made the mistake of signing up, and my initial backup of 80GB took 6 weeks to complete (which is more than I would consider to be "several days"). Complaints to tech support were met with finger pointing at my network and computer (FIOS 25mbps upload, reasonably fast PC that is always on) and ended up concluding that, "this is the deal, live with it".



Just remember that while Carbonite advertises itself as unlimited the reality is that after 200 GB your upload rate gets throttled dramatically (not by your internet service provider, but by Carbonite).

This speed cap imposed by Carbonite really makes it (almost) unusable for anyone who has large files and who has more than 200 GB to store.



I tried some of the mentioned online-backup-services, like Mozy, Carbonite and Dropbox. All of them are very good. Now  I now use Updatestar Online Backup, cause of the price and a good press reviews.



Data caps are an Abomination, unless we as customers actually DO something (Like jump ship to higher priced fringe companies that provide unlimited services still), and refuse to come back to our mainstream ISPs unless they provide a reasonably priced unlimited plan, nothing will change.

As for using WHS, the problem with maintaining your own home fileserver for backups is disaster recovery.  sure you're protected against common maladies such as drive failure or controller failure, you're NOT protected from proper disasters such as Fire, Flood, Meteor Strike, Breakins, etc..  What will you do when someone forgets to turn off the oven and the house burns down in the night, but the report backed up to your WHS is still due tomorrow?

Even if you can't afford a proper online backup solution, like S3, or one of these mediocre services, you should still obtain some "Offsite Storage"  such as a safe deposit box or storage unit to perform physical offsite backups to.  If you're using a linux based system, your best bet is to deploy ZFS, which provides most of the benefits of WHS, PLUS a bunch of more important benefits (like replication, deduplication, raid5 without write-hole, and end-to-end integrity verification), then use ZFS Send /receive to push your backups to a few spare drives, which you then take to your offsite location.  Using amanda+S3, I just backup my encrypted nightlies to amazon, and forget about it.



With the data caps most ISP's are imposing lately I fail to se ehow these services remain in business. I use a Windows Home Server to back up my home because with just the main PC's of my family equaling 8 I am (incrementally) backing up over 200GB worth of data. Sure once the first one is complete the incremental backups are far less in size but it just boggles my mind that these cloud storage comapnies and streaming companies like Netflix are freaking out. (Well Netflix finally came out against the caps but thats really new news.)



I think a Windoss Home Server with a couple of 2TB drives is a far better investment, especially with WHS 2011 coming out.

And no crying about DE please.  Just roll your own...

The WHS backup system is brilliant.  It is one of the few that will do bare-metal restores simply by booting the dead machine from the recovery disk, and selecting the backup you want to restore from.

Single Instance Store saves tremendous amounts of disc space.

And the remote media streaming capabilities of WHS 2011 are very good.

Take an old box, get an OEM copy when it is releasead, toss a couple of drives in it, and have at it.  You can build one hell of a server for $400 or even less.



Maybe it's one click harder to find, but it is right here:

It's presented as a trial version of MozyHome, but it is still a free 2GB backup service. I just set up someone on it last week.




I'm continually amazed that so many "comprehensive" reviews of backup programs omit Crashplan, which is one of the most flexible options out there.



You guys totally forgot Backblaze, Crashplan, and SpiderOak.


Please take down this mediocre review and redo for Maximum sake.
Your street cred is in question!



Crashplan also offers a Linux client



I couldn't help but notice that none of these services offer a good linux client.  I'll stick to amanda + S3 until someone comes up with a decent linux client.  At least this way I have a unified cross-platform backup solution.


Jer Stryker

I switched to Crashplan when Mozy dropped their unlimited plan.  It's better than Mozy ever was!  (You don't even need to keep your external drive hooked up for it to remember to keep the files backed up.)



Phooey. We liked MozyFree. Oh well... thanks for the update, we've corrected the story.



Mozy is no longer unlimited, Carbonite does not backup videos by default, and they don't make it obvious. So good luck getting those baby videos back if you have a hard drive crash and are depending on carbonite.


Crashplan is the best bang for the buck when you have multiple PCs and people in the house, their family plan is awesome



What an odd writeup. You guys don't usualy take such a promotional standpoint for one peticular service over another.

Also, Mozy is no longer Unlimited, they just changed their rate schedule, making them too expensive for me now.

I've been reading about which is unlimited and seems quite affordable, but I haven't tried it yet.



Mozy no longer has Unlimited!  Stick with Carbonite if you want that.


It should also be noted that a cloud backup should not be your only backup!  If you do any kind of work on your computer you'll want to have an on-site backup as well.  NAS boxes are good choices as they can be configured to backup over the network automagically, but a large external drive wouldn't be such a bad thing either.


As we say in the business, data you don't back up twice is data you don't care about.  But I'll gladly take your coin to try and recover it.



Why not include CrashPlan?! They are the best around for local, offsite with friends, and cloud based unlimited backup. Also, Mozy ditched their unlimited.

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