Online backup recommendation?
August 7, 2013 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I need to back up some laptops that are roaming around so I'd like some kind of automagic online backup solution.

Right now I'm using drop box syncing of a backup folder + sync toy set in one way mode to populate the backup folder. But this has some limitations mostly in the lack of easy recovery.

Ideally I'd like something that supports both full (weekly) and incremental (daily) back ups on a schedule with first in first out retention of backups for at least a couple weeks. It's only a couple hundred megabytes of data so a gigabyte or two of storage would be adequate.

Bonus points if the software supports something like dropbox's administrative controls for business.
posted by Mitheral to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I like CrashPlan but I don't know whether it does everything you want.
posted by Dansaman at 2:44 PM on August 7, 2013

I use Carbonite on my home computer. My hard drive failed, so after I bought a new PC I went to the Carbonite website, logged in, and asked it to download all of my files to the new computer. It was easy and you can set backup schedules.

But it costs money every year...
posted by tacodave at 3:04 PM on August 7, 2013

I like SpiderOak, which has much better security/privacy policies than DropBox and other comparable services (as far as I can tell from googling). They give you 2 gigs free. I'm not sure about the "administrative controls" though. The control over what is backed up, when, and how many versions to retain is quite fine-grained.
posted by number9dream at 3:17 PM on August 7, 2013

Online services: I've heard of Carbonite, Crashplan, and Backblaze. No personal experience with any of them, sorry.

I do use Dropbox heavily, and I sync my laptop to a local server. I've also briefly used SpiderOak and Wuala but Dropbox is still the slickest of the lot.
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:18 PM on August 7, 2013

Maybe this Lifehacker link will help?
posted by nostrada at 3:30 PM on August 7, 2013

The paid Crashplan will definitely do what you want, and the free version may as well. The caveat is that it nearly continuous backup, and doesn't really make the same distinction between full and incremental backups that old-school backup solutions do.

Basically, it does a full backup, then it monitors the filesystem for changes using the OS-native filesystem notification mechanism. Every 15 minutes (it may be configurable) it backups any new files and the parts of any files that have changed. On a configurable interval (typically daily) it does a sweep through things to see if it missed anything in its monitoring and if it did, it backs those up. On a longer interval it compares its backup copy to the filesystem copy to catch bitrot. Finally, on regular intervals it goes through and thins out older versions keeps more versions of newer backups, fewer versions of older backups. The details of this are also configurable. I'm pretty sure though that the defaults will more than exceed the minimum requirements you've outlined above. The free version can backup to an external disk, a network share, or another computer running Crashplan. The paid versions can also backup to the cloud service.

I've personally only had to recover a few files from Crashplan, and it went without issue. A colleague had to recover her whole system less than a week after her initial backup completed and it worked perfectly. She was able to download essential files from their website immediately, and then installed the backup client on her new computer and recovered the rest of her data from their cloud service in the background, in relatively short order, while she worked.
posted by Good Brain at 3:50 PM on August 7, 2013

Nthing Crashplan. I love it. Works great, and reasonably priced.
posted by liquado at 4:31 PM on August 7, 2013

I switched from SpiderOak to CrashPlan. SpiderOak was okay, but very niche and slow. CrashPlan (I think) offers the same pre-encryption, but is tons easier to retrieve files from. With my tablet, I can grab any file from CrashPlan from any of my backed-up computers. It's great!
posted by scruss at 5:08 PM on August 7, 2013

Two reasons I chose CrashPlan besides the value (low price and I think no data limit) is they never delete data even if you delete it and you can select what folders to back up, whereas BackBlaze (last time I checked) only backs up "everything".
posted by Dansaman at 5:58 PM on August 7, 2013

BitCasa may also be worth checking into...looks very promising for the price.
posted by samsara at 1:59 PM on August 8, 2013

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