The thoughts, opinions, happenings, and just plain ramblings of a seemingly boring person.

Trying Out Online Backups

Crashplan logoI first published my backup rant almost 7 years ago, and my catch-cry for anyone who owns a computer and cares about some data (i.e. everyone), is that there are no excuses when it comes to backing up important data.

To quote a wise man from the end of that post:

If your digital belongings are really that important to you, you should guarantee that only the most inconceivable of disasters should be able to rob you of them; anything less is negligence.

Since that post, only the medium and frequency of my backup regime had changed: weekly backups to local external storage (either between computers/devices on our local network or to a portable external hard drive), and quarterly backups on another hard drive that lives at my parents place.

However, I've gotten increasingly lazy over the past year or so, and the regular weekly backups weren't being done as often as I would have liked.

To solve this issue, automated online backups have always appealed to me, but it is very prohibitive uploading any serious amount of data with ADSL2 internet upload speeds below a megabit/second.

I was originally planning on waiting until the NBN to give online backups a go, but we all know what has happened with that over the past 6 months. As nothing is going to change in the foreseeable future in that regard, there was no point waiting anymore. One thing that did improve things a little was utilising my ISP's (Internode) Annex M ADSL profiles, which trades some download speed for increased upload speed. So with that enabled, I have about a 1.8 megabit/second upload connection.

Over the past few weeks I've started using Crashplan to backup my data. It took almost a full week of it running 24/7 to upload a limited backup set of about 100GB of our most important data. If I was on a fibre NBN connection with a mid-range plan that has 20 megabit/second upload speeds,  it would have only taken about 12 hours. *sigh*

I chose Crashplan because of an Australian datacentre presence, decent costs, and seemingly good options for encryption. At the moment it is costing me AUD$69.30/year for an unlimited size backup.

However, it was a bit fiddly getting it working with our NAS, and I had to use this workaround to have a working solution to backup a Windows network drive. Unfortunately it means that, amongst other issues, real-time detection of file changes doesn't work. That means that the folders have to be scanned every so-many hours to pick up any changes. There is a 3rd-party developed headless client for Synology NASs, so that might be something to investigate down the road.

I'll have to see long-term how this will turn out before giving a definitive verdict, but it is reassuring to know that my lazyness is not interfering with our backups anymore.

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