Personal Cloud or commercial service

User Forum Topic
Submitted by Hobie on November 21, 2011 - 2:45pm

The recent burglary thread has got me thinking again about off site backups. Anyone using a Personal cloud? Better than a service co? Seems like a good concept. What y'all think?

Submitted by an on November 21, 2011 - 2:56pm.

I use Mozy. I locked in to a 2 year contract for unlimited space. However, they no longer offer unlimited plan. When my contract is up, I'll switch over to Carbonite. It's always a good idea to back up your data to an offsite place, just in case or fire or something.

Submitted by sdduuuude on November 21, 2011 - 3:58pm.

I use getdropbox.com - not so much for backups but for automatic transport of files from home machine to work machine to any mahine. Have used it for cooperative projects where multiple people share multiple files. It works well. It's free. Probalby not free to get enough space to backup data.

Submitted by SK in CV on November 21, 2011 - 4:34pm.

My office uses Mozy for our roughly 150 employees, almost all of whom work remotely. I set mine to back up twice a day, works seamlessly. Pay about $4 per month per employee, though I have no idea how much it would cost for a personal plan.

Submitted by Coronita on November 21, 2011 - 5:51pm.

+1 on carbonite

But for me it depends on what data.

For pictures-> picasa
For docs ->google docs
For music -> google music
For video (short) -> youtube

I got into a habit of always uploading my pics to picasa and my random docs to google docs from my phones/tablets because I routinely reflash my phone and tablets, and some of these devices don't have a separate sd card, but rather use part of internal storage as a "sdcard-like" partition, which can get accidentally wiped if you make a mistake.

The pictures I take with my DSLR I've also uploaded to picasa if they are jpeg. It's slightly more difficult though if you shoot RAW (that's where carbonite etc comes in). Also, my picture sizes have eaten more space up recently since I switched cameras to a canon 7D.

For video, I don't have a really good solution if they are totally long. I like youtube, but it takes too long and there are size constraints.... I use to use picasa also for short videos, but you can't re-download videos you upload to picasa.

For all the phones/tablets, I run clockworksmod recovery image to grap a backup of the device, and then upload the backed up images to the cloud. I've written some scripts and tools to do this to copy this onto my local computer, and then use carbonite to backup them up like everything else.

My next step is to be able to do incremental backups. That way if I do lose my phone/tablet, I can do a remote wipe and do a restore onto another phone/tablet. There is usually no data that is stored in my sdcard partition, because all that data is stored in the cloud (pictures,video,documents,etc).

(Note Android cloud service for backup doesn't really work..It only backs up application data, and even then, it doesn't always work).

In addition, I've stopped keeping paper files around. I use an app "CamScanner" to take pictures of my documents (bills, doctor's notes, receipts,etc)... This app converts a picture to a PDF, which I then store in google docs.

For music, I use google music. Amazon has a competing service. But I don't mind storing music in compressed format since I'm not an audiophile.

For the extremely paranoid, in using picasa/youtube/googledocs/googlemusic, I create a separate account for each purpose, and create a backup account for each account....
So for example,
*pictures/videos/documents concerning my kid is in her own account (say "kid1"), and there is a corresponding kid1backup account containing exactly the same data.
*pictures/videos/documents concerning me is an a different account, and there is a backup of that account too.

I upload each picture or document twice, to the account and account backup (ok, I have a script that does this)...

Also, I never keep the account and accountbackup on the same smartphone or tablet.

For example, tablet might contain myaccount and kid1, while phone contains myaccountbackup and kid1backup.

I do this in case one of my accounts gets hacked... I have a backup account containing the same data...

And losing any one single device (tablet/phone) doesn't compromise accountX and accountXbackup at the same time.

BTW: data backup/restore/remote wipe will be a big business for smartphones and tablets....Think about it....It's worse than losing your wallet.

Submitted by an on November 21, 2011 - 6:23pm.

flu wrote:
+1 on carbonite

But for me it depends on what data.

For pictures-> picasa
For docs ->google docs
For music -> google music
For video (short) -> youtube


This is almost exactly what I'm doing too. Except I use Flickr instead of Picasa (Flickr have unlimited space and you can upload short videos too). I use Skydrive for my docs (since it integrated with Office). I use Google Music too. Even with these different services, I still use Mozy to back them all up again. Especially the RAW images.

If you have Gmail, you can use this: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/2-ways-to-t... to use it as another source for backup too.

Submitted by Rich Toscano on November 21, 2011 - 9:05pm.

Here is my perspective as a mixed Mac/PC user, if this helps anyone.

I'm not that nuts about Carbonite. I used it for a couple of years. It seems clunkier than the other solutions, and it doesn't back up sparse bundles on the Mac (so if you are encrypting data with something like Espionage you are screwed).

After doing a lot of digging on this question, for Macs I think that Arq looks like the best solution. However, I was looking for my business (mixed Mac and PC environment), and wanted to keep everyone on the same platform, so Arq wouldn't do. From online reviews, in terms of usability, speed, etc, the two winners seemed to be Backblaze and Crashplan. They were pretty similar, but Backblaze was cheaper for their business plan, so that's who I went with. No issues so far, and I've tested out the restore capabilities (for encrypted backups as well) and it seems to work like a charm.

Submitted by svelte on November 21, 2011 - 9:47pm.

i just use external usb drives. i have four for a total of 4 TB hooked up to my computer. i have another 4 TB for backups that i do monthly before i disconnect and move offsite. the beauty of this is that i simply move the usb to another computer (my laptop, wife's computer, etc) when i need to, or when a computer goes belly up. i don't store any files on the computers themselves.

for files i may need while on travel, i just upload them to yahoo mail. there aren't that many files i need while away so it works well.

i don't really trust anyone else to hold my data due to all the security breaches. i can remember when flu kept all his data on a computer not connected to the net for the same reason, now he lets offsite companies hold it? My, how times have changed.

Submitted by equalizer on November 21, 2011 - 10:44pm.

I've used idrive.com (or ibackup.com for database backups) for a while and it is more robust than Mozy, Carbonite or Dropbox because it is more aimed at business market. Upload speed at are over 90% max of your ISP rate and idrive is only one that performs incremental backup of locked files such as Outlook even when it is open.

Submitted by bearishgurl on November 21, 2011 - 11:47pm.

When I travel, I lock up my external 500G e-SATA drive or take it with me. My desktop has programs only in its HD ("C" drive). Once you log in as a "guest," there is nothing to "see" here so move on.

I have a major issue w/privacy, because I work on legal cases prior to trial. And I MUST have "house-sitters" because I have pets.

If I need photo files to show for leisure on a trip, I have 4 "thumb drives" (up to 4G) which I can take with me.

I have never used online backup systems.

edit: Oh, and my laptop has "programs only" in it. It will be boring to anyone who successfully "steals" it.

Submitted by Coronita on November 22, 2011 - 12:31am.

svelte wrote:

i don't really trust anyone else to hold my data due to all the security breaches. i can remember when flu kept all his data on a computer not connected to the net for the same reason, now he lets offsite companies hold it? My, how times have changed.

The more I work with smartphones, tablets, and data systems, the more I realize that no matter what precaution you take, if someone really wants to steal from you, they can.... You might be foolproof, but not everyone that you do business with....

The best way I found to deal with this is to assume your information has been already compromised, and plan to minimize the damage.

Social security numbers are a prime example. I dont bother trying to make it super secret anymore, because my social security number has already been breached many times. I can't count how many times during the loan process, that my personal forms with my SSN was sent over email across different people... I can't count how many times my SSN went across emails during a background check...And most recently, my full SSN appears in all my paperwork at the hospital i go to, including discharge papers/etc, where anyone at the hospital (nurses, doctors,etc) all can see... As a result, I don't bother to really go out of my way to try to keep it a secret anymore...I just use a credit freeze and update the pin every so often.

I store bank statements, but not with the full account number.

And I don't store unencrypted data files that are sensitive to the cloud. I use TrueCrypt, but some folks uses PGP.
http://www.truecrypt.org/
For important data stuff...I create one or more virtual drive "image", and backup those images to the cloud... So my backups to the cloud are actually truecrypt images, not individual files.

For really important stuff, I use some of features outlined here...

http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/?s=plausib...

Submitted by bearishgurl on November 21, 2011 - 11:56pm.

svelte wrote:
i just use external usb drives. i have four for a total of 4 TB hooked up to my computer. i have another 4 TB for backups that i do monthly before i disconnect and move offsite. the beauty of this is that i simply move the usb to another computer (my laptop, wife's computer, etc) when i need to, or when a computer goes belly up. i don't store any files on the computers themselves...

I feel the same way, svelte. I've had computer crashes before where I had saved what I was working on (for convenience until I finished it) in the HD and lost it (even if the rest of the case was in a separate HD).

In the past few years, NOTHING has been saved to my HD, EVER ...

Even the cache and cookies, etc, are constantly cleared out.

Windows OS's are so fickle. My experience has been that they could crash unexpectedly at any time (not so with MAC OS). Therefore, my personal (and professional) files will NEVER be mixed in with Windows OS and its programs ... ever.

Submitted by Coronita on November 22, 2011 - 12:00am.

bearishgurl wrote:
svelte wrote:
i just use external usb drives. i have four for a total of 4 TB hooked up to my computer. i have another 4 TB for backups that i do monthly before i disconnect and move offsite. the beauty of this is that i simply move the usb to another computer (my laptop, wife's computer, etc) when i need to, or when a computer goes belly up. i don't store any files on the computers themselves...

I feel the same way, svelte. I've had computer crashes before where I had saved what I was working on (for convenience until I finished it) in the HD and lost it (even if the rest of the case was in a separate HD).

In the past few years, NOTHING has been saved to my HD, EVER ...

Even the cache and cookies, etc, are constantly cleared out.

Windows OS's are so fickle. My experience has been that they could crash unexpectedly at any time (not so with MAC OS). Therefore, my personal (and professional) files will NEVER be mixed in with Windows OS and its programs ... ever.

Well, your first problem is that you use Windows....

I never use windows for anything important

Submitted by an on November 22, 2011 - 12:07am.

flu wrote:
bearishgurl wrote:
svelte wrote:
i just use external usb drives. i have four for a total of 4 TB hooked up to my computer. i have another 4 TB for backups that i do monthly before i disconnect and move offsite. the beauty of this is that i simply move the usb to another computer (my laptop, wife's computer, etc) when i need to, or when a computer goes belly up. i don't store any files on the computers themselves...

I feel the same way, svelte. I've had computer crashes before where I had saved what I was working on (for convenience until I finished it) in the HD and lost it (even if the rest of the case was in a separate HD).

In the past few years, NOTHING has been saved to my HD, EVER ...

Even the cache and cookies, etc, are constantly cleared out.

Windows OS's are so fickle. My experience has been that they could crash unexpectedly at any time (not so with MAC OS). Therefore, my personal (and professional) files will NEVER be mixed in with Windows OS and its programs ... ever.

Well, your first problem is that you use Windows....

I never use windows for anything important


Funny, I have the total opposite experience. My Windows 7 computers have been rock solid. My Macbook Pro on the other hand have plenty of spinning beach ball of death as well as Mac's version of BSoD with the 5 languages.

Submitted by bearishgurl on November 22, 2011 - 12:12am.

flu wrote:
bearishgurl wrote:
svelte wrote:
i just use external usb drives. i have four for a total of 4 TB hooked up to my computer. i have another 4 TB for backups that i do monthly before i disconnect and move offsite. the beauty of this is that i simply move the usb to another computer (my laptop, wife's computer, etc) when i need to, or when a computer goes belly up. i don't store any files on the computers themselves...

I feel the same way, svelte. I've had computer crashes before where I had saved what I was working on (for convenience until I finished it) in the HD and lost it (even if the rest of the case was in a separate HD).

In the past few years, NOTHING has been saved to my HD, EVER ...

Even the cache and cookies, etc, are constantly cleared out.

Windows OS's are so fickle. My experience has been that they could crash unexpectedly at any time (not so with MAC OS). Therefore, my personal (and professional) files will NEVER be mixed in with Windows OS and its programs ... ever.

Well, your first problem is that you use Windows....

I never use windows for anything important

Completely agree, flu. I have to send docs to law offices who use WIN OS's and the docs I send must be completely compatible with them (no glitches in opening/modifying/resaving, etc). I know the Macs in the 90's had a "superdrive" that was compatible with WIN OS at the time. If I could find a way to purchase a (used) Mac with these reliable capabilities, the current specialized SW I use would work on a Mac and I could cobble together the $$ to buy one, I would do so in a heartbeat.

Windows sucks.

Submitted by Coronita on November 22, 2011 - 12:24am.

Quote:

Funny, I have the total opposite experience. My Windows 7 computers have been rock solid. My Macbook Pro on the other hand have plenty of spinning beach ball of death as well as Mac's version of BSoD with the 5 languages.

Neither. But I have two cartoons for you. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-22EpQOm...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id_kGL3M5Cg

Submitted by an on November 22, 2011 - 2:07am.

flu wrote:
Neither. But I have two cartoons for you. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-22EpQOm...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id_kGL3M5Cg


I'm a big Linux fan myself. I've been trying to replace my Windows with Linux every year for the last 10 years. Can't seem to fully jump over though. There's always an app or two that I need that Linux just doesn't have. It' getting better every year, but it's not quite there yet. Mac is not as stable like Linux and doesn't have all the UI nicety like Windows (expanding windows from any edge, double click of the top bar to maximize, maximize = maximize, drag windows to the left edge of the monitor span the window to 1/2 of the screen, etc., I can go on but the list is way too long), so, I feel like it's the worse out of the 3.

Submitted by svelte on November 22, 2011 - 7:59am.

i haven't had a single crash with win 7 after running it 10 months. i have had 2 or 3 freezes, but i have attributed that to hw issues (maybe incorrectly, i don't know).

i do know that for the mountain of money i save buying hw and sw that is much much cheaper than apple or linux counterparts, i can put up with a few more problems and i'm not sure i even have more problems at this point. that's just me.

i don't use external usbs due to sw crashes but due to hard drive failures, which are much more devastating.

Submitted by an on November 22, 2011 - 9:46am.

svelte wrote:
i haven't had a single crash with win 7 after running it 10 months. i have had 2 or 3 freezes, but i have attributed that to hw issues (maybe incorrectly, i don't know).

i do know that for the mountain of money i save buying hw and sw that is much much cheaper than apple or linux counterparts, i can put up with a few more problems and i'm not sure i even have more problems at this point. that's just me.

i don't use external usbs due to sw crashes but due to hard drive failures, which are much more devastating.


HDD failures is the biggest reason why I don't take care of my own back up. Although, I do have plan to put a RAID 5 on my main box, on top of the online back up. HDD failure is so much more devastating than SW crashes, like you said. SW crash and you just restart. HDD failure and your data is gone (unless you pay big bucks to try and recover the data from the platters, that's not a guarantee either). I find external drives are even more prone to failures.

I agree on the price difference between PC and Mac as well. For the price difference, I can toss on a few more drives and run RAID 5, which gives you even more data protection.

Submitted by all on November 22, 2011 - 10:31am.

AN wrote:
Mac is not as stable like Linux and doesn't have all the UI nicety like Windows (expanding windows from any edge, double click of the top bar to maximize, maximize = maximize, drag windows to the left edge of the monitor span the window to 1/2 of the screen, etc., I can go on but the list is way too long), so, I feel like it's the worse out of the 3.

Mac touchpad is major productivity booster and with Lion you can grab any edge to resize a window (and with some tricks if you hold option or ctrl simultaneously, but no win+left/right arrow for snap-to-edge like on Win7). What I don't like are the tools. Having to use Xcode 3.xx after VS2008 was frustrating experience.

+1 for dropbox and for turning down 100M+ offer from Steve Jobs.

Submitted by afx114 on November 22, 2011 - 11:12am.

Seconding Backblaze. They've been nothing short of amazing. Cheap. And their recent update with auto-throttling really improved things. I used to notice when it was running because my internet would slow down, but not any more. Now it's almost invisible, you don't even notice it's there. I have a massive media library, with nearly a terabyte (that's over a thousand gigs for the non-techies out there) of data backed up with Backblaze for $10/month ($5 for each of my wife's and my own computers). And it's unlimited so I could back up another terabyte of data for the same price if I needed to.

http://www.backblaze.com

I have tested file recovery with them and it's a breeze and worked as expected. Luckily I haven't had to do a full restore yet, but I like the option of paying to have them ship you an entire drive with all your files on it.

Another benefit is their "Locate My Computer" tool. Works similar to iOS' "Locate my iPhone/iPad/MacBook". Basically, if someone steals your computer, Backblaze is still running in the background and you can use it to locate your lost/stolen computer. They have a story on their blog where a theif was taking pictures of himself with the built-in webcam, and the pictures were being uploaded to Backblaze without his knowledge. The owner could see the files being uploaded to Backblaze, which gave him plenty of evidence to take to the police to catch the guy and get his computer back.

The only bummer, but it's true of all cloud backups, is that it took literally a month running 24/7 to complete my initial backup of 600+ gigs. Once the initial backup was complete though, the incrementals are minor, quick, and hardly noticeable.

Note that I use Backblaze as a backup to my backup. My primary backup is still a local external drive using Time Machine. That's always been enough when I've needed to restore an older file revision or rebuild a file-system (which I've had to do more than once). Time Machine has been more than enough. But it's obviously not enough if the house burns down or I get robbed, which is why Backblaze gives me the piece of mind I need.

Submitted by an on November 22, 2011 - 11:40am.

captcha wrote:

Mac touchpad is major productivity booster and with Lion you can grab any edge to resize a window (and with some tricks if you hold option or ctrl simultaneously, but no win+left/right arrow for snap-to-edge like on Win7). What I don't like are the tools. Having to use Xcode 3.xx after VS2008 was frustrating experience.

+1 for dropbox and for turning down 100M+ offer from Steve Jobs.


I HATE touchpad. Always did and always will. I like my mouse. I turn up my mouse sensitivity to max, which allow me to get around the screen with very little movement. With touchpad, I have to move too much, and I don't like that. It's fun seeing people taking over my mouse without asking me (so I can turn down the sensitivity) and freak out because they don't know where the mouse went.

I don't have Lion, so I didn't know they finally implement that feature. But I'm glad they did. Windows and Linux have that feature for well over a decade now. There is a 3rd party app that let you snap to edge like Win7, but you have to pay ~$20 for it.

I totally agree about XCode. XCode 4 is much better than XCode 3, but still light years behind Visual Studio AND Eclipse. Also, the fact that XCode 4 for Lion doesn't work on Snow Leopard is retarded.

Submitted by Rich Toscano on November 22, 2011 - 12:18pm.

Great post afx... you pretty much summed up my experience as well. Like you, I use Backblaze as the secondary backup, with Time Machine as the first line of defense.

Submitted by an on November 22, 2011 - 12:21pm.

Rich Toscano wrote:
Great post afx... you pretty much summed up my experience as well. Like you, I use Backblaze as the secondary backup, with Time Machine as the first line of defense.

Thanks guys for vouching for Backblaze. I will definitely consider it when my Mozy contract end.

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