I have been thinking about using one of the many online/cloud services for backup. I have plenty of photos (200+ GB) and also other important documents I don’t want to lose. Today I have them mirrored on an external USB drive, but in case something happens to my place, like fire or burglary, that drive will most probably also be gone. So an online service would make sense.
There are a number of contenders out there. Carbonite and Mozy are perhaps the most high profile ones, because of their advertising. Mozy just switched from unlimited storage to plans where you pay more if you store more.
Carbonite still offers online storage for $59/year, but they don’t support backups of large files (4GB+), don’t include video files by default, and don’t support external drives. There are also bandwidth restrictions. Up to 35 GB you get full speed, then it drops to 512kbit/s up to 200 GB. After that the bandwidth is throttled down to 100 kbit/s. An online calculator showed that 250 GB would take me 83 days to upload.And I actually have closer to 400 GB that I want to backup. Both services also lack a Linux client, the clients are only available for Windows and MacOS.
However, I stumbled on a new service yesterday, called CrashPlan.Not only does it cost about the same as Carbonite, at $5/month or $49.99/year, they also claim not to have bandwidth restrictions (throttling). In addition they have clients for Linux and Solaris, as well as apps for Android and iOS.
But the really cool features are some that Carbonite and Mozy does not have, and that to me are very useful. You can backup not only to the online storage on the CrashPlan servers, but also to external USB drives, network drives or even a friend across town or in another country. You can create different backup sets, and have them being backed up to different places.
I installed the client at home, and created a few backup sets. My photos are backed up to my external 1.5 TB Seagate drive, as well as to the CrashPlan servers. My documents and images (like icons and graphics I use for my Notes/Domino applications) are backed up to the online storage only. My MP3 files are backed up only to the external drive.
I also plan to setup CrashPlan on my sister’s computer in Sweden and backup my photos there. The files are encrypted on the external drive and at the friend/family member, so they can not see the filenames or the content.
I think this combination of backups in multiple places is brilliant. I am currently using the 15 days free trial, but I intend to purchase theservice in the next day or two, if it lives up to the promises.
Update: CrashPlan is now $59.99/year or $5.99/month for the cheapest unlimited plan. Details here. Also, something both me and other noticed is that the upload does take time, about the same as Carbonite. So they have some kind of bandwidth limitation, but it seem to be constant, or possibly they just have so much traffic that their bandwidth is not enough.