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Data Storage The Internet

Online Backup Solutions? 422

Posted by Cliff
from the just-so-long-as-you-back-up dept.
OmnipotentEntity asks: "I'm an IT Manager (and also a lifeguard, don't ask) for a small private club. Recently parts of our server's RAID went bad just as Hurricane Dennis hit, making life a living hell for me and everyone involved. So, I figured perhaps backing up information online would make stuff like this less incredibly painful. A quick browse of Google will show that there are a lot of businesses offering automatic, offsite, online backup solutions. It seems it's becoming a big thing. The largest problem is that they all look alike -- same implementation, similar websites, it looks like someone came through this part of the Internet with a cookie cutter, and by the information available on the website and pricing (which may or may not be available without filling out 100 forms) I can't tell a good company from bad company. I've never had any experience with any of these companies, and I wanted to know if any of you guys had, and if so what were your experiences with them? What are the things to look for? What are the things to avoid? Am I barking up the wrong tree?"
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Online Backup Solutions?

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  • Backups online (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hansele (579672) * on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:18PM (#13138795)
    Be really careful with this. What happens if the provider gets hacked?
    • Re:Backups online (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fjornir (516960) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:19PM (#13138814)
      There's this really, really neat thing called 'encryption' you might want to look into.
    • Re:Backups online (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ReverendHoss (677044)
      Compare with the probability of the locally stored data being hacked.

      A reputable company should have better network security than "a small, private club". With some due-dillegence in checking out the company (beyond "Ask Slashdot"), the threat of hacking shouldn't be a reason to avoid online-backups altogether.
    • Re:Backups online (Score:3, Informative)

      by skalcevich (701019)
      I use external USB hard drives with 400GB storage per drive. Swap drives at locations weekly with a spair set. Fast no reaccuring costs and does the job. Tapes are too slow, online is too slow / cost can be a lot for a lot of data.
    • Or goes out of business.
    • Re:Backups online (Score:3, Informative)

      by avronius (689343) *
      If the time required to restore ALL of your data using 10% of your currently available bandwidth exceeds the amount of time to drive in a copy of your data from the next city/town/state, a physical backup solution remains your best option.

      if ($timeToMoveDataOverWire * 10) > ($timeToShipDataOverLand) {use removable backup media}

      I use 10% as a number, as if there is a weather related reason that your business is offline, there is a good chance that other businesses in the area are suffering from the same
      • by arete (170676) <areteslashdot2 @ x i g .net> on Friday July 22, 2005 @06:15PM (#13140529) Homepage
        Time to get the backup back up is a valid consideration, but it's not the only one. How easy it is to MAKE the backup (and therefore how current it will be) is arguably more important because having more frequent backups IS more important. Driving to a different town every day is probably not an efficient use of your time unless you can't get enough pipe to xfer just the changed files. Hence online backups.

        If you're paranoid then run your own backup host over ssh at a trusted someone's personal connection. But there's no solution superior to online backups if the incremental changes in files can be met with 100% of your extra nightly bandwidth. Try backup PC on sourceforge. Try using more than 1 at different locations.

        Parent has a good, but different point: If you have a lot of data it's going to take a ton of time to get it back up. If this is likely to be a problem, then by all means find faster ways to ship your data. One way would be to drive and get whichever of your mulitple backup machines is closest. (If you only have 1 backup machine make a copy to take with you and leave the original where it was)

        But another way, especially if you don't have access to the online backups, is to drive a harddrive full of stuff somewhere. IF your backup provider can do an restore from a partially recovered backup (ie, rsync) you can keep extra physical backups lying around and still having the online "current" backup to save you. That is, you could bring in your extra HD from a month ago and just rsync the stuff that changed.
        • Good rebuttal arete - some very valid points. My last words on the subject: Larger corporations have an easier time justifying "warm backup" sites. Streaming data (using rsync or similar) that has changed is simple enough, and usually they can afford bigger pipes. In the smaller business market, ISP's often charge based on capacity of pipeline utilized / duration of time / or some other "Penalize the greatest users" scheme (I don't think that is 100% evil, but it's not a friendly business model). While I
    • Re:Backups online (Score:4, Informative)

      by lbates_35476 (901961) on Friday July 22, 2005 @04:40PM (#13139702)
      We use Websafe (http://www.websafe.com/ [websafe.com]). https:/// [https] SSL encryption while on Net and AES-256 while at rest (I have the clear-text encryption master key in my possesion). Also supports WebDAV webfolders via WebDrive service (http://www.webdrive.com/ [webdrive.com]). Comes with free ZBKUP utility that zips data BEFORE it is transmitted and can be scheduled to do lights-out backups unattended via webfolders or you can use any D2D backup you like. Depending on your Internet upload performance you can easily upload gigabyte (compressed) backups during the night. No firewall issues because it only uses https:/// [https] port 443. Cluster of Linux/64 servers power the service. Each storage disk is on separate controller and is mirrored. Backups are maintainted with a grandfather, father, son rotation (nightly) as well. Supports browser access and sharing of individual folders with other WebSafe users. Not the cheapest, but the combination of encryption, collaboration, and ease of use are unmatched.
  • usdatatrust.com (Score:3, Informative)

    by alex323 (901730) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:18PM (#13138797) Homepage
    I've always had good experiences with usdatatrust.com. WHat I like about them is that they backup your data as it changes. I find that to be extremely useful.
  • Offsite Co-op? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kwerle (39371) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:19PM (#13138808) Homepage Journal
    I'm curious to know if there is any kind of off-site co-op. You know - you store my data, and I'll store someone's. Encrypted, blah blah blah.

    Call me a commie - but why not?
    • Not too bad an idea.

      kind of along the lines of "real men backup to the usenet" or something along those lines.

      I'd go for it, but how do you move the data? most people (in the US) are really strapped for upload BW.
      -nB
    • I'm working on this exact thing for about a year now. This revolution may even end up being televised.

      Watch this space.

      • > This revolution may even end up being televised.

        Did you watch TV on the morning of Sept 11, 2001?
        Anybody who says "the revolution won't be televised" is well...wrong. (I know you, mi, aren't saying that.)

    • by 4of12 (97621) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:35PM (#13139016) Homepage Journal

      I was looking for a free application like that a few weeks ago and found this guy's nice write-up of desired features. [66.102.7.104]

    • Re:Offsite Co-op? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dgatwood (11270) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:42PM (#13139107) Journal
      Agreed. Online data storage is hideously expensive. A coalition of businesses and/or individuals doing a shared backup strategy via a bittorrent-like protocol would be far more effective at preventing data loss, for far less overall cost to everyone.

      Of course, that sort of mechanism doesn't help if your purpose is to use backups for historical data retention, but then again, if that's your goal, online backup doesn't make sense anyway.

      What would be nice would be for this sort of mechanism to be sufficiently simple that an idiot can understand it. You specify the number of unique copies (n) of your data based on how much you care about it. In exchange, you agree to store 2n times as many gigs of information for other people on your drives. That space is reserved in advance at upload time, and freed when you tell the software that the backup of that data is no longer needed.

      To prevent abuse, laptops would not be allowed to participate, as the availability of data backed up on someone's laptop is dubious at best. Machines participating must have either a static IP or dynamic DNS (or, ideally, the software could automatically register some sort of free dyndns type name for you).

      During the first 72 hours prior to the backup, the machine must respond to at least 75% of hourly requests for confirmation from other machines that have copies of its data. If it does not, it will be assumed to be a laptop and the data stored will be disposed of after 72 hours as space is needed. This means that you can use it if your machine is dying as a temporary backup mechanism, since the data won't go away immediately, but at the same time, will effectively prevent abusing the system by using it to backup people's laptops.

      After 72 hours, the confirmation rate will decrease to once per day. A host that has been gone for more than two weeks will be assumed to have been abandoned. However, there should be a mechanism for making one machine double as a stand-in for a dead machine for an arbitrary period of time, so long as it provides enough storage to meet the original machine's obligations.

      In addition to confirmation requests from the copyholder, the machine with the original data should attempt (daily) to contact each copyholder to verify that bidirectional connections are possible, thus ensuring that if the data needs to be recovered, it can be.

      Obviously, since all data would be encrypted, the encyption key would be stored in a file on system being backed up. This means that you MUST back up if you ever want to recover your data....

    • Re:Offsite Co-op? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      See BoxBackup http://www.fluffy.co.uk/boxbackup/ [fluffy.co.uk]
    • Well, let's create one :). Whoeevr wants to participate in the parent's coop, reply here :)

      (I use rsync to backup home stuff to work and work stuff to home.... And since rsync only transfers the files that have changed, it doesn't take forever.
      And using hardlinks (cp -al, similar to rsnapshot), I keep ALL dated backups... without consuming N times the space...)
      )

    • Re:Offsite Co-op? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by skraps (650379) on Friday July 22, 2005 @04:00PM (#13139293)

      Oceanstore [berkeley.edu] is exactly what you described. From the website:
      "OceanStore is a global persistent data store designed to scale to billions of users. It provides a consistent, highly-available, and durable storage utility atop an infrastructure comprised of untrusted servers."
    • Re:Offsite Co-op? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jim McCoy (3961) on Friday July 22, 2005 @04:06PM (#13139373) Homepage
      How does this sound?

      You store my data, I will store yours.

      Error-corrected and replicated so that 50% of the cloud could disappear and you would still have 4 or 5 nines of reliability.

      Per-file, content-dependant encryption (e.g. every file gets its own AES encryption key)

      Free accounts have a 10:1 provided vs. consumed ratio (to cover replication and error-correction bloat, with the ratio expected to drop over time) and people who want to buy a better ratio or even not have to provide space can do so.

      Access to data backed-up by any of your systems from any other system you have installed the software on. (No more need to fiddle with system-to-system sync to make sure you have access to all of your files.)

      Sound interesting? If so, head over to Allmydata [allmydata.com] and sign up for the beta test. [Windows only at the moment, but OS X and Linux versions will be available in a couple of months...]
  • great solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by rnd() (118781) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:19PM (#13138809) Homepage
    this [bindbackup.com] is a great solution...
    • From the page:
      it is securely wrapped in an impenetrable 448-bit encrypted envelope
      Umm....sounds like all the claims that Bruce Schnier likes to doghouse.
    • Re:great solution (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dancedance (600701)

      While the data does travel over an Internet connection, it is securely wrapped in an impenetrable 448-bit encrypted envelope to prevent any chance of unauthorized access.

      When companies make claims like "impenetrable encryption" on their front page, it makes me a little bit worried. When they say "448-bit" encryption, it makes me a bit more worried. When that information is the only thing on their site about what type of security/encryption they are using, I don't think I would ever trust my data with th

    • Great solution if you have way too much money.
      Who is going to pay $20/month to store one CD worth of data.

      Really, if we are talking about less that 200G just use a removable drive and a saftey deposit box.

      What I really need is a backup for my 3T array. Find that and I might consider a couple hundred a month.
      • What I really need is a backup for my 3T array. Find that and I might consider a couple hundred a month.

        As long as there's nothing really esoteric about your setup, this is easy:

        - Purchase second 3TB array
        - Purchase hosting agreement with local ISP/hosting provider
        - Rsync changes from live 3TB array to "warm" 3TB array hosted at aforementioned hosting provider on whatever schedule you need (hourly, daily, weekly, etc)
        - Sleep better at night

  • Use gmail. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Garridan (597129)
    Gmail gives you 2.42 gigs of storage, and growing! Never delete anything!
    • by TrippTDF (513419)
      Damnit, Larry Page! Stop with the Gurilla Marketing!
    • Re:Use gmail. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ForumTroll (900233)
      Considering most hard drives sold today are in the 120GB-160GB range I don't think everything is going to fit into 2.42 gigs of storage. Furthermore, you have to break that up into small pieces in separate emails if you want to do this via Gmail. People with large backup files are not going to want to saturate their upload bandwidth in order to perform backups using Gmail, not to mention once it gets over 2.42 GB of storage you would need to span across multiple accounts. This may work for a very small s
    • by mshmgi (710435)
      Great idea ... now all I have to do is open up about 473 gmail accounts.
  • by debrain (29228)
    In a similar vein, how does Apple's .Mac hold up?

    I have never used it, and its data storage limitations (250MB??) are ridiculously small for the price ($99/yr?), given free email storage upwards of 1GB. However, I was wondering what others' experiences were?

    Cheers
    • by iguana (8083) *
      I use .Mac for backing up my contacts, passwords, and a few small things that I don't want to bother finding on my harddrive.

      I can't get it to work through the corporate firewall, it's kind of slow, and it's very small as you said.

      On the plus side, it has very good integration with the native Apple backup utility. I do find a USB HD more useful, though. And a USB HD works well with the Apple backup util, too.
  • by paulproteus (112149) <[slashdot] [at] [asheesh.org]> on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:21PM (#13138836) Homepage
    I'm curious - what is it like being a lifeguard *and* an IT manager? Does the pay compare?
    • by Lev13than (581686) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:27PM (#13138934) Homepage
      I'm curious - what is it like being a lifeguard *and* an IT manager?

      In many ways the jobs are quite similar. Both involve multiple safeguards against the spread of viruses, both deal with sharing limited resources against hundreds of thankless clients, and no matter how pristine you keep either work environment there's always going to be some kid that ruins it by filling your storage solution with shit.
      • They won't let you have drinks back there. I like a Jack & Coke. One time, I saw a Jack & Coke and it had a lime floating in it, and I thought "That's good to know." Next time I'm on a boat and it capsizes, I will reach for a lime... I'll be water skiing without a life jacket and people will be like "What the hell?" and I'll pull out a lime. I'll pull out a lemon too, saved by the buoyancy of citrus! -Mitch Hedberg

        http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mitch_Hedberg [wikiquote.org]

        Rest in peace Mitch....
    • by grammar fascist (239789) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:28PM (#13138947) Homepage
      I'm curious - what is it like being a lifeguard *and* an IT manager?

      I'd guess that every once in a while, he gets confused and tries to give a server mouth-to-mouth or reboot a drowned swimmer.
    • Who cares about the pay if the coworkers are like Baywatch ( http://www.baywatch.com/cast/?castmember=CJ [baywatch.com])
      • Who cares about the pay if the coworkers are like Baywatch?

        I've lifeguarded before. The coworkers are nothing like Baywatch. For one thing, they're human, whereas Baywatch is a television show. For another - and I hope this doesn't come as a shock - reality is nothing like television. Even if they are "like Baywatch," they don't spend much time running and bouncing - more like sitting in a chair under an umbrella, getting POed at hormonal teenage boys who won't leave them alone because they look like a te
      • I was working part time as a lifeguard not long after Baywatch debuted.

        My manager was flipping channels in the break room one day, and happened to stumble across the opening credits. He turned to me with a look of awe and said, "Have you seen this? They're making lifeguards now with their own flotation devices."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:21PM (#13138837)

    The best I've found so far is DataDepositBox.com [datadepositbox.com]. Continous back up for 1c/meg/day. Secure website, download files from it, yadda yadda. Just like every other service I guess.

    In my experience, they had good customer service, a good data center, strong software, and easy set up. Easy set up was important for lazy folks likeme. I tried to do my own offsite storate with a DVDR and safety deposit box. Didn't work so well.

    I run it on two file servers (one for my home and one for my dedicated hosting server) as a service. I back up about 3G of my stuff and pay like $18/month. Hard to beat that. Couldn't find other places that were in that price range.

    • The best I've found so far is DataDepositBox.com. Continous back up for 1c/meg/day. Secure website, download files from it, yadda yadda. Just like every other service I guess.

      Holy crap, at that price they'd better be good!

      I mean gee, if I wanted to backup my work directories on there, which amounts to about 2G, that'd be about 7.5 grand a year, not counting ISP costs. And that's not even close to fulfilling my true, complete backup needs.

      For that price, I'll get a boxful of hard-disks, trays, and a secu
  • by rerunn (181278) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:21PM (#13138839)
    Create backups, then take them home with you if possible. Doing online backups leaves you at the mercy of the provider.
  • Storage Size? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Conception (212279)
    I think online backups won't be the future for anyone. If you have a 400GB raid, and you want to back that up, we're talking a lot of time and a lot of bandwidth to transfer that to the online storage. Tape afaik is still the best way to archive data.
    • Well..

      If you only need the "last good" copy of the data, most services will do a diff backup, so your daily traffic is only the stuff that's changed. Plus, you may be able to set the schedule more than daily, say, hourly, which should make bandwidth requirements pretty even. I have about 1TB of critical data to backup, but on a given day, only about 100-200MB of that changes. After the initial upload that's pretty much a trivial amount of bandwidth.

  • I have no idea how good LiveVault's service actually is, but their advertisement starring John Cleese [backuptrauma.com] is damn funny, and anything but "cookie cutter".
  • IronMountain (Score:2, Informative)

    by pgp4privacy (656621)
    Although pricey, IronMountain offers excellent service in this backup genre.

    http://www.ironmountain.com/Index.asp [ironmountain.com]

    I highly recommend them if you can afford it.

    Aside from that, if you are a smaller shop hit up freshmeat/sourceforge for projects like Bacula and BackupPC...they work well for smaller installs.
    • I'm not sure if Connected was bought by Iron Mountain or if they were always a division, but their backup product rocks. When I was at Cisco I got to learn a bit about it. The way that it works is that during the initial backup you select drives/folders to backup. It then computes an MD5 for each file. These hashes are sent along with filenames to a central server. The server compares those values to existing files in a HUGE database. If the entry is found it merely places a pointer to the file under your u
    • My employer just rolled out Connected DataProtector to everyone (http://www.connected.com/ [connected.com]). They are a subsidiary of Iron Mountain, and apparently use something like rsync to backup up my laptop over a 56KB dial-up connection over my lunch hour. Note that I did perform an initial sync at work over a much faster link which still took a while. I'm still doing a bit of fine tuning, like telling it to not backup directories names 'cache'. I don't know what they charge my company, but the base rate seems to
  • by BaudKarma (868193) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:24PM (#13138877) Journal
    ...but I gotta.

    IT Managers get zero chicks. Lifeguards get tons of chicks. What happens when then two are combined in the same person?

    (unless of course, you are a chick yourself, in which case I apologize for my blatantly sexist remarks)

  • Before the flames start, I want to throw in my two cents.

    I have recently rebuild a few of our servers and noticed the high price of tape drives. It seems like you have to spend a grand to get anything decent. So, I've started to look around at what's available online. I've found livevault.com [livevault.com] and evault.com [evault.com]. Both are offering between 5 and 10 gigabytes for between $100 and $200 a month. So, if I want 100 Gig, the only viable option is to spend ~$2,000 (hardware and software), pare down what I am backing up
    • If you don't mind a little downtime every once in a while, you could buy a set of hard disks to swap in and out, or spend a little more cash and get some hot-swap drives to interchange. Then you could just set up a mirrored raid, and swap out the backup drive every so often, and have the raid controller card do all the work of rebuilding the new drive. Although, that might end up actually being more expensive than tapes, I don't know how much hot-swap stuff runs.

      If you just want backup to a separate machi
    • Tape drives are not realy what you want when your only messing with 100GB. Buy 5 Seagate ST3160026A-RK 160GB 7200 RPM External Hard Drive - Retail 155$ from new egg and it's only going to cost you 800$. You can rotate though 5 full backups for vary good security for the next few years. If you do this I would buy a new set of disks every 2 years but it's still a lot cheeper than going with tape if you not going to back up all that much data.

      I don't know if you want to buy software or just .tar the files
  • by AmiNTT (539586) * on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:24PM (#13138881) Homepage
    For my back ups, I have a fairly simple system. I picked up two tiny (2.5") external drives - about 60 gigs each. I back up data onto one, and bring it to a nearby bank, where I rent a safe deposit box.

    Each Monday, I back a back up to the drive that is at the house (where I work from), and take it to the bank. Then I switch them, putting the newest drive in the bank, and taking home the "old' back up. This gets repeated every week (although admittedly not always on Mondays).

    So far, this has worked for me pretty well.

    Costs? $250 (Canadian) dollars for the drive and $80 per year for the safe deposit box, which also stores all source miniDV tapes from my event video business.

    • If your system works for you, as it apparently does, excellent!

      I can't personally imagine spending the time each week to go to the bank and access the safety deposit box (but perhaps your bank is more efficient and pleasant than any I've known). I do store data that way myself, but not every week, more like once every 2 months. And in the mean time I shuttle automatically backed-up encrypted drives weekly between work and home, as well as burning encrypted DVDs of my most active/daily-use data. I just s
  • by panaceaa (205396) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:26PM (#13138910) Homepage Journal
    My company, a 4000-employee Silicon Valley software company, uses Connected DataProtector [connected.com] to back up our computers. They have both hosted and unhosted versions, our company is hosting it ourselves. It stores a diff of everyone's computer every day (or some other increment) so that people can back up their computers from any point in the past. I'm just getting started using it, but it looks pretty cool and it was incredibly easy to configure (as a user).
  • Google it (Score:2, Informative)

    by op12 (830015)
    Not specific companies, but comparisons. Here's a good comparison page...though the page is slow loading already :)
    http://www.consumersearch.com/www/computers/online _file_storage/reviews.html [consumersearch.com]
  • I would avoid online providers. Too many things can go wrong, least of which is theft of data.

    Which option works for you will depend on what level of accessibility you will need.

    If you just need to get access to the files in the event of server/site destruction and you can easily re-create the system and just need to re-import the data, then a cheap option would be to get some virtual hosting space or a racked system with tons of storage and a low cost data connection, depending on your quantity of data

  • by tacokill (531275) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:26PM (#13138917)
    So, umm, how long - exactly - does it take to upload 560 GB over a broadband connection?

    Actually, you'd better make that 560 + 560 GB because I may want to back up my OTHER PC as well.


    I realize I am being sarchastic but I am always confused by "online" backup simply because it doesn't make much sense from a practicality standpoint. A semi-modern PC has a minimum 40GB sized hard drive. And it only goes up from there. I've been online for quite sometime and while things have gotten MUCH better, with respect to bandwidth, it still takes a LONG, LONG, LONG time to transfer huge amounts of data. Note, I am not talking about your 4.5gig ISO image. I'm talking 20 of them. In a row.

    From my point of view: it's dead. Please enlighten me, if you experience is different.
    • by pthisis (27352) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:38PM (#13139069) Homepage Journal
      A semi-modern PC has a minimum 40GB sized hard drive. And it only goes up from there. I've been online for quite sometime and while things have gotten MUCH better, with respect to bandwidth, it still takes a LONG, LONG, LONG time to transfer huge amounts of data. Note, I am not talking about your 4.5gig ISO image. I'm talking 20 of them. In a row.

      Most businesses don't care about backing up all of your pr0n and music. For a lot of places, if you back up documents, email, and source code, you've got the core business stuff--and that's often fairly small. You do a full local backup of the servers, have a standard image of the desktops, then do web backups of a few directories nightly (e.g. all files on some samba share, a source repository, email). The web backups are rsync'd (or equivalent) so only the day's changes are transferred.

      It's not ideal, but for a lot of places it works. Of course, they often find out after a crash that employees _weren't_ storing everything in "Work Documents" folder like they're supposed to.

      For home use I usually just do hourly snapshots to another machine at home (I keep every hour for the last week, and the 4 previous weeks, and montly for 6 months, and then just yearly) with something like:

      http://www.mikerubel.org/computers/rsync_snapshots / [mikerubel.org]

      With nothing automated for off-site backups (though I do keep a handful of critical documents off-site by hand).

      I cheat and do the initial rsync on local disk, only incremental stuff goes over the network.
    • Remember that not everyone is limited by some crappy 256K upstream from consumer-grade cable or DSL. It is very possible that someone has a fairly decent Internet connection. A full T-1 would be sufficient for doing most backups. Also remember that most of these places charge based on storage used, so you would only want to use them for the important stuff, not for your 559GB of pr0n. I would say the average small-to-medium business, the ones that would need this sort of solution, probably only have a f

    • Basically, it works based on sythetic backups. You have to picture that the server machines are running something like CA's ArcServe or Veritas Backup/Replication Exec 10. Both of these products use a back up methodology which although different in implementation does perform functionally realitvely equivelent things. For example take Veritas which is basically the industry standard. What they do is essentially take a snapshot of the storage and only backup those files that have changed. From those weekly
    • So, umm, how long - exactly - does it take to upload 560 GB over a broadband connection?

      On the order of a week. But how much of that data changes on a daily basis? For most users, maybe just a few tens of megabytes or less. For a small fraction of users who generate tens of gigabytes of new data every day which absolutely must be backed up, offsite online is not the best solution. But it works great for everyone else. And it is still useful for the most critical fraction of the heavy data user's data
    • "A semi-modern PC has a minimum 40GB sized hard drive. And it only goes up from there. I've been online for quite sometime and while things have gotten MUCH better, with respect to bandwidth, it still takes a LONG, LONG, LONG time to transfer huge amounts of data."

      Well, you have to keep in mind that it's really only necessary to back up those parts of your hard drive that can't be replaced using an automated download from alt.binaries.pictures.erotica, so for the typical geek that means only storing about
  • Gmail (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slideroll (901934)
    Some people are using Gmail as an online backup system [ilia.ws]
  • Online backups are a great idea, but not always feasible. If all you've got is (relatively) tiny word/excel documents to backup then you're fine. But if you're editing huge video files for example, and changing them each day, then you need huge bandwidth to keep backing up the modified file every day, and you'll probably also be paying a premium to store all the incrementals of those huge files.

    It might be old fashioned but tape really is pretty cheap per GB.

  • Good Solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pastpolls (585509) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:27PM (#13138932)
    We have offices in two cities, and on top of our tape backups, we backup to each other. City one backs up via VPN and data encryption to City two, and visa versa. we are actually two seperate companies with the same parent company, so we encrypt the data (even over encrypted VPN) just to be safe from the prying eyes of people on each end.

    True story: We both run Citrix servers, and one time we had a data loss at my location. Within an hour, we restored our database and application to an extra server at the remote location and used Citrix to connect our users here to the main database. I could then work on restoring from tape, without the pressure of true downtime, just inconvenience time, which I and management can tolerate.
  • Find them here [attix5.com]. They'll back up your entire site and then only backup diffs after that if you wish - saves bandwidth and time. And their server reliability is second to none (yeah I know companies are singular :)).
  • While it would be a lot more convenient to have someone else taking care of your backups, I daren't think of how much it will cost you! I don't know how small you are, and how much data you are looking to backup, but unless it's on the order of multiple terabytes, you should consider setting up your own remote mirroring. "Empty" (ie OS free) RAID boxes really are surprisingly cheap, especially for a Tb or two. If the mirror is purely for backup purposes, you could just keep it in the room next door. If you
  • Well, for the ultimate in control, you could do it yourself. That's fairly easy if you're running Linux - 'cron', plus 'gpg', plus 'scp' is relatively simple and secure. You just need a server at a managed hosting provider like Rackspace or ServerMatrix.

    Windows may be a different story. I have been toying around with the idea of releasing some software that let's you do something similar in Windows. I've written some peer to peer backup software [pensamos.com] that will let you share backups among the computers in y

  • There are companies that provide offsite storage. We used Iron Mountain. They'd stop by daily and pickup a locked box containing our backup tapes, and drop off a box containing the set coming out of rotation to be recycled. The tapes are taken to their secure facility for storage.
  • Industry standard disaster recovery involves off-site storage of data on tape/dvd, or other media in a *SECURE* location. Most on-line data storage is by its very nature insecure. Data transfer in general over the web is risky. If you are talking about customer information, this is still very taboo.

    Purchase a safety deposit box at your local bank and setup a rotation(daily, weekly, etc..) of cycling you media to and from.

    OR, get in touch with another local business person in your area and setup mutual
  • by fava (513118)
    Just use rsync to a server in your home every night via dsl or cable. I have done that for the last 4 years and have about 60 gb of offsite storage.

    If the work server would die or be stolen I simply drive home, pick up the entire server or just the drive, bring it back to work and set it up. Total down time is a couple of hours.

    Total cost was $0 for an old Pentium 100 server, $100 for a 120gb drive and $40/month for the cable internet.
  • and then throw copies of your hard drive into the pool, they'll be able to ride out any storm :)

    Seriously, though, I haven't had much experience with the online data backup solutions, but depending on the sensitivity of the data involved, I would be more likely to do local backups to an external USB drive that you can just unplug and take with you, rather than one of these 100% off-site, online backup services. That being said, if you're not too worried about the privacy of the data, then the offsite guys

  • by dduardo (592868) on Friday July 22, 2005 @03:39PM (#13139076)
    We'll handle the rest.
  • They have some nice tools you might want to look into. The company I work for uses WanSyncHA for Exchange, and so far the clients have not noticed that the main Exchange server has had a drive blink out a few times. At which point I take the server down to swap the drive out, everyone just went about their business on the secondary Exchange server. Then when I was ready, brought the main one back up, and failed it back over to the main server. All done. www.xosoft.com They have stuff for replicating b

  • 1. Purchase computer with RAID
    2. Purchase internet connection to another location (your home, perhaps)
    3. Backup encrypted data to RAID server over internet.

    It's safer than taking the backups home with you once a week (no transit loss if you employ good encryption, no damaged drives/tapes, etc). It can be more reliable, depending on the connection you pay for. If you want to cut costs, get a cheap fast DSL - if you want a fast recovery drive home, copy the data to a drive, and drive back.

    It can be
  • Rather than trusting some other provider to do this, why not roll your own? Use rdiff-backup and set up two backup servers. One of the backup servers resides locally, the other resides in a remote datacenter. They both run nightly differential backups of your data.

    It's not that expensive to get a server rented at a data center. Just need to have enough bandwidth and storage space. This gives you redundancy and a reasonable amount of control over what's happening. If you need greater redundancy get mo
  • by chipster (661352) on Friday July 22, 2005 @04:01PM (#13139310)
    http://www.connected.com/ [connected.com] Works perfectly - and it's faster than hell. The restore feature is unreal.
  • I'm not going to go into much detail, but I'm looking to backup about 400G online/offsite, weekly.

    Most of what I've seen so far is "toy" solutions that don't scale up to 400G well, or cost $2k-$3k per month for that amount of data...
    Neither of those will do.

    On the advice of a friend who is a certified Disaster Recovery specialist, I think I'm going to build linux based "backup appliances" with SATA arrays for each of our remote offices, back up all the data locally to the array and then replicate data bet
  • by gardyloo (512791) on Friday July 22, 2005 @04:40PM (#13139704)
    It's been said before, but it's a great one:

    Encrypt everything, then name the files something like "OMG_Hilton_XXX.avi" and upload to Kazaa or LimeWire or something. In 10 years you'll still be able to find copies.

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson

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