Changing up the backup systems again…

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post talking about how I was going to improve the backup systems at home. In short, for my server, I was switching from physical backup tapes to virtual tapes replicated offsite. For my main PC, I started using Windows 7’s Backup & Restore to back up my system to a TrueCrypt file container on a hard drive I would store at the office. For the most part, it has worked pretty well.

Unfortunately, the friend who was hosting my offsite server backups suddenly found himself unable to do so any longer. I needed to find a new place to host my server backups, and I resigned myself to the fact that if I wanted to make sure my offsite backups were securely stored offsite and available on a 24/7/365 basis, I would likely have to pay a service to do so. After checking several online backup services, I decided to give Amazon S3 a try. I set up an account with it, configured my backup replication scripts to work with it, and then initiated a test run.

Unfortunately, something like thirty-six hours later, the upload was still proceeding and showed no signs of being anywhere close to being finished. I grudgingly terminated the upload script and wrote off S3 as a viable solution. Fortunately, after doing some searching for a online backup service provider that had Linux support (and didn’t require a GUI), I found EVBackup, a provider that had decent pricing and full support for Linux servers. I quickly set up an account, reconfigured my backup replication script to use it, and fired off an upload. The backups were replicated quickly and efficiently, and within twenty-four hours all of my server backups were uploaded. Fortunately, future replications will only upload those files that have been changed. That’s one weight off my shoulder.

While I was searching for an online backup provider for my server, though, I became interested in some of the options for Windows. Not only was bringing home the hard drive weekly for my main system becoming something of a chore, I wanted to put something together for my wife’s PC. Of the several choices presented, I ended up going with Backblaze. Backblaze allows for unlimited storage per PC and backs up continuously, and costs at most $5 a month per computer. I tested using my own PC, and so far it’s worked fine; considering the size of my iTunes library, it’s no surprise that even after a few days the backup is only just now over halfway done. Once that initial backup is completed Backblaze will only transfer the changed files, so I shouldn’t expect to need to upload a full backup once this is done. Also, Backblaze does a good job of automatically throttling upload speed so that I don’t notice any latency at all (unlike when my main server is uploading a full backup offsite). Once the initial backup is completed on my PC, I’ll set Jennifer’s PC up on Backblaze and get it backed up. :-)

All in all, I think the backup systems now are more improved, especially on the workstation end where I don’t have to worry about manually bringing home a hard drive once a week. It’s also made me make some changes to my data retention (with some prodding from Jennifer), where I’ve deleted a LOT of data I no longer use in order to save space on backups. Time will tell how much better it’ll work out, but for now I’m content with the changes, and happy that my data is just a bit more secure.