Hello backups my old friend


(Greg Robson) #1

(^ to the tune of The Sound of Silence)

After Code42’s announcement that Crashplan Consumer Edition will be ended - a lot of the Internet is either facing paying $12/month per machine (up from $5) for unlimited backups on single machine or having to move to another cloud backup provider.

After wrangling with different options (and seeing what others are doing on Twitter) I’ve settled on Backblaze. I’ve not gone with their $5/month unlimited “for one machine” option as it’s cheaper for me to use their B2 file storage system. The B2 storage system is 75% cheaper than S3 per GB (equates to $5/terabyte/month!). They’re quite open about their architecture and platform, they regularly publish stats on hard drive failure rates which is always interesting. They have their own bespoke system and run drives in groups of 20 with 3 as parity. (RAID 6++ of sorts!)

For the purpose of sharing/discussion here’s my current plan (always handy to expose backup strategies to critique as well :wink: )

  • Installing Cloudberry - free if you don’t want encryption (200GB limit) or $29.99 for 1TB limit and encrypted backups. (I’m happy with free for now, most of my “daily files” fit under 200GB.
  • Adding two Backblaze B2 “buckets”…
  • …A) for backing my C drive and current work using Cloudberry.
  • …B) for backing archive photos (RAW format you space hog!) and videos to.

Bucket A will be populated via the B2 software
Bucket B will be populated using rclone (basically, rsync for cloud filesystems). I’ve tried B2’s own command line tool and it was dropping connections occasionally. rclone provides tools for hash comparison to verify storage. Backblaze allows the B2 buckets to be mounted on Windows with tools like Mountain Duck - Cloudberry Drive does something similar.

Even with storing old versions of files from my C drive I reckon I should be looking at no more than 600GB in total - $3/month once it’s all there (and that might take a few weeks even with Virgin 100Mbit as the upload is only 7Mbit). I’ve also decided that iCloud (£0.79/month) and Google Drive (£1.59/month) paid options are not really being used so I can scrap them. Both of them along with Crashplan ($5) were costing me a total $8/month. Doing some maths on that means I should save about £47/year, which easily covers a Cloudberry upgrade.

Importantly: I will still be doing my regular backup to my trusty external hard drives (two in rotation - one stored with family off site, other other at home) to fulfil the 3-2-1 strategy - 3 copies, 2 local, 1 offsite. My old drives are 500GB, they should be big enough for now (no point upgrading as there’s always a bigger drive available tomorrow at a lower price).

This should cover me for future use: a weekend of photography using JPEG and RAW formats can easily eat 5–10GB at a time, I might start recording screen casts as well soon, so space will definitely be eaten by that!

Questions for the community:

  • How much are you backing up?
  • How?
  • Have you tested it recently???

(Greg Robson) #2

So far I’m uploading around 6.4Mbps - near Virgin Media’s limit. Not bad considering that Backblaze has been receiving a lot of attention today. CrashPlan was never that fast!


(Andy Wootton) #3

The words of the profits are written on the abandoned server-room whiteboard?
“Stuff has to be paid for, somehow!” ?


(Greg Robson) #4

Indeed, you think it would have been obvious a long time ago for them though? I know MS introduced a 1TB cap on their offering as they said that a small percentage of users were taking a liberty by storing 50TB+ (similar to the 80:20 principle, although I imagine it was nearer 95:5!)

So far I’m happy: I’m uploading at a rate of 2.5GB/hour which is near max for the 7Mbit upstream (it’s photos, I imagine small files might be slower). :grinning:

rclone ran through the night and continues to run solidly with only 66MB of RAM in use. I’ve got it pumping out stats to a log file that I’m tailing in LogFusion. Looking good to get most of the stuff sorted over the weekend :slight_smile:


(Andy Wootton) #5

They go in free as a loss leader and establish an innovative market then the big kids join until they go out of business then they charge whatever they like. Monopoly 101 :frowning:

We have to find generic low-friction ways to pay small businesses or we can’t have services that aren’t Evil.


(Greg Robson) #6

Indeed. It might be a decision that comes back to bite CrashPlan… many of their home customers are tech consultants who are now advising their clients to move away based on the lack of trust in company’s management.

I think “end of subscription + 2 months” was a bit harsh depending on how much subscription you have left (there’s a no-refund policy as well!)

Code 42 Software could have said that CrashPlan sign-ups were suspended and said there would be a two-year period to allow people to switch. In all likelihood 80%+ of customers would have migrated in less than 6 months 95% by the end of year one. They would have got rid of their loss-making customers and would have offended very few people.

(rclone is still running like clockwork! Love it!)


(Greg Robson) #7

Oh and this was the text in the email from CrashPlan (emphasis mine)

Thank you for being a CrashPlan® for Home customer. We’re honored that you’ve trusted us to protect your data.

It’s because of this trust that we want you to know that we have shifted our business strategy to focus on the enterprise and small business segments. This means that over the next 14 months we will be exiting the consumer market and you must choose another option for data backup before your subscription expires. We are committed to providing you with an easy and efficient transition.

I don’t think people trust them as much now!