Research into online backup tools

Update 2008-11-06: I have been using JungleDisk for multiple client systems including Linux, Linux servers and Windows. It works very well, is much cheaper for large data sets than DataDepositBox. The downside is its relatively week sub-account management compared to DataDepositBox. But for the 400 GB of storage I now have the savings using S3 make the transition worth it. The deciding factor for me was the support for all three environments I required; Windows, Linux servers (no GUI) and Linux GUI.

Based on my limited time to test the only tool that meet my needs was DataDepositBox. It just worked. I vastly prefer the way BackupRightPro handles versions (it even knows a file was deleted and marks it as such), its failure to reliable archive data was a problem for me. IBackup/IDrive also had issues reviewing the files and I could not get versioning to work. Mozy Pro was just too slow and unreliable.

Details

  • JungleDisk RECOMMENDED
    • Uses you Amazon S3 account (required)
    • Clients available for Mac, Linux, Windows (and a USB key client)
      • Command line mode for head-less Linux servers (very nice!)
      • A reseller version is available although it is not as powerful as DataDepositBox version
      • JungleDisk offers a white-box and custom solution. The custom solution pricing is not know to me
    • Supports multiple computers per S3 bucket
    • Supports encryption, including optional file name encryption.
    • Can mount a drive via FUSE for Linux, WebDav or as a Windows disk.
    • Has issues backing up pipes and symbolic link files for Linux. I work around this with a special pre-scan script.
    • Excellent customer support
  • Like all S3 based systems it can be hard to know your exact costs. Currently my bucket related list operations cost more than bandwidth. But still far less than other solutions tested.

  • DataDepositBox GOOD SOLUTION
    • $2/GB
    • - Only has clients for Windows, but does appear to work in a virtual machine
    • + Client is easy enough to use
    • + Supports versioning, up to 28 versions. There are controls to prevent backing up changed files too often.
    • + Web interface is easy enough to use
    • + Supports multiple accounts and departments each with their own user name and password.
    • - There are no quotas on sub-accounts (bad)
      • - Cannot brand the site easily
    • - No email reporting for backup monitoring
  • - Deleted files are not automatically marked as removed from the online backup set. There is a cleanup operation but that permanently removes the files! I prefer a mechanism that marks the file as deleted (like version control) but retains it.

  • Mozy Pro
    • - I installed the Pro and Free version on two client systems. Neither client system reliably performs backups. They usually fail after a lengthy time, typically at 16% or so. That’s bad
    • + Cheap
  • - Slow, and I mean REAL slow

  • IDrive-E
    • $0.2/GB (very low price)
    • Similar to IBackup which is their parent service, at 1/10th the cost
  • - Has sub-accounts, but each account is its own subscription plan

  • IBackup Pro
    • $2/GB (versions do not count towards total)
    • + Supports Windows, MAC and even Linux via rsync (cool!)
    • - Backups worked, but on restore I could not always select an individual file within a directory. Instead I had to select the directory and restore all files. Very annoying.
      • On a restart the files were visible and could be selected
    • - User interface is cumbersome and confusing, especially for a newbie.
    • ? Supports versioning but I am not sure if it is 28 version, 28 days or 20 days. The site is very hard to understand.
  • + Supports sub-accounts but at $5 each for some plans. Sub accounts can be given limits as to space available

  • BackupRight Pro
    • $2/GB (do multiple versions count?)
    • + Has clients for Windows, Mac and Linux. Lacks rsync support but the client is usable
    • - During installation I skipped backup setup wizard. That proved to make the program unusable. A re-install fixed that. More testing needed
    • + Performs scheduled backups and supports versioning. The application interface feels very clunky. THe web interface is a little better. Selecting the version is quite easy/
    • - Lacks an on-change backup option. Not a huge issue as I am not sure I want to use that anyway
    • - Lacks sub-account creation but allows multiple backup sets. Not sure how it handles multiple systems. Web site is lacking in details.
    • + Sends email reports on backup/restore status. This is very cool
    • + Deleted files are RETAINED in archive and shown as deleted (grayed out). This is the proper thing to do.
    • - Accessing the shadow copy failed on some directories, not sure why but it prevented backups from working!
    • - The user interface has problems. Adding a new backup set becomes impossible on occasion and the only fix is to uninstall and reinstall.
      • - Cannot be uninstalled via the Add/Remove Programs control panel. There is an uninstall available in the same folder as the program.
    • - May be due to running under Altiris, When installed directly multiple sets could be created, but shadow copies would still fail occasionally
  • - No way to cancel an account online!