The Guru College

Backups

Code 42, the makers of Crashplan, recently announced they were Leaving aside the insane economics of letting users store as much as they can, from up to 10 computers, for $14 a month, and allowing network shares to be backed up, it appears that doing small business backups is a more profitable market. planning to exit the consumer market. Current customers can continue using their subscriptions as long as they are valid, and they are being extended by 60 days in all cases to let people find the exit. As I’m (or, I guess, was?) a Crashplan for Home customer - and have been since at least 2011 - this means I’m in need of a new solution.

As much as I’m tempted by the idea of moving to yet another unlimited at least until we discover the problem with that plan provider, I’m starting to seriously think about using something like ARQ to upload and preserve my datasets to pay-as-you-go cloud storage providers. The best known, of course, is Amazon S3, but there are many others, and ARQ supports a crazy list of them. If I go down this route, I’d also look into something like duplicity or borg to backup my fileserver.

I have something on the order of 6 TB of data I’d like to preserve. The first 1TB is frequently changing data that is critical to be able to recover. The next TB is critical but changes very infrequently, and the rest is my photo archive, which never changes, and is only needed if my house burns down. The appealing part of using ARQ, borg, or duplicity (or tools like them) is the data can be tiered out and costed separately. Multiple versions for rapidly changing datasets in standard S3 buckets, and larger archives in either S3 Infrequent Access, S3 Glacier, or Backblaze B2 storage, as it costs far less, and my access pattern for that data is very different. It looks like I can get my costs to come in close to \$35 per month, which is a bitter pill to swallow when compared with my old deal of $14/month, but it’s not going to kill me.

The best part about this plan is that there’s no fear of the providers going away - at least not in the sense that Crashplan has. I’m tempted to look at the Backblaze desktop client itself - $5/computer/month with unlimited data - but that unlimited part worries me. Internet history is littered with the remains of companies that have promised unlimited storage, and have had to either withdraw the plans or fold completely. I’d much rather pay as I go, know where my storage lives, and know how to move it somewhere else when that time comes.

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