Cloud Backup Comparison

I used to use Crashplan. This was about $150 a year, but I could to 5 machines. I used to do 5. I had

  • My desktop
  • My wife’s laptop
  • My daughter’s laptop
  • My laptop
  • My son’s laptop

This changed as my boy decided he didn’t like his data with ours. My laptop died and had to be rebuilt, so I use OneDrive/Dropbox for stuff I need and assume everything else will die. I essentially keep nothing on the laptop I need. My daughter has also gone to the cloud for things she cares about, so we’re down to:

  • My desktop
  • My wife’s laptop

I’m going to assume 2TB of storage needed. I’m sure I have > 1TB already and I’m not taking less pictures.

This post looks at choices and evaluation of the options. Your process may be different, but hopefully this helps.

The Choices

I asked for recommendations and got these.

These are a combination of software and services. The software will just back up your machine, but you need to arrange storage separately. The service backs up your data to some vendor that manages it, which is what Crashplan did.

I’m torn here. I’m not sure which I want. As much as I’d like the control, I also like the convenience, especially for my wife. I don’t want to be helping her find files on S3 or the Google Cloud and restore them. While she’s technically savvy, she doesn’t want a hassle here.

Let’s break them down first.

Software

There are two choices that are software: Arq and Cloudberry. These systems work by running on your machine as a process and performing a backup at regular intervals. It’s essentially a server software, but one that runs on your desktop or laptop.

I looked at Cloudberry years ago, as they have a SQL Server module that will move your database backups to the cloud.

Arq Backup was recommended by a few friends, and it has some nice features. It keeps multiple versions of files, and backs up whatever you want, as long as your computer can see it. Arq works with Amazon cloud, S3, Glacier, Backblaze B2, Google Cloud storage, Dropbox, basically anything. Arq also lets you hold encryption keys, so you have control of your data.

Cloud Storage Pricing

If you use your own software, then you need to pay for storage separately. Since I have a lot of images and video, I need lots of space. If I look, I see these vendors as choices for me:

The cheapest storage isn’t really quick access or online. It’s colder storage that can be slow to restore. That’s fine. It’s what I need. All of the storage tends to be /GB/mo, so let’s look at 2TB as a round number. I have close to that in pictures and video now. If I look at this, I get:


Provider Monthly cost 2TB Ingress
Google $14 Free
Glacier $8 Free
Backblaze $10 Free

This is similar. Egress costs money, but the first few requests are low, so that’s not a big deal. In a crisis,  I can spread out retrieval.

Pricing

Arq costs $50 per machine, so that’s $100 for me.

Cloudberry costs $49.99/user, so that’s $99.98. However, this is for a 1TB limit. If I want to go to 4TB, then I’m $300/user or some complex, move stuff from one machine to the other.

Cloudberry is out here. They manage the files in the storage (as an image), and they limit this to 1TB.

If I were to store 2TB with Arq, I’m looking at this for a 1 year cost:

Provider Monthly cost 2TB Total, software + 12 months
Google $14 $268
Glacier $8 $196
Backblaze $10 $220

These aren’t bad, and having Backblaze use on line, not cold storage is tempting. So far, Arq + Backblaze is running.

Using the Cloud

I guess they’re all the cloud, but two of these are service providers. Carbonite and BackBlaze, offer a service. I setup an agent on my machine, it backs things up, manages storage, and I just pay the vendor. That’s what I have with Crashplan and I’ve been happy. Let’s look at these two.

I used Carbonite at one point. They are popular, lots of people like them, and they offer all the items I’d get from the software. They say unlimited space, so that’s good, and they offer encryption. I’m dependent on them because I don’t get external access to the files, just through their interface.

What I dislike is they try to make the service simple, but they don’t provide a lot of details. I feel like I’m running around, trying to understand more about the service. That’s annoying.

Backblaze is similar, offering a plan with unlimited backup, and I assume, their own storage location. I can get a zip download for restore, or a flash or hard drive mailed. The HDD can be up to 4TB. That’s cool. It’s $200, but still. Backblaze also offers a “missing or stolen” computer location. That’s interesting.  I can also file share items that I’ve backed up.

At first glance, Backblaze is better.

Pricing

Carbonite has a deal with people leaving Crashplan. They’ll move you over for $30/year rather than the normal $72.

Backblaze has no real offer, though in a blog post they say  I can try this for free. After that, it’s $5/month or $50/yr.

Let’s compare:

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Provider Monthly cost 2TB Total, software + first 12 months 2nd Year Two year total
Arq + Google $14 $268 $168 $436
Arq + Glacier $8 $196 $96 $292
Arq + Backblaze B2 $10 $220 $120 $340
Backblaze Backup $10 (2 users) $100 (discount) $100 $200
Carbonite $5 (2 users) $60 (discount) $144 $204

In this scenario, if I look, I see Backblaze as the cheapest option, and potentially the cheapest over time. It also has the advantage of convenience.

I’m going to go with Backblaze and set up an account. I get a 15 day trial, and I’ll see how things go during this time. I plan to let the backup run, also do some restores, and some file shares to see how things are working. I’ll also set up my wife and then report back.

About way0utwest

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9 Responses to Cloud Backup Comparison

  1. Dave Wentzel says:

    why not use something OSS like owncloud/nextcloud (they are binary compatible)? You run a small linux server or use your NAS (it likely has oc/nc on it) or a docker container. This acts as your DFS analog. Then every device (android, apple, win, mac, chromebook, linux) get a client that is much like dropbox/1drive. Tell the clients to sync up to your server. Then mount s3 or wasb as a drive on the oc host and sync that. Or, have it be a “mesh” where your wife backs up your stuff via the oc client. Everything is under your control so if your kid doesn’t want you seeing his porn stash, he can control that, yet still ensure he doesn’t lose it (or…he can ensure it’s available on his phone too). It’s like a cheap/secure bittorrent client, kinda. Or run the oc server/container in the cloud directly. For a standard A series vm to host this in azure, plus the storage, you are looking at $25/mo or free if you have your msdn credits.

    disclaimer: I’m a oc committer and fanboi.

    • way0utwest says:

      That first sentence (question) is already more complicated than I want to deal with. Certainly I could setup a Linux server or do something, but I’d like to have a simple solution. The kids live in the cloud with pictures and docs, and they’re fine. This is really a simple solution for my wife and I. Already I’ve got a Raspberry PI running as an ad blocker and it flips at times, which causes all sorts of issues. Counting on some other solution to manage is asking for more work and time from me that I don’t want to dedicate.

      I’m a firm believer that something will break when I least expect it. When it does, I won’t have time to fix it. That happens all the time here. I don’t need something else on that list.

    • Dave Wentzel says:

      I can’t seem to reply to your reply to my reply but…re “Certainly I could setup a Linux…but I’d like to have a simple solution.”

      I get it. I really do. When I first needed to learn Ruby I actually downloaded gitlab’s source code and began to become a contributor. I used that as an oppy to learn something new.

      At some point learning Linux and containers is gonna be mandatory in our profession. When I needed to learn docker I actually learned by converting my gitlab installation to docker.

      Point is: setting up oc on docker running on windows is literally a half day project even if you know none of those technologies. Or about 20 mins if you know some docker. oc works perfectly for the use case you elucidated above and is exactly why I chose oc prolly 6ish years ago and it has NEVER failed me. And the beauty of oc is if it does go down for a week, you’ve still got your files locally.

      But I totally understand your position and won’t deduct street cred points for your decision.

    • way0utwest says:

      If it were setup, that wouldn’t be an issue. I have Ubuntu VMs for SQL, and I’m semi comfortable in Linux. The issue is more that any solution needs to be maintained. I need to count on the container or VM or host running and always backing up. I need to be sure it doesn’t fail, hardware or software, and that connections are up. I’ve had a windows home server before, one that sent things to Glacier. The problem is I don’t use it daily, and didn’t expect to set up monitoring or maintenance. It would go down at times, which means backups didn’t run.

      Now I have a service that runs, and I’m on the machine daily. If it dies, I know about it because I get errors. I also have a reminder in email if there isn’t a backup for a few days. It’s a hands off solution, which a DIY choice isn’t.

  2. rsterbal says:

    Thanks for a nice review of a problem I’ve had to contend with over the years. I’m using a combo of Dropbox, google photos, amazon prime photos and flickr. This works well for a very heavy photo backup situation since google and amazon provide free photo storage.

    • way0utwest says:

      We have a lot of stuff auto going to Google Photos and Amazon, but it’s not necessarily something I want to count on. This is a second backup of that stuff. Right now, I’m in the habit of pulling down some photos at times and dropping them in a folder, just in case.

  3. Greg says:

    I’m using backblaze B2 from my nas and it’s brilliant. Very simple to setup and only a few cents per month. If you take the option to have a disk sent to you to restore from you can get your money back by returning the disk when you’re done

  4. Pingback: Testing BackBlaze Restores | Voice of the DBA

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