Backing it up

November 18th, 2008

Some time ago I got the WD MyBook (1TB) (which btw I can only recommend, especially, if your Mainboard contains an e-SATA interface) to backup all my data. Running ViceVersa every 2 or 3 days works like a charme for me.
While local backups might help in case of a (main) harddisk failure, they leave you with nada in case of a fire or burglary, which is why one shouldn’t just distribute your backups amongst harddisks, but also geologically.

This is where online backup services come in handy. And there’s plenty of them, which makes it hard to decide who to entrust with your sacred files. Fortunately, some people already did the work and made some great charts that enlist all the benefits and downsides of the individual services.

What I was (and still am) primarily looking for is:

  1. unlimited free online storage
  2. no filesize limitations
  3. client software that does incremental backups
  4. webinterface to access my data from anywhere

Point 1 of my wishlist seems unreasonable and ridiculous at first but there’s indeed one service (Mediafire) that will give you unlimited free storage space. The downside is that the filesize is limited to 100 MB and there’s no client software, making the service more of an “upload and forget” type’o thing.

Crossing “unlimited storage space” off of my wishlist, I went for the “next best thing” and looked into Oosah, which gives you 1 TB of free storage space. However, they limit the filetype of files you can upload/backup to “media files” only and also lack support for incremental backups.

Next in line is ADrive, which actually met all my requirements from above and therefore seemed like it hit the bulls’s eye. However, their “backup software” is merely a modfied FTP client that WILL DO incremental backups, but is terribly slow in doing so. I could live with the speed, but on top of that the software doesn’t seem to support UTF-8, which results in some of my file names (those with special/german characters in them) being truncated, cutting off the extensions and thus making them directories. *dropped*

I could go on an on about how I tried Humyo (30 GB with sign-up; 25 GB must be media files), Windows Live Mesh (5 GB for free) or Orbitfiles (6 GB for free), but to make a long story short….none of them met my demands.

Frustrated I dug through the comments of the lifehacker article, and was about to put down some money on Jungle Disk (a per-GB-per-month backup service hosted by Amazon’s S3 service), which seems like a good, reliable deal if you’re willing to pay for backups. But then again, I don’t….at least yet :-)

Instead, I went with an old friend of mine: Wuala. While their interface (written in Java) is indeed one of the worst out there and they only provide you with 1 GB free online storage when you first sign up, you can trade in some of your harddisk’s GBs against online storage space. If you provide Wuala with e.g. 10 GB of your local harddisk (which is then used to store encrypted data of other Wuala users) and your computer is online at an average of 80% of the day, you will recieve 8 GB of online storage…simple as that.
On top of that, Wuala provides filesystem integration (maps your wuala account as a network drive), which enables me to use any backup tool (ViceVersa in my case) that I would normally use for local backups. Wuala will cache the files I copy onto the “Wuala drive” and successively upload them. You could even go as far as storing all your files on the Wuala drive and working with them as if they were local.
They also have a (Java-) webinterface that enables me to access my files from any computer.

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4 Responses to “Backing it up”

wuala has indeed the worst interface and is way to “big” when it comes to quick usage. my favorite is “dropbox”. you just get 2gb free though, but it comes with all the other features mentioned. it does incremental backups (on mac os x u have to take advantage of symblinks but thats easy to do) and even monitors all of your delete files for ever (as far as i understood). you can also use the “public folder” to hand out url´s of date ment to be published to someone. and if u need more space u can buy some…

@ronald
you’re right. dropbox isn’t bad either. But the 2 free GB ain’t gonna do the trick for backups, plus, with a free account, your files may get deleted after 90 days (from dropbox’ Account Pricing Terms: Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, if a Free Account is inactive for ninety (90) days, then Dropbox may delete any or all of Your Files without providing additional notice.). Other than that I might actually look into their 50 GB deal for $9.99/month. Sounds fair.

Check out these online backup reviews:

http://www.backupreview.info/category/reviews/

http://www.backupreview.info/category/our-reviews/

I’m kind of into Mobile Me. I know it is just for Macs and ist is quite expensive, but you get a seamless working solution (besides, the little trouble they had in in the beginning.).
It gives you 20 GB of storage – 10 standard, but you can raise your storage by taking another 10 GB from your mobile me email account, wich i don’t use anyway. But the main benefits are synchronized bookmarks, adresses, calendars and even system settings, profiles and passwords.
I use a stationary Mac in the office and a notebook at home, so it is a great solution to get synchronized systems and all your date in the cloud. But it is not just a great one for getting to Macs synchronized. My Notebook crashed a few weeks ago, so i had to order a new one. I took me only minutes to get all my old settings and data back. And without using a cloned backup with all it’s slow and sluggish dead links and never used programs. You can also get access to your bookmarks, data, adresses and calenders from any online computer by just logging in on me.com.

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