Backup Solutions: Choosing


In June 2013, I investigated various online backup solutions, and decided on a hybrid solution: Use the free 5GB of iCloud and then backup the rest to DreamObjects.

That didn't work out.

  • boto-rsync only uses file-size to decide to update a file. There'd be too many false negatives for my comfort level.
  • I was still using DreamHost Backup which uses rsync proper, and the first 50GB were free. At that price, it was irresistible.
  • If I used duplicity, I wasn't comfortable (yet) with the cost associated with the incremental backups to DreamObjects.

It's a new world. And it became time to revisit my remote backup strategy.

  • Windows 10 will support Bash soon! This means I could use the same rsync scripts from each of my devices whether Raspbian, other Linux, Mac OS, or Windows. (And without having to use cygwin!)
  • "If you're not the customer, you're the product." I observed this fact when I used OpenPaths, and its service became unavailable. And again while I was backing up to DreamHost Backup, and it was discontinued. No more free remote rsync for me!

And then I discovered I don't know why I hadn't noticed them before, they've been around for years. It turns out that theirs is the service that I've been waiting for.

  • I'm the customer. I pay for the storage, so they're accountable to me. I've only heard good things about their customer support.
  • And as far as rsync itself is platform agnostic, so is their service. And I'm already using rsync for local backup on all my computers. Setting as my remote backup was very easy.
  • I already treat confidential data specially, so even on local disk it's encrypted.

I'm really happy with, and my Windows environment is going to be even more straightforward when I can use Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). The devices I'm still not certain about are the family's phones. Here's what we're doing so far.

  • We're doing rare full phone backups to local computers.
  • We're using Google Photos apps to sync photos more frequently from the phone to the cloud. (We're Google's product. It's a deal with the devil, I know.)
  • I use a different source for Contacts and Calendar data, and the phone is merely a sync target, never a source.

Two oddities that WSL might make better

I have to have two strange lines of code because I use CygWin and rsync to back things up. Applications like PuTTY, which store preferences in the Windows Registry, and FileZilla which store preferences in %APPDATA% need special treatment.

I copy PuTTY's settings to my Documents folder.

regedit /e "%USERPROFILE%\Docs\PuTTY.reg" HKCU\Software\SimonTatham

I backup FileZilla's settings explicitly.

rsync $(cygpath $APPDATA/FileZilla)

Who knows? Maybe there'll be another update about my backup strategy in the future.

Photo by Jill Laurie Goodman / CC BY-NC 2.0

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