Online Backup Options

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Labhras, Nov 6, 2016.

  1. Labhras macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    #1
    Hi all,
    I have a 2014 13" MBA and backup with Time Machine on an external drive.
    I was looking at online backup apps, and it seems the best ones, excluding iCloud Drive, are Backblaze and Crashplan.
    I have read bad reviews of both, currently I have a 50GB iCloud storage for my iPhone backups.
    I wanted to know if you feel that a second online backup would be a good choice, and if so, considering that both Crashplan and Backblaze are at 5$/month, which one do you think would be the best choice for the available features.
    Thanks for your help
     
  2. HDFan, Nov 6, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016

    HDFan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #2
    I use both Crashplan and Backblaze. Just be aware that if you are backing up terabytes of data (in my case ~9 TB) the initial backup can take months. Can't remember exactly how long mine took, but it was in the 3 - 6 month range. My sense is that Backblaze does the initial backup much faster, but for some reason iStat Menus didn't seem to show Backblaze network activity during it's initial backup so I can't confirm that and I don't remember how many months it took.

    Backblaze has a list of files that it excludes. The default list includes directories such as Applications, Library, and System but you can easily change them. It also has a list of excluded file types that it will not back up:

    wab~,vmc,vhd,vdi,vo1,vo2,vsv,vud,iso,dmg,sparseimage,sys,cab,exe,msi,dll,dl_,wim,ost,o,qtch,log,ithmb,vmdk,vmem,vmsd,vmsn,vmss,vmx,vmxf,menudata,appicon,appinfo,pva,pvs,pvi,pvm,fdd,hds,drk,mem,nvram,hdd

    You can edit this list.

    Crashplan doesn't have such a complex exclude list.

    Crashplan is more configurable. For example Backblaze just allows you to backup continuously, once per day, or manually. Crashplan has a continuous option, but a "between hours" option as well. You can also specify the verification intervals, frequency and versions. etc. I believe Crashplan will also manage backups to a local disk.

    A Backblaze restore can be done via a zip file, in which case the system preferences pane which controls the program directs you to their website where you select the files to download. Once the files are ready they send you an email.

    They will also send you your files on physical media. They charge $99 to send you a zip drive which handles up to 128 GB, or $189 for a 4 TB drive. If you return the drive within 30 days these charges are refunded. You are responsible for shipping charges.

    Crashplan restores are handled within the Crashplan application via download. I saw no option for a physical media restore. This could be a significant issue if you are restoring terabytes of data. I tried a small ~1 GB restore and it took about an hour. That means a complete restore of my ~9 TB would take over a year.

    I have had a coupe of technical issues with Crashplan. The default amount of memory which is allocated to the program will handle up to about 1 TB of data. If you are backing up more you have to edit the configuration file to allocate more memory, which is not a big deal.

    Because my backup set is so large the default verification configuration takes such a long time that a new verification starts before the last verification is completed, so no backups are done. I changed my verification period to 3 weeks and that fixed the problem.

    I rate Crashplan's support as excellent as the two issues above were immediately resolved by support. Backblaze support was also good the one time I used it.

    You might also consider SOS backup. I believe that it's initial backup is faster than Crashplan or Backblaze. However it turns out that my 12 cpu nMP breaks their program, so I can't confirm that. This would not be an issue for systems with fewer CPU's. I would rate their support as excellent as they have been very responsive in working with me to resolve the problem. Development just hasn't figured out what it is yet, but that should only deter people who are running 12 (or maybe 8?) cpu systems.

    So Backblaze is a bit simpler to configure, but I am a little nervous about all of the exclusions. But a full restore would happen a lot faster via physical media than with downloads. I prefer Crashplan's configuration options, and the fact that it is an app rather than a system preference panel. However disaster recovery might be a problem due to the slow restore speed. SOS Backup looks encouraging, but I unfortunately am unable to evaluate it at this time as it won't run on my system.

    The general rule is that you want to have 3 backups on 3 different media types (such as tape, disk, or at least disks from different vendors) in 3 different locations. I don't remember actually having to do a restore from Crashplan or Backblaze, but it is good to know since it's been 110 years since one of our major faults (the San Andreas) slipped. When it does all of my equipment is going to be thrown over 9 feet. I just hope it's not against a wall or thrown at me ....
     
  3. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    #3
    Thank you for your answer :)
    Well, not considering my Time Machine drive I have a 2TB HDD mainly filled with photos, documents, etc. and that's it. I do have an older 2TB drive but I migrated the stuff I needed to the new one, so I don't think there's much I need on it.
    My MBA has a 256BG drive so the total to backup would be less than 3TB I think.
    Seeing as you mentioned the slow download speed from Crashplan, does the zip download with Backblaze have the same problem or is it quicker?
    My drive travels with me so this would be a "just in case" backup - drive failure, fall or whatever accident might happen.
    The editing of the excluded files list means I can include them in the backup? Taking a look at that list though, it's mainly games and virtual machines extensions? Dmg is excluded, but if they backup Applications that shouldn't be a problem...
    Also, I read that Backblaze offers help in recovering a stolen laptop - does it work better than Find my Mac?
    It sounds they're both pretty good but Backblaze is better for large data restore.

    So far my method is a TimeMachine backup on one drive, a selected backup on my other one, and the online would be the third.
    Well, I hope you won't be there when stuff gets thrown around... ;)
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #4
    I can't speak to BackBlaze since I have not used it, but I have used CrashPlan and would encourage you not to use it. Here's why.

    1. Their app has a bug that causes problems if you are using Time Machine at the same time. What happens is when they push out an update the old version of the app get moved into the hidden folder /.MobileBackups.trash and cannot be deleted... causing the folder to grow and grow. I reported this bug to CrashPlan a couple years ago and they promised a fix, yet the bug persists. See my and others comments in this thread and this thread. If you Google "/.MobileBackups.trash crashplan" you can find Internet posts from 2016 with people STILL having this issue.

    2. The OS X CrashPlan app is a Java app. You previously had to download and install the Java runtime to use the CrashPlan app. They now include the Java runtime along with the app bundle, so you no longer need to separately install Java.

    3. Related to #2. In 2012 CrashPlan Tweeted they were coming out with a native app that did not require Java. Still crickets.

    I switched to using the app Arq to backup online to Amazon S3 servers. It costs me about $1.50 a month to store around 40GB of data on their servers. You can also get an unlimited Amazon Cloud Drive for $59.99 a year if you have a lot of data. I am always able to fully saturate my 10Mbps upload speeds using this setup.
     
  5. HDFan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #5
    A quick 1 GB download from Backblaze was faster initially, hitting 18 Mbps. However once it was about 1/3 of the way it slowed down to Crashplan speeds. I would guesstimate that it was about 1/3 faster due to the initial uncapped speed. So a series of short restores may be faster, but once you get to long files not much difference.

    If you remove an excluded item from the Backblaze exclusion list it should be backed up. Haven't tested.

    Didn't know about Backblaze "Locate My Computer". Tried it and it was right on. Wondering how they do it since Backblaze doesn't have access to GPS. Didn't think you could locate a computer that closely using just IP.

    I have had issues with Time Machine in the past where I tried to do a restore and the backup was corrupted. Now I run TM to two separate disks so if one is corrupt I still have the other one available. Actually as I write this I am doing an initial Time Machine backup on one of these disks. I had removed it temporarily and added it back, and for some reason TM didn't figure out that there was already 2.4 TB of data there and backed up another 2.4 TB. The 6 TB disk filled up in a few weeks. Since I still had the other TM disk I didn't have to worry about losing anything by wiping the disk.

    Running TM and Crashplan for years I've never seen the problem of /.Mobilebackups.trash. I ran sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g / and looked in ./Trashes and nada. I vaguely remember something about a large file somewhere but can't remember the details. At least one large file might be expected as it constructs its list of files to backup.

    Weaselboy - why are you concerned that Crashplan may be a Java app? There are so many apps that require Java ....

    I use Arq to backup to the unlimited Amazon cloud and the initial backup is glacially slow. It's been running close to a year and still isn't complete. I switched to Arq because the native Amazon backup app crashes on my system, which as I mentioned isn't unusual. I logged support calls multiple times and they promised to respond and never did so I would rate Amazon Cloud support as unacceptable.

    I'm wondering if the reason Weaselboy's backups to Amazon are so fast is because he is using Amazon S3. Glacial storage for 9 TB is $756 a year which is for me prohibitive. Restore jobs take 3-5 hours. However 2 TB glacial is only $168 so that might be an option.

    I tried an SOS restore (briefly, before it had time to crash my system) and it looks as if the restore speeds are the same as the upload and restore speeds for all of them - in the 1 - 2 Mbps range.
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #6
    Being a Java app always made the app sort of slow and clunky to me, plus the issue of having to keep Java updated was annoying... although that is not an issue now since they embed Java in the download. I can't think of any popular app that is a Java app any longer. I think Azureus/Vuze migt still be? The years of false promises of a native app incoming plus the /.MobileBackups.trash issue was the final straw for me.

    Could be. My uploads are always very fast. Are you using Amazon Glacier? The advertise that as more of an "archive" service for infrequently accessed files, so maybe it is throttled more?
     
  7. HDFan macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #7
    --- Post Merged, Nov 7, 2016 ---
    I'm using the Amazon Cloud Drive $69 yearly unlimited backup, not S3. I'm thinking that since S3 is their business and premium service that they don't throttle it .... ?
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #8
    Yeah... could be.
     
  9. ignatius345 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2015
    #9
    I do a monthly full clone and keep that offsite. Time Machine is still on on an ongoing basis, and Dropbox/iCloud is backing up some key files continuously. Basically, if my apartment got hit by a meteor tomorrow, I'd have my last monthly full backup, and be able to get pretty much everything else that had been updated since then back from cloud sources. I'm pretty happy with the setup, and in the event of a full restore I'd have all my data within a couple hours (which includes going to my office to get the backup drives). The total amount of data I have is in the 2TB range, which is a LOT to do over purely cloud-based services.
     
  10. rshrugged macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    #10
    Arq has a lifetime update option at an additional charge. Any experiences with, and/or thoughts about, the company? (Don't have to be specific to the lifetime update feature. That's secondary to your impressions of Arq, the company.)
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #11
    From what I can tell Arq is a one man operation, so I suppose if he gets hit by a bus, that would be the end of the app.

    That said, the dev. has been very responsive. I reported a bug once on a Saturday morning and by Sunday afternoon, he had emailed me a new test built to test with the bug fix. He seems to be good about adding features also. For example, when Google Nearline and Amazon Cloud Drive each came out, he rolled up updates so those were both supported pretty quickly.

    Based on all the positive reviews I read, I did buy the lifetime license.
     
  12. rshrugged macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    #12
    Thank you, WB.
     
  13. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    #13
    Sorry for the absence - though Arq as far as I understand it is a vector you can use to store backup in your preferred way, while the others above mentioned have their "own storage".
    I wonder, does having an Amazon Cloud Drive comes with any added benefits over the other two choices in your experience, WB?
    Since at the moment I don't play with Virtual Machines so the majority of the Backblaze excluded files aren't a problem, and I have a total of 256GB Mac + 2TB Drive I want to completely backup, what option would you suggest?
     
  14. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #14
    I like the Amazon Cloud Drive setup with Arq because it gives you not only backup, but can also be used like Dropbox to sync files between devices.

    I also like Arq because it is more configurable than other apps. For example, you can backup everything to Amazon Cloud drive if you like, then also use Arq to backup to another local drive or NAS device, then also do something like maube backup your Documents folder to a free 5GB Google Drive account. It can do all that at once.

    You can get a free trial version of Arq, and also a free three month trial of Amazon Cloud Drive. If I were you, I would set up Arq then test for a week or so to see if your like that setup and it the speeds are going to work well for you. Does not cost you anything at all to test, then you can reject it if you don't like it.
     

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