[kwlug-disc] Linux friendly Online Storage / Backup

Chris Irwin chris at chrisirwin.ca
Mon Feb 6 11:43:01 EST 2012

On Sun, Feb 5, 2012 at 01:27, Colin Mackay <zixiekat at gmail.com> wrote:
> Good day fellow LUG members,
> I recently (today) had a scare with my backup drive and nearly killed
> all my photos trying to RAID one of my drives...
> Anyway, it got me thinking about online storage and I was looking for
> some recommendations from the KWLUG group.  A GUI is alright, but I'd
> prefer a command line tool to run nightly backups that can be resumed
> each night if it runs too long.

You didn't say how much data you wanted to back up. That alters the
cost considerations considerably. For example, I currently back up
about ~800GB of data, but only *need* 500GB of it. I can only expect
this number to grow as we've started taking larger photos and more
videos now that phones have decent cameras.

I currently use two 1TB drives I bought for $90 a while back (they
became cheaper since then, and then more expensive again with flooding
in Thailand). I rotate the drives every week, taking one to work, and
bringing the other home. Saturday night my server backs up to the
swappable disk, and Monday I take it to work. Total cost, about $200.

However, I'd much rather a backup system I don't need to rotate (I
forget now and then). So I priced some options (I did this during the
holidays, and am recapping from memory). I probably missed a decent
provider or two.

* Tarsnap: Encrypted locally so it is trustable. Looks simple and
cool. Cost is $0.3/GB/mo for storage, and the same for transfer. That
means storing 500GB will cost $150/mo, and just as much to initially
get the data there or out again.

* Duplicity: Can use S3, but since I could find no mention of pricing,
I assume this is self-managed S3. Which is more work, but doable.
Plain S3 storage is $.14/GB/mo, or $70/500GB/mo. It looks like data
transferred in does not incur a cost, but transferring out is $.12/GB
up to 10TB. There is also a price per request, I'm not sure how that
works (it probably depends on how duplicity stores its data).

* Spideroak: It has a GUI and is cross platform. It costs
$100/100GB/year (it is priced in 100GB increments, with the first 2GB
free). In the same units as above, $42/500GB/mo (if bought on the
yearly rate). Their pricing structure is different as I believe they
run their own infrastructure, rather than using S3. Also, as far as
billing is concerned, 501GB is the same as 600GB. Has some pretty nice
multi-machine and dedup support.

* Linode: I have a linode VPS already. I can apparently only add an
additional 12GB of storage, which is slightly insufficient. Besides,
where would my Linode server back up to?

I'm currently setting up spideroak for my parents. They have less than
100GB of data, and the spideroak client will allow a few folders on
their laptops to be kept in sync (similar to dropbox) in addition to
backing them up. Their current solution (my old NAS in their basement)
is not replicated offsite (though I could probably rsync it to my
home). Also, the NAS failed to power on after a power outage, and they
had not noticed that their backups were not working. I went the NAS
route after they didn't ever use the USB disk I had set up. So a nice
hands-off online solution is ideal for them.

However, for myself, I have not found an affordable online option.
Even for the cost of spideroak, the cheapest listed here, I could buy
three 2TB drives at today's inflated prices for less money. I could do
that *every year*. I could buy new large drives for offsite storage
every year, then take my old backup drives to upgrade my local RAID
capacity, then take my old RAID drives and sell them on kijiji for
$30/drive, then laugh in a rather maniacal fashion as my storage
capacity grows faster than my needs for once.

Chris Irwin
<chris at chrisirwin.ca>

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