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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.

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

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