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We started putting all of important data on an external drive.

But now, what if that drive fails?

So I was thinking, we should have a backup of the backup, somewhere online.

What service would you recommend as a cheap service to backup our external (networked) drive in the clouds?


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closed as off-topic by fixer1234, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, DavidPostill, Kevin Panko, Simon May 30 '15 at 19:52

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm pulling this from my answer to another SU question:

The goodness of backup solutions (from best to worst):

  1. multiple offsite + [multiple] onsite - Best possible solution
  2. Offsite + onsite - Great for nearly all uses (computer melts and takes your backup with it, you just get your data from off site)
  3. Single offsite - Alright, could be better (what if their data center--or your safe deposit box--gets taken out by a hurricane or meteor?)
  4. Onsite only - Worst working backup (only protects from hardware/software/user faults not disaster/theft)
  5. No backup - Don't come crying when you lose your data

I use and like Mozy for backing up into the cloud. I'm using it for all of my documents, configuration files, scripts, photos. Anything I can't just download again. I also really like Jungledisk, but it does get more expensive as your data gets up there in quantity. I don't backup my purchased media (unless it's from Apple) as I can just download it again.

Using either Mozy or Jungledisk you can encrypt all of your data such that even your data stored on their servers is compromised, it would need to be decrypted. Because of the length of key each service uses, decryption is compute intensive and you only really have to worry about the NSA (who--let's face it--are going to get your data if they want, no matter what).

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+1 Nice explanation of the different backup options. I'm between 1 & 2 myself (one offsite, multiple local) – Grant Palin Jan 21 '10 at 22:26

not a fan of 'the cloud' myself, i always buy external drives in pairs and keep 'em synced. it doubles the prices alright but it serves me well.

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At home, I use a Drobo -- a 4+ drive enclosure that automatically puts it into a RAID setup (1 if you have two drives, 5 if you have three or more, and 6 for some higher models). Also allows you to swap drives for higher capacity ones should you need to expand. I highly recommend that.

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RAID is not a backup! :) – Molly7244 Jan 21 '10 at 18:33
+1 molly. it's worth repeating: RAID is NOT a backup! – quack quixote Jan 21 '10 at 18:34
Hey I'm just offering something that nute is used to doing already w/out too much cost overhead. @Molly :: buying pairs of external drives and keeping them in sync'd is the same as RAID1 – Glen Y. Jan 21 '10 at 18:38
technically, its slower than RAID1, and not automatic, but you don't have to degrade the device/array to take one drive offsite. – quack quixote Jan 21 '10 at 18:40
The biggest downside of this solution is that if there's a disaster (flood, fire, earthquake, etc) you are hosed because even though you have multiple copies, they're still on site in the same place, RAID or dual disk either one. – BBlake Jan 21 '10 at 19:24

Depending on how much data your backing up using an online backup solution can be prohibitively expensive. If you're backup up more than a couple gigs it's going to be way cheaper to just buy several external HDs for backup. I backup around 300 GB of data - price that out for online storage (it's crazy expensive).

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That would be $4.95/month on Mozy, ~$60/month with AWS+Jungledisk, $45/month with Rackspace+Jungledisk, $9/month with rsync+dreamhost and $4.58/month with Carbonite. And you're protected vs. theft and disaster. – Tyler Jan 21 '10 at 19:05
300GB, hah. Got here about 1.5TB of artwork and scientific data. – DarenW May 10 '11 at 3:15

Let me start with a comment for future readers because so often I bump into people who do what I'm about to describe. Drive space getting low, dump important things onto an external and call it a backup, if you are moving things to the external then it is no longer a backup, but primary storage. In that case (not necessarily yours because I can't be sure how to interpret "started putting").

If it is indeed a backup, meaning it is a duplication of things active on your hard-drive then you are somewhat safe because the only problem is if both drives go bad simultaneously. Which isn't impossible, especially if you live somewhere that has lightning (or thieves).

to be doubly safe, I still like multiple local backups, in which one is swapped out on occasion and put in another location. In the end it costs less and the speed of restoration is much better. Even if the other location is just in another room (yes I know this is susceptible to the whole house burning down) it is better than potentially losing everything.

My favorite is an inexpensive NAS hidden away, using an NTFS file system so if the box goes bad I can still pull the drive.

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