What Is Your Offsite Storage Solution?

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in ask on (#3KZ)
We're talking data here, not your funky old couch and cassette collection. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is reviewing six solutions for stuffing all your data in the cloud [1]. He reviews Amazon CloudDrive, Box, Dropbox, GoogleDrive, OneDrive, and SpiderOak. He then concludes, lamely , "I can't tell you what the perfect cloud storage is because there's no such thing. It all depends on your needs."

OK, so the article was clickbait, and I'll stick with my current back-up solution: burning lots of DVDs, labelling, and then mailing them offsite in case my house burns down. I'm guessing the Pipedot community can do better: what offsite services do you use and recommend? Any providers you'd avoid? What's the best option for a small business hoping to maintain access to docs from different locations and systems? What's the best option for a homebody nerd making sure his carefully curated collection of .. um .. downloaded images stays backed up in case of catastrophic hardware failures at home?

[1]Footnote: Interesting article, but also a test of whether you have successfully installed this browser plug-in .

Rolled my Own (Score: 3, Insightful)

by commonjoe@pipedot.org on 2014-05-16 19:53 (#1P4)

I'm also someone who can't imagine the house burning down or flooding (or what if both??).
Most of my friends and family got hit by Katrina. I happened to live out of state at the time so almost everything I had was ok. (Almost.) Nearly everything they owned was gone: out of print sci-fi games and comic books, priceless heirlooms and wedding albums and family pieces, vehicles and houses.

Back on topic: I back up on hard drive and swap out hard drives between my apartment and a lock box somewhere off site. There is always at least one hard drive off site. I rotate at least once or twice every two weeks.

I've dealt with my personal files and backups of those of a two small businesses. I was so sick of backup programs that failed (and I've broken every single one I tried), I finally designed my own and got as far as a prototype. (I'm a programmer by profession.) Unfortunately, the prototype never made it out of the very early stages. It has enough to keep me happy but not enough to be viable on the Internet. Basically, it syncs some folders and makes a full copy of other folders. Then it double checks them. It makes a note of any failures.
Those of you who do do offsite backups, what sort of data are you protecting/preserving?
I have about 100,000 files / 200 GB that I backup on a regular basis. A lot of it is music and videos, but there are photos of my family, programs I've half written, stories and books I've written, and information I've downloaded from the deep recesses of the Internet (some of which I've had so long that they cannot be found again).

I'd love to write my own backup program. A lot of professional backups claim to do what I want to do now, but the big question is: will it work when disaster strikes? I've seen failures on the most insane things (and sometimes, the restore / backup program wouldn't even tell you about the error; you just had to accidentally encounter it). 256 character limit for file/folder path names. Crapping out on restore when you have over 50,000 files. Taking over an hour to scan your (large) restore drive so you can recover just one file. Telling you a compare failed, but it won't tell you which file has the problem (the bit rot problem). Windows machines that cannot backup files on a Linux shared drive. (Windows doesn't know what to do with two files named "HelloWorld" and "helloworld".

Then there are the other things that I think should be standard: Deduplicating files on the backup and saving space. (Deduplication seems to be more the norm today, but it wasn't when I started this list.) Multiple versions of a file on backup. (I hear Mac is pretty good at this.) Settings that pop up alarms if the number of old copies on your backup drop below a certain number. Copy of the backup / restore program on the backup disk itself. Backup program that isn't locked into a particular operating system. The ability to skip locked files and come back to them later without user intervention or program termination. The ability to perform a compare on every file on a client and test it against the copies on the server without having both online at the same time except for about 60 seconds. (Yes, that is possible.) The ability to detect if the hard drive or CPU is too bogged down so the backup program lightens the load so the user has more control over the computer. Easy to read reports. Easy to use program. Easy to read documentation about the program. Backups that span multiple computers or multiple hard drives. Stopping a backup in the middle and picking up where it left off several hours or days later.

Here's one I have to see: Plug the external hard drive in and only the backup program takes care of everything... Basically, the backup program leaves the user alone unless something like "A folder did not back up without failure at least once every 24 hours" or every 7 days or whatever the setting is. Then it gets in the user's face.

Sorry for the rant. Maybe such a program exist for the small time user, but I haven't seen it yet. The programs in Linux that I've seen aren't very sophiscated and the Windows versions cost a fair bit of money for stuff that I thought should be standard. If I had the time and energy to program it, I would. It's been a dream of mine to get something out there like that, but life gets in the way.

I have 12 pages of ideas. Despite all of the ideas, I think it's still possible to make it stupid simple for the noob while also having the crazy advanced settings for the expert. I just don't see that option very often in most programs!
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