Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Online Backup/Storage Solutions

So about a week ago, I got the urge to start taking backup more seriously. Not because I had a close call with losing all of my information. (That's a good reason to start backing up, but it's not really a great reason. I'd rather not get that close, thank you very much.) I already use Dropbox for my personal files, and I added all of my wife's files to it, too. That's very convenient, and I like it--as I've mentioned before. I have 3GB or so of space over there, and that's more than enough for my text files.

But I have more than just text files. I have a whole lot of music I've ripped from my CD collection. I have a slew of digital pictures. And I have a growing collection of digital video (quite large, since I transferred all of my mom's home movies of my childhood to digital format a year or so ago).

How large?

450GB worth.

That's a lot of gigabytes, for those of you who don't know. I've backed it all up locally to a 2TB external hard drive, but with the advent of the cloud, I had to wonder if there was a better way of going about storing it all. I love how with Dropbox, I can access all of my information from anywhere, at any time. I can get it on my iPad. On a friend's computer. Anywhere.

But storing over 400GB of storage with Dropbox is going to set a guy back $795 per year. I like my data--but that's just too much. SugarSync would cost $400. Google Drive would be $240.

I back up my music to iCloud and iTunes match. That costs me $25 a year, and I'm very happy with it.

For a while, I was thinking I'd have to just go with backing up my photos only, and letting my video just sort of wait for now. Not a perfect solution, however. I'm using my iPad more and more as a video recorder, and HD video takes up a lot of space. I wanted a way to transfer stuff off my iPad and into the cloud. Wasn't going to happen, it seemed.

50GB would be a more manageable $25 per year through Microsoft's SkyDrive. Then again, I also considered piecing together all the free offerings out there--you can get about 25GB without too much trouble, though then your data's spread out all over the place. Again, far from a perfect solution.

Then a friend pointed me toward the online backup service CrashPlan. Through their CrashPlan+ offering, I could store an unlimited amount of data in the cloud, for $50/year. Unlimited. Including video. I could access it from any computer, as well as from my iPad and other iDevices.

Unlimited.

$50.

Sold.

I've been using it for around a week now, and I'm happy with it so far. It's more limited than services like Dropbox, in that it backs up one computer (and connected drives), no more. So there's no free wheeling storage option, where you add a file from a different computer via the cloud. But you can always email that file to your main computer, and then add it that way. So upload from only one place, but download from anywhere. That works for me.

Honestly, the biggest hurdle is the fact that 426.9GB of data is an awful lot of data. I've been uploading almost constantly since I signed up, and I'm at 150.4GB done so far. That's at a speed of around 2mbps. I was going faster for a while, but my network seems to have bogged down some since. If you don't have a fast connection speed, then uploading to the cloud isn't a super idea. (Though CrashPlan does have an option where they send you a drive and you backup directly to it, and then send it back. It's fairly costly, though--something like $200, although that's just a one time fee.)

Anyway--that's what I have for you today. Anyone out there have questions, or use a different service they prefer? Speak up!

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