Cloud backup solution for Windows Home Server

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
10,232
I setup an HP WHS for a relative's small home business a few years ago and it's been working quite well, she's a graphic designer so she deals with some relatively large files on a daily basis but the box has been a great solution for various (mostly Mac) clients to be able to collaborate seamlessly.

Almost nothing is stored on the client systems, they use the server as centralized storage for everything. Right now it's setup with two 1TB drives for duplication of most of the content, it was never upgraded to Vail and I'm not sure it's even worthwhile. She wants an off site backup solution for peace of mind in case of a catastrophic scenario and between MS/users abandoning WHS and a lot of outdated info pre and post Vail I'm having a hard time finding something that would meet her needs.

Initially she asked me if Carbonite would work since she's using it for some laptops but it seems a version specially for WHS was never developed and the client software might get confused if any data is spanned across drives (from what I've read), her backup rate might also get throttled from what I've heard.

I've heard a lot about Crashplan but I dunno how well it works with WHS. Anyone have any suggestions?
 

Philmatic

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 15, 2011
Messages
116
Crashplan works great from what I hear from other members on here and other forums, but offers no integration with the Dashboard, you have to use the desktop app and point it to the pool.

I personally use the combination of CloudBerry WHS Server Backup and Amazon S3. It can get pricey though, I backup about 300GB and it costs me around $30/month. It's worth it for my peace of mind though.
 

fluke420

Gawd
Joined
Jul 9, 2003
Messages
911
The latest version of the CloudBerry WHS can backup to Amazon Glacier at $.01 a GB. Much cheaper than S3.
 

Philmatic

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 15, 2011
Messages
116
The latest version of the CloudBerry WHS can backup to Amazon Glacier at $.01 a GB. Much cheaper than S3.

Yes, I've been waiting for them to provide Glacier, I will try this out next week and will probably run S3 and Glacier side by side for a few weeks until I'm comfortable.
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
10,232
Hmm, CB + Glacier wouldn't be too bad, it'd be under $10/mo. for under 1TB... I have to check how much capacity she's using on her WHS. Would Glacier's archive/vault system complicate storage and retrieval or would Cloudberry pretty much make that transparent to the user?

Crashplan's probably better suited for her needs but it wouldn't be that much cheaper and with no console management it'd probably fall on me to remote unto the server to install it and then manage it later on... A backup solution that she never lays eyes on would be kinda disconcerting.

Thanks for the info, will have to look further into both options.
 

Swank

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 7, 2003
Messages
176
I use Crashplan with my WHS box. It's set and forget, haven't touched the config since day 1 last March. The client hasn't needed any updates yet either. I get weekly email reports of backup status so I know it's working. At $140 for 4 years unlimited (using 450GB) I couldn't justify CloudBerry + Glacier for home use.
 

luvien

n00b
Joined
Mar 21, 2010
Messages
18
Hello,

This is the setup that I have since I don't use WHS anymore. I switched to Windows Server 2012.

All computers backup once a month on the server with an image. I use windows Backup for that.

All computers backup once a day the users folder to the server using SyncBack.

The server backup files from other computers on Crashplan. That way, I don't have to pay for the family plan with Crashplan and I can access all my file with Crashplan central.

LJ
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
10,232
Anyone care to share any details about how you install or manage Crashplan on a WHS box? I saw the brief install guide on Crashplan's site along with a couple other discussions, but I'm not sure how seamless it'll work if she later adds more drives...

Some of her directories are set to be duplicated others are not, etc. I guess I'm just not familiar with the actual directory structure WHS uses (behind Drive Expander) and how to deal with it if that's fully exposed to Crashplan. Not looking for a full tutorial here, just to be pointed in the right direction.
 

Swank

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 7, 2003
Messages
176
Crashplan has some instructions here:

http://support.crashplan.com/doku.php/recipe/whs_installation

Only caveat - Using drive letter paths to shares managed by Drive Extender is OK for read access - but don't restore to them! Always write to the UNC path so DE can work its magic. Crashplan doesn't support a UNC path as a backup source (neither does Mozy). Probably easiest to restore from the web and copy back into the WHS if you decide to go this route.
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
10,232
Yeah I'd seen those... Can you restore or access backed up files from a source other than the system you're using it on? Assuming she actually needs her backups, it'd probably be because the WHS box is kaput (burned, stolen, fried, etc.) and at that point I'd probably have to migrate her to a more typical NAS or something. I'm guessing that's entirely possible given the suggestion in the last line of your post.

I think I'm leaning towards recommending Crashplan again, might be trickier to set up without being there in person but in the event of a disaster it'd be way easier for her to recover what she needs immediately... Specially considering they use Macs mostly and I don't think there's a Cloudberry Mac client.

Thanks for the help btw, my exposure to WHS was strictly limited to setting up that HP server for her and I haven't touched it in like two years other than to setup remote access for her at one point. It's held up remarkably well, such a shame they've abandoned WHS, custom built Win Server solutions aren't an option for really small businesses without someone knowledgeable on hand to manage it... WHS was a very flexible setup compared to the alternatives out there tho, even today.
 
Last edited:

Swank

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 7, 2003
Messages
176
Yes you can. Crashplan can be configured to keep infinite versions and deleted files, so I mentioned the web option in place of the client for small restores (up to 250MB). For a catastrophic failure, you can install the client on another system and restore everything. If you want to continue backups from the new system, you can "adopt a new computer" to avoid uploading everything again.

I know what you mean about WHS. I started with a Windows 7 "server" but it wasn't really up to the task so I moved to WHS. Later I upgraded to 2011 (more of a sidegrade really). Now it's going away. The price of Server 2012 Essentials is too high for home, so next up I'll probably move to a Windows 8 "server". I'm running ZFS on the storage layer for redundancy and integrity, but I'll sure miss automatic client backups and the RDP gateway. The interface was slick too. Ah well.
 

SirMaster

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 8, 2010
Messages
2,122
Love crashplan and use it on my server 2008 R2 home server.

I have 7TB currently backed up for $140 for 4 years. Their price simply cannot be beat.

Their data deduplication engine is excellent too. Doing something like editing the vorbis tags on my FLAC files causes crashplan to simply upload a few KB rather than the whole file. Excellent binary deduplication.

They also have web restore and mobile phone and tablet apps to access your data.
 

Phantum

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
1,716
Thanks to all for the information in this thread. I was searching for a cloud backup solution for my WHS a while back and I ended up settling on BackBlaze but with a catch. I had to setup sharing on a second server I had, using SyncToy I push all data from my WHS to the secondary machine and then installed BackBlaze on the secondary machine to upload all the data to them. Definitely not a streamlined as I'd like but any/all data is replicated at least three times and BackBlaze is $5/month for unlimited storage.
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
10,232
Love crashplan and use it on my server 2008 R2 home server.

I have 7TB currently backed up for $140 for 4 years. Their price simply cannot be beat.

Their data deduplication engine is excellent too. Doing something like editing the vorbis tags on my FLAC files causes crashplan to simply upload a few KB rather than the whole file. Excellent binary deduplication.

They also have web restore and mobile phone and tablet apps to access your data.

Did not know that about deduplication, that's pretty sweet actually.
 

Swank

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 7, 2003
Messages
176
I had to setup sharing on a second server I had, using SyncToy I push all data from my WHS to the secondary machine and then installed BackBlaze on the secondary machine to upload all the data to them.

:D That's one way to get it done. Before I had Crashplan, I made the mistake of buying 2 years of Mozy. It worked when Windows 7 was my file server, but the Mozy client would not install on WHS, saying it didn't support a server OS. Customer support said I had to get a business account for my HOME Server at almost $200/month. I don't think so. Since I'm running WHS on top of ZFS, I scheduled an auto snapshot of the entire LUN every night (8 TB!) and scripted attaching it to a separate iSCSI target. I connected that to a Windows 7 VM running Mozy to back everything up. Problem solved. :p
 

SirMaster

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 8, 2010
Messages
2,122
Did not know that about deduplication, that's pretty sweet actually.

Yeah, the amount of deduplication can be adjusted, it takes more CPU usage to do full deduplication (not that much for a server really). But when set to full, the crashplan developers say that according to the algorithm they use, crashplan will never re-upload the same bit twice, only the changes.
 

Phantum

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
1,716
:D That's one way to get it done. Before I had Crashplan, I made the mistake of buying 2 years of Mozy. It worked when Windows 7 was my file server, but the Mozy client would not install on WHS, saying it didn't support a server OS. Customer support said I had to get a business account for my HOME Server at almost $200/month. I don't think so. Since I'm running WHS on top of ZFS, I scheduled an auto snapshot of the entire LUN every night (8 TB!) and scripted attaching it to a separate iSCSI target. I connected that to a Windows 7 VM running Mozy to back everything up. Problem solved. :p

2 years, yikes! :eek: BackBlaze told me the same thing (about installing the client on my WHS box). And they're (BackBlaze) really really smart in that they had already thought about people installing the client and then using compatibility mode, or mapped network shares, etc... So in the end I was forced to find another way.

EDIT: BTW what OS are you running with ZFS?
 

SirMaster

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 8, 2010
Messages
2,122
What's also great about crashplan is if you buy a long 4 year plan and decide to cancel it, they will refund you the unused time prorated.
 

Grentz

Fully [H]
Joined
May 5, 2006
Messages
17,198
Love crashplan, even running my own enterprise crashplan server.

It does work with WHS, just like noted in this thread you should only read from the shares, not write to them, if you use the direct drive letter paths.

To get around this, I use a script that runs on startup under the system account to map the unc paths to drive letters. Crashplan runs as a system service hence running the script as the system account. Works great and the trick works on other machines as well if you want to backup network locations.
 

Swank

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 7, 2003
Messages
176
2 years, yikes! :eek: BackBlaze told me the same thing (about installing the client on my WHS box). And they're (BackBlaze) really really smart in that they had already thought about people installing the client and then using compatibility mode, or mapped network shares, etc... So in the end I was forced to find another way.

EDIT: BTW what OS are you running with ZFS?

Mozy was the same way. No mapped drives allowed, no compatibility mode installs. Somebody doesn't trust their customers. :D

I'm running a single ESXi box, with OpenIndiana + napp-it as the ZFS server. There's a great thread here that covers the setup. I'm not using any server hardware, and I'm just running virtual disks on VMFS volumes instead of passing a controller to the guests. I've already caught a failing drive before the SMART reallocated sector counts got high enough to trigger an alert - ZFS reported slow performance.

I tried Nexenta and FreeNAS but they didn't run as well virtualized. It's been a few years though so the situation is probably better now.

To get around this, I use a script that runs on startup under the system account to map the unc paths to drive letters. Crashplan runs as a system service hence running the script as the system account. Works great and the trick works on other machines as well if you want to backup network locations.

Good idea!
 

Grentz

Fully [H]
Joined
May 5, 2006
Messages
17,198
Yeah, a lot of people used to bash crashplan because they didnt work with network shares. Its not that they block them, just how the service runs.
 

Grentz

Fully [H]
Joined
May 5, 2006
Messages
17,198
Ok, some people have been asking me for clarification.

1) In WHS, with any app, you should only read data from the storage drive letters (D:\ for example). This is because of the drive extender magic it does to mirror data, etc. That means you can read the data to back it up, just dont restore it to these drive letters.

2) Crashplan runs as a system service. That means if you map a network drive (\\drivepath\) as your local user account, it will not have access to that drive. Hence why you cannot select network locations. To get around this, you can use a script that runs on startup under the computers system account to map these UNC paths to drives (use something like net use in a batch file). These drives will appear as disconnected most likely since they were mapped as the system account, not your user account. But this is a good! Because now you can select them in crashplan.

3) So using what we learned in notes 1 and 2, we can access the data drives via unc (network) path (\\WHSname\Sharename) to get around the issue of only being able to read from them, and then we can use the trick in note 2 to map these unc paths as local drives under the system account so that crashplan can back them up properly.
 

JJ Johnson

Gawd
Joined
Jun 26, 2008
Messages
802
Buy two external USB or eSATA drives, to be rotated for backups. Create a backup script using a syncing program such as robocopy - basically a one line batch file. She can launch the backup before going to bed; I'd guess about 6 hours to write 1 TB the first time, and much less when updating the mirror. Take that drive and store it off site: in a safe deposit box, at a friend's or relative's house, etc. For the next backup, take the other drive and do the same and swap it with the first drive. Repeat as often as is prudent.
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
10,232
I'd do that if it were me, she's never gonna bother with the routine tho, I already suggested something similar and she shot it down. Thanks for the detailed explanation of how you use that script to map the drives Grentz.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
2
I use 4Sync and quite happy with it. It offers more storage space than any other for free (15Gb) and they won't take them away, and also provides multiple folders upload. It was the crucial option for me. When you’re in a hurry you don’t have time to upload folders one by one.
 

olavgg

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 27, 2010
Messages
232
Do BackBlaze or Crashplan work if you create a Symlink to a Samba share on Windows?
 
Top