Backup

I’ve been using SpiderOak for backup, and to cut a long story short it’s becoming tiresome. In fairness, it’s not really meant for backing up servers, but there’s still a lot of things it could do better.

So I’m on the hunt for an offsite backup solution for this server.

This is Linux, so nothing is simple – the solution is divided into two pieces:

  • Remote data storage service – to actually hold the data.
  • Backup software – to figure out what needs to be uploaded, and keep track of versions and suchlike.

For the remote side I’ve got three real options:

  • rsync.net – starts at $10/mo for 400 GB
  • Backblaze B2 – starts at $5/mo for 1TB
  • Wasabi – starts at $5.99/mo for 1TB

However, although rsync.net looks pretty simple – the price isn’t competitive. Backblaze B2 and Wasabi are similar – the benefit of Wasabi is that the’s no extra charges for downloads – B2 has a 1GB daily download threshold, and you start getting charged if you go over that.

For the backup software. These are the options I’m looking at. Please note that tools like rsync and rclone aren’t backup tools – they’re just for syncing, so don’t manage the versions or encryption

  • duplicity
  • borg
  • restic
  • duplicacy
  • Duplicati

Duplicacy

I’m going to rule this one out right away it’s not free – I’m only mentioning it because it’s often included in conversations about Linux backup software.

Duplicity

Duplicity has been described as an old-school approach by this Backblaze blog post. That means it’s the model whereby you create a backup of everything – a full backup, then the next time you back up you only back up what’s changed – that’s an incremental backup. This can be space-efficient and fast and easy to understand, but the downside is to do a restore you need the last full backup, and all the incremental backups since then. This then creates headaches about deciding when to create a new full backup and how often to get rid of the old ones. Having said that it’s a respected and reliable tool which supports everything it needs to: Encryption, Compression, Backblaze B2 storage is supported, Wasabi is not.

Restic

The same article describes Restic as the new-school tool – which supports deduplication to save space. There isn’t a version 1.0.0 yet, but it seems to be fairly popular already, and supports B2 storage & Wasabi.

Borg

Borg is also a deduplicating backup software – seems to be a bit less fashionable that restic, a bit more mature. As far as I can tell the key advantage that Borg offers is compression, but can be slower with large respositories and large files because it’s single-threaded. However it doesn’t natively support remote object storage, so needs another tool to upload the data. See this forum post. It has some nice features, like the ability to mount a backup as a FUSE filesystem so you can browse it.

Duplicati

Not sure which type of tool this is. It does support B2 storage, but not Wasabi. Some people have had issues with reliability with it.

Final Thoughts

I’ve gone with restic and Backblaze B2. They can talk to each other directly, but I like the idea of having a local copy of the repo, so I’ve set restic to backup to a portable HDD, the which then is copied to Backblaze. This means I have the offsite copy in case my house burns down but can still get at the data in more mundane scenarios.

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