How To Use CrashPlan To Backup Data To QNAP And Backup QNAP’s Data To CrashPlan Central

Normally, CrashPlan won’t allow you to backup computer data to network share/drive.  Nonetheless, you can get around this if you’re using iSCSI.  In the video right after the break, I show you how to create iSCSI with QNAP (Network Attached Storage) server,  connect to QNAP’s iSCSI target, and format iSCSI share as NTFS share for Windows 7/8.  This way, you can use CrashPlan software (free or paid) to backup data from a local computer to QNAP’s iSCSI share, and you can go one step further by backing up the data of iSCSI share (on QNAP or whatever NAS that may be) to CrashPlan Central (cloud service for hosting backup data).  Enjoy!!!

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How Paranoid Should You Be For Backing Up Your Data?

Backup Backup Backup - And Test Restores

Backup Backup Backup – And Test Restores (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you ask me what is the best way to backup your data, I will probably direct your concern to more than one way.  I like to think of not placing all of your eggs in one basket kind of scenario.  What’s the point of backing up data in the first place?  It’s to hope that when things go crazy such as a computer’s data corruption might occur, you can then access your most valuable backup data.  If you only rely on one preferable backup method, then what if in a critical moment that even the backup data isn’t accessible through your preferable only backup method, what will you do then?  Even a perfect storm is a possible scenario for spreading eggs in more than one basket, therefore I think being paranoid about safekeeping your data with more than one preferable backup method is the best way to go about doing the backups for your valuable data.

For us normal folks, the regular Joe(s), who have data that we want to safeguard, it’s a must for us to spread our data in more than one basket.  It must not be that you have to be a company to take this approach.  Furthermore, nowadays regular Joe(s) do have plenty of ways to go about doing backups for their data.  Let me list few of them:

  • Google Drive
  • Pogoplug
  • Dropbox
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service
  • CrashPlan
  • External hard drives
  • Network attach storage solution such as QNAP NAS servers
  • Do it yourself FreeNAS server solution
  • rsync to a renting server with affordable monthly fee

And the list can go on a lot longer as third party cloud services are now in amble supply.  I think the problem isn’t about finding a backup solution or solutions for the regular Joe(s), but it’s about the affordability, speed, security, and conveniency aspects.  Let say, if a regular Joe wants to spread his backup data in more than one basket, how affordable can this be?  So on and so on…

I think affordability should not be as big of an issue as before the time when there were no third party cloud service and competitive (affordable) computer hardware pricing.  If you don’t intend to harbor 100 of Gigabytes worth of data for streaming purpose or whatever extreme configuration, backing up few Gigabytes worth of data should not cost you much at all.  Perhaps, you can do it at no cost too.  One example, I think Google Drive gives you around 10 Gigabytes worth of free data space or a little bit more than this, and just with this service alone you know you don’t have to spend a dime to backup your data as long you are not going over the free space limitation that Google Drive allows.  Don’t like third party cloud services for whatever reasons?  Computer hardware such as external hard drives nowadays are no longer pricing at outrageous prices, therefore it’s easier for regular Joe(s) to go this route for doing their data backups.  How about coupling Linux with a spare, dusty computer to form a local backup storage server at zero cost in term of money, but you have to spend time on putting things together such as installing Linux and deploying Linux’s network attached storage services to have a more complete backup server solution.

I can see that the many third party cloud services as good solutions for doing backups.  How come?  Let say you’re paranoid about the safety of your data to a point that you consider the scenario where local backup data can all be corrupted at the same time for whatever reasons such as a virus/hack attack (or by even a more nefarious scenario), therefore you think third party cloud services are the additional safety reservoirs for your backup data.  If you are this paranoid, I think you’re doing it right.  Although third party cloud services are good measures against local data corruption, there are problems with this whole approach in general.  Let me list a few:

  • Broadband’s upload speed (Internet connection) isn’t fast enough to do a major backup (i.e., backing up huge amount of data in Gigabytes worth)
  • Security issue… how do we know our data can be securely safeguarded and stored on the remote servers?
  • Trust issue… such as how do we know our data privacy and our privacy won’t be breached on the remote servers?

I sneakily snuck in the speed and security concerns about backing up data remotely through third party cloud services, but we should not take the security issue lightly since many people may not want their privately backup data to be made known to the whole world.  Security done right in term of backing up data locally and remotely, this will also address the privacy issue/concern too.  I think employing good network and computer security measures locally will enhance the security protection level for the backup data.  Such measures should be about employing hardware and software firewall, antivirus, and so on.  Don’t forget to update the software and firmware, because through updating these things that you can be assured of weeding out security bugs.  You can never be too sure about the security of your data when you’re backing up your data remotely, therefore you should employing encryption for your backup data before you upload your backup data to the remote servers.  One good encryption measure I know of is TrueCrypt software which can be downloaded and used freely.

I don’t think we should sacrifice our data security for conveniency, because data security is definitely more important than otherwise.  Still, conveniency should be considered in the calculation of our data backup challenge too.  It’s just that we have to make sure we don’t have to sacrifice data security for conveniency.  Let say, you want to backup your data to a third party cloud service, but you don’t like the idea of doing a local encryption for your data first… this means you are sacrificing your data security for conveniency and this is truly bad for you as the owner of the backup data (i.e., privacy concern).

In summary, I think if you’re paranoid enough about the health of your data, then you should devise many backup plans for your data.  You should try to backup your data both locally and remotely, but you should employ encryption for your data when you do backup your data remotely.  Backing up huge amount of data remotely can be very inconvenient at this point in time since so many regular Joe(s) do not have access to fast upload broadband speed.  Let hope this will change soon, and I know things will be moving in this direction since data streaming and data sharing and data backup are in much more demand than ever before.  One example would be Google fiber Internet service.  Google is driving the Internet Service Provider competition forward as Google deploys its Gigabit Internet connection service for many households in various lucky cities and towns.  With Google pushing for more competition in the area of broadband speed, I think the future — having great Internet connection for uploading our backups — is definitely bright.  As time is moving on, the costs of computer backup hardware and backup services can be even more competitive, we can expect the cost of deploying backup measures for our data can only get cheaper and easier.  I like the idea of having a NAS locally, and using one or two third party cloud services for my data backups.

(How paranoid should you be for backing up your data?  In my opinion, the answer should be, the more the merrier.)

We Need Google Fiber Sort Of Broadband Service Providers In Town To Boost Business Opportunities And Customer Experiences

Backup Backup Backup - And Test Restores

Backup Backup Backup – And Test Restores (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, broadband upload speed is nowhere near the speed that is desirable for people to backup their digital contents to third party backup service providers or I should say doing backups to the cloud.  I’m using Crashplan backup service provider, and it seems that it took me ages to backup my Windows 8 PC — containing 500 GB worth of data — to Crashplan’s cloud with AT&T U-verse 3 Megabit per second upload speed.  On the sort-of opposite spectrum of doing backups to the cloud is doing backups to a local network’s backup device or devices, and it turns out Crashplan software is doing so much better, like way better, when it backups the 500 GB worth of Windows 8 PC data to a NAS (network attached storage) and external hard drives.  Basically, at the moment, I see that Crashplan shows that it’s 97.2% done with a backup for Windows 8 PC to a NAS, 54.1% done with a backup for Windows 8 PC to an external hard drive, and 10.2% done with a backup for Windows 8 PC to Crashplan’s cloud.  So, I think you get the gist why doing backups to the cloud is super tedious and slow.  It really does take ages.

If one day Google Fiber ever comes to my town, I will definitely see doing backups to the cloud as a positive thing.  For now though, 3 Megabit per second upload speed is definitely too slow for me to do a backup from a local network to the cloud for 500 Gigabyte worths of data.  Imagine people who have like Terabytes worth of data, I wonder how would they feel if they have to do backups to the cloud.  With faster broadband such as Google Fiber, I believe the cloud with become even more popular.  If the cloud is not too expensive for people to store Terabytes worth of data and Google Fiber type of service is readily available, I don’t see how people would not find this combination a super delicious one.  Yummy bandwidth and data redundancy if we care not about the possibility of data leak from a possibility of weak computer security in the cloud.  Of course, don’t forget to encrypt whatever data when such data are to be stored in the cloud, yo?

I’m just talking about doing backups of data only, but obviously any faster broadband which is in the league with Google Fiber offers more than just the upload essential, because Google Fiber type of download speed (i.e., Gigabit per second bandwidth) can also bring more opportunities to people and businesses alike.  Just imagine the possibility of having Google Fiber type of broadband connection… more households may be able to enjoy playing games, streaming movies, listening to music, surfing the web, watching Internet TV, video chatting over the Internet, shopping online with enhance experience (e.g., interactive media shopping experience which allows people to use video chat and 3D interactive contents), and a lot more at the same time.

With such amazing possibilities — that I had mentioned — float to the surface of the pool when faster broadband gets deploy, we can definitely see modern businesses that rely on the Internet for revenues will see faster broadband a positive thing and a must thing to have.  For the people who are the consumers of all Internet and digital things, they  might be even more addicted to the Internet since they can do more all at once.  Imagine the fantastic feeling of a big size family when Google Fiber sort of broadband service provider is coming to town, the family will definitely not have to take turns to consume all Internet and digital things.

Verizon FiOS Will Soon Install 300 Mbps Up and 65 Mbps Down Broadband In Homes, But You Need To Be Where FiOS Is Available And Have Mad Cash!

English: A map of where Verizon Fios is availa...

English: A map of where Verizon Fios is available in the US according to Fiberexperts.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m so excited about Verizon big push for faster broadband.  Verizon is going to allow some home users to purchase broadband plan which has 300 Mbps download speed and 65 Mbps upload speed.  Nonetheless, did you notice I used the key words “some home users?”  I’ve been waiting for Verizon FiOS in my area for a long time already, but so far only AT&T and Comcast are the two viable competitive choices for me.  So, it’s exciting for me to see Verizon FiOS to allow 300 down and 65 up broadband speed (in Mbps of course), but it’s such a teaser for so many users who are not living in the areas where they can get Verizon FiOS.  Arstechnica reported that Verizon 300/65 up/down FiOS with two year contract will cost around $204.99.  Obviously, the latest and fastest Verizon FiOS speed is super cool, but the price is too expensive.  Nonetheless, if you are going for Verizon FiOS 300/65 up/down broadband speed, you will not have any trouble of using the cloud for doing data backup.  CrashPlan come to mind anyone?  (I hate how most broadband connections allow super slow upload speed, therefore doing backup to the cloud is like watching a crawling of a snail.  In my opinion, Verizon FiOS is the panacea to this pet peeve of mine.)  Check out the video on Verizon soon to be the fastest broadband yet in U.S. right after the break.

Source:  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/06/verizon-reveals-prices-behind-300mbps-fios-upgrades/

Windows 7 Home Premium And CrashPlan Won’t Support Network Attached Storage As Backup Solution? No Problem! Using FreeNAS ISCSI To Trick Both Into Thinking Network Attached Storage’s Volumes/Partitions As Local Devices So Backup Can Be Done!

FreeNAS

FreeNAS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just found out that Windows 7 Home Premium would not support backup to network attached storage.  So, I said fine, CrashPlan could do the job!  To my dismay, CrashPlan too would not support backup destination of network attached storage type.  Well, CrashPlan had a workaround to this problem, but I tried and it refused to work for me.  Luckily, I had one last trick in my sleeve, and it worked perfectly!  Now, I could backup my Windows 7 Home Premium to my FreeNAS box (a software which runs network attached storage server).

How?  It was (and is) all about FreeNAS ISCSI.  I enabled ISCSI and created ISCSI type of volume/partition on FreeNAS box; finally I would connect Windows 7 Home Premium to FreeNAS ISCSI drive (formated it) so CrashPlan would be able to do backups to FreeNAS box (network attached storage server).  Wait, wasn’t CrashPlan would not support network attached storage?  I didn’t lie, but FreeNAS ISCSI (or ISCSI in general) is special!  ISCSI’s job is to trick Windows 7 Home Premium (and other Windows versions) to think that it’s a local partition (i.e., internal hard drive), therefore Windows 7 Home Premium will not be able to figure out that ISCSI is not a local device (i.e., internal hard drive or partition).  The same goes with CrashPlan!

Of course, once you can get ISCSI going between your Windows 7 Home Premium and the network attached storage server, you don’t really have to use CrashPlan to do backups for your Windows 7 Home Premium anymore.  After all, Windows 7 Home Premium (and other Windows versions) has native backup tool.  Nonetheless, in my opinion, CrashPlan is far superior as a backup tool than Windows’ own backup tool.  Anyhow, it’s really up to you to use either Windows’ backup tool or CrashPlan to keep your Windows’ data safe.  Furthermore, you can check out the video right after the break to see how you can set up ISCSI on FreeNAS server and how to connect to FreeNAS ISCSI from Windows 7.  (You won’t be disappointed for using FreeNAS ISCSI solution as a solution for doing backups of Windows 7 Home Premium!)

Upload Any File To iCloud, But You Got To Manually Rename The Upload File Correctly!

iCloud

iCloud (Photo credit: BasBoerman)

I barely use iCloud, because I prefer Dropbox, Pogoplug (i.e., software only so it would turn a computer into Pogoplug device), Ubuntu One, CrashPlan, and FreeNAS (i.e., I prefer to virtualize FreeNAS until I can set up a proper physical FreeNAS box).  This is why I know so little about iCloud.  In fact, the only time I use iCloud is when I hit the iCloud button which allows me to backup my iPhone and iPad to free iCloud account (i.e., as this writing iCloud gives 5GB free storage space).  According to the video right after the break, iCloud isn’t allowing users to upload specific files from their Mac computers to iCloud, therefore you can’t really use iCloud as how you have been using Dropbox.  I’m perplexed why this is the case, but anyhow the video right after the break will show you how to upload any file to iCloud — it seems to me like a lot of work.  (Just stick with Dropbox instead?)