Cloud storage and backup

I have, over the last few years, made use of a few online backup/storage systems. I initially started with a free Dropbox account and upgraded that to a 50GB account once I realised how useful it was. Eventually a 50GB account wasn’t big enough but upgrading to 100GB was rather expensive. At that point I switched to Humyo – that gave me 100GB for less than I was paying Dropbox for 50GB, and was more flexible too. Eventually I outgrew a 100GB account too. Co-incidentally, humyo was taken over by Trend Micro and became Safesync with unlimited storage. Perfect, or so I thought. A few months on, and there are a few problems…When all of these systems work, they work very well. With all of them, I loved that fact that I could configure, within some limitations, the set of files I wanted backed up and then everything happened in the background. New and changed files would be automatically backed up instantly and without me thinking about it. Deleted files would “disappear” from the online backup but could be retrieved if necessary. Of course, I would never rely on such a system as my only backup. I also take separate offline backups onto USB hard drives which are typically kept away from home. But automatic online backups are incredibly useful and absolutely better than nothing!

I have a few issues that are taking the shine off the experience, though. First cost. As I said above, I have an “unlimited” safecync account. It turns out that was a promotional offer which has since closed. Fortunately I get to keep it, but for new users safesync is now quite expensive – £99.95/year for 100GB. That’s still cheaper than dropbox at $199/year for 100GB, but it is enough to make me think twice about it. Worse, though, is that I currently have over 200GB in my safesync account and there’s no way for a new user to get such an account. Nor can you get a 200GB dropbox account.

I also have some technical issues with safesync. There’s a client that runs on my various Windows machines and automatically uploads changes as they happen. It runs in the background and just gets on with the job. Mostly it works. Sometimes, though, it gets confused and tries to upload files that haven’t changed, or refuses to upload files than have changed. This gets very frustrating, especially when the number of files affected is large, and fixing it isn’t straightforward.

Network bandwidth to their servers isn’t great either. I can saturate my home broadband’s 1Mbps uplink, but my work network is much, much faster and yet I fail to upload files any faster. Very frustrating when I have GBs of new files to upload.

I guess expecting any more from a service costing me less than £50/year is unreasonable, and actually despite the problems an unlimited online backup service for that price is a pretty good deal. There’s nothing else that comes close to providing similar amounts of storage for so little. You can buy 200GB of Google storage for $50/year, but there’s no easy way to use that for automated backups. Yet. If Google finally offer a genuine cloud storage facility at that price, I’d sign up instantly!

What do you do about online backups? Anything? Are there any services I should look at as alternatives to safesync? Hit the comments with any suggestions you have…

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