Anyone using SpiderOak (software for online backup, synchronization, and sharing)?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by MrBrian, May 22, 2010.

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  1. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    I'm thinking of using SpiderOak free 2GB account for online backup. SpiderOak also can do synchronization between multiple devices and has file sharing functionality. My preliminary tests have gone well. Online reviews are generally good.

    Pros for me:
    • Keeps all past versions of a file forever; past versions don't count towards your account limit; in a few limited tests that I did, the past versions were retained after file renames and folder renames
    • Keeps all deleted files forever (including all past versions); deleted files don't count towards your account limit
    • No limits on key functionality, such as maximum file size, maximum transfer amounts, etc.
    • Great privacy - company doesn't even know filenames
    • Can be used as continuous backup if desired, as long as program is running
    • Can backup data every 5 minutes, 15 minutes, every hour, or certain other time intervals if desired, as long as program is running
    • Only changed parts of files are uploaded
    • The same file block will never be uploaded more than once
    • Use as many devices in a single account as desired with no extra costs, because costs are related only to how much data is in your backup set
    • Can selectively sync any subset of what's backed up
    • Sync works with the folder structure that you already have, and folders being synced don't need to have identical names on your various devices
    • Access all backup data from any device from a given device
    • Access backed up files from any browser or iPhone
    • On Windows client at least, has ability to limit amount of bandwidth used
    • Data is de-duplicated - i.e. same file blocks are stored only once - which can reduce account data usage, especially when using sync functionality

    Pros for maybe some of you:
    • Works on Windows, Linux, and Mac, and in a similar manner on all supported platforms
    • Can backup external drives, network drives, USB flash drives, etc.
    • Backup data can also be stored locally, for faster restorations.
    • Doesn't install operating system services; the Windows client has the option to automatically start with Windows if desired
    • Geeky details available at https://spideroak.com/engineering_matters

    Cons:
    • Due to its architecture, uses more CPU and memory resources than some other backup software; see https://spideroak.com/blog/20091026...n-from-our-zero-knowledge-approach-to-privacy for further details
    • Doesn't have explicit ability to backup special locations such as Outlook email, although you can choose to backup whatever data you wish as long as you know where it's located; however, does have some generic backup categories such as "Pictures," etc.
    • Some reviews mention that the pricing maybe isn't competitive; however, pricing details have changed since some of these reviews
    • Because SpiderOak doesn't install any operating system services, you must keep the program running in order to use its built-in scheduling features; however, you can also schedule backups via your operating system's scheduler
    • Since SpiderOak doesn't attempt to lock files, SpiderOak may backup a file in an inconsistent state, although this happens "very rarely" according to the company - see https://spideroak.com/faq/does_spideroak_backup_open_files for further details
    • The Windows client doesn't integrate functionality into Windows Explorer
    • Doesn't have the ability to backup when computer is idle; this is a planned future enhancement
    • Web browser restoration works only one file at a time?

    What are your experiences with and thoughts about SpiderOak?

    Past SpiderOak thread: https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=260769 (but it's not in the Backup forum and it's somewhat old, so I started a new thread; if mods wish to shut down this thread and continue discussion there, that's fine but please consider keeping this thread in the Backup forum for proper visibility to those interested in backup)
     
  2. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

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    SpiderOak is good. However, their software is a little weird in that it backs up by categories, not directories. Also there is no mobile access or multimedia streaming. Also, the web interface is not as feature-rich or intuitive as some of the others and there is no mapped network drive to your account installed on your system, which for me is a must. If you want those features check out Humyo or LiveDrive.
     
  3. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    Thank you for your feedback n8chavez :). How long did you use SpiderOak, if it's ok to ask? Was it reliable?

    One can back up folders by using the Advanced backup options - on the Windows client anyway.

    There is an iPhone app now. They're also planning Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile apps. See https://spideroak.com/blog/201003121400-newly-arrived-spideroak-iphone-app for more details.
     
  4. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    From https://spideroak.com/engineering_matters:
    (I added the emphasis.)
     
  5. apathy

    apathy Registered Member

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    I was just looking at SpiderOak for my netbook. The main os is Linux Mint 9.
    What I am looking for is reliable offsite backups and non capped upload/download speeds. For $10, 100GB is nice and the interface looks easy to operate. I use free dropbox right now but their pricing is a bit much.

    If anyone has any other info this company and their services let me know.
     
  6. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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  7. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

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    I've used just about every service I could find, so I'll try and tell you all what I thought of them. Keep in mind that my needs (or wants) might be different than yours. Me, I need/want easy a feature-rich service that is secure, both in terms of encryption and physically. Cost is a factor, as is the ability to access and restore your data.

    • SpiderOak: SpiderOak is good, no doubt. But it's not the best. There are things to like about it, but there are also things that it needs to improve upon. Their web interface is just plain bad. I would prefer to see generic mobile web acces, something like this, than proprietary applications So, if you are looking for the ability to access your multimedia files remotely thing might not be the service for you. It is easy to set up data backup schedules and it offers rather fast upload speeds. It is a more than decent service if you plan on backing up more than one system, and syncing data between those systems. They do also off the ability to share data with other people, although their method is awkward. They do not offer streaming of multimedia files. I do not like their software. There's no way to restore more than one file at a time without using it, as they do not offer a mapped network drive. It that way they handcuff you, and not in the good way. When the price, $10/month per 100 gb is considered I give it a score of 6/10.
    • SugarSync: SugarSync is an interesting. They are on par with some of might favorites. But, like every other service, they have their strengths as well as their weaknesses. They offer a very feature-rich web interface, the ability to stream mp3 files, share limited data with other non-users, sync data with other devices (by what they call their "Briefcase"), and the ability to backup files as changes are made. Their web interface is extremely good, well thought-out, and feature right. If you are interested in accessing data from, a mobile device you would be hard pressed to find a service offering better access to your data via mobile web than SugarSync. You can also access each version of any file, and restore which version you chose. I have received fairly decent upload speeds. However, there are negatives to SugarSync. I do not like software; it is too resource-heavy. There is also no mapped netword drive to your space. They force users you share data with to open a free SugarSync account in order to access shared data. Restoring data is also done from inside their application, which is a negative for me. When the price, $10/month per 60 gb and $15/month per 100 gb is considered I give it a score of 7/10.
    • Humyo: Humyo is the service I choose to use, simply bcause, in my opinion, it's the best out there right now. Humyo offers the ability to automatically back up data, stream both video and audio with no need to self-queue the encoding process, a fully mapped network drive, a very intuitive and feature-rich web access interface, onli8ne document editing through Zoho, and one of the best mobile access site you can find. You can also share data with people that are not members of Humyo, although there are limits in place that prevent that service from being taken advantage of. I have experienced the fastest uploads speeds with this sevice. They have also recently implemented a server-side recycle bin, which is important should anything happen to the syncing link between Humyo and your system. With Humyo the users gets to decide the heirarchy of the server-side data storage, which might not sound like anything but ensures that data is not stored in some convoluted heirarchy. When the price, $7/month for 100 gb of backup/storage is considered I give it a score of 9/10.
    • LiveDrive LiveDrive is a service that has recently exited beta stages. It is similar to Humyo in that it allows for streaming of multimedia files, both mp3 and avi. It is worth mentioning howver that with LiveDrive video files need to be "prepared" for streaming, which required it to be encoded server-side into flash. This needs to be done by the user on a per-file basis. Files such as Office documents can be edited online through partnership agreements with third party services, such as Zoho. Configured backups are run either automatically or on a timed basis. LiveDrive offers backup for multiple systems. It also offers a fairly good mobile access site. It also offers the ability to share data with other non-LiveDrive users, and sync data between multiple systems. It does not offer the fastest uploads I've seen. Mapped drive access is also limited to their "Briefcase", which is how they sync data between multiple devices. When the price, $17/month for unlimited backup/storage is considered I give it a score of 8/10.
    • OnlineStorageSolutions: OnlineStorage is different from the rest in that it is not feature-rich at all, but it's not intended to be. It is intended only to offer you server space. They do, however, offer remote web access to your data that is primitive but fully-functional. They do offer you the ability to mapped the network drive and auto-backup changes via the use of third party applications. Keep in mind however that if you are using an x64 system that these third party application, mapped drive and auto-backup, will not fuction as intended. Your best bet there is to use an FTP client, such as FileZilla. If you are simply looking for off-site storage space you might want to look in to OnlineStorage. When the price, $19/year for unlimited backup/storage is considered I give it a score of 6.5/10.

    * Every service listed above offers at least 128-bit AES encryption

    It is important to go with a reputable company that you believe has "staying power", ensuring that your data is also there when you need it.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  8. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    I've been using SpiderOak "for real" for several days. I'm quite happy with it so far - it's an improvement from MozyHome IMHO.

    Some notes:
    -Every time the SpiderOak app starts, the contents of all files (well actually file chunks) in the backup set are hashed and checked to see if they've been backed up online. This can utilize the hard disk heavily. This method of operation should make the program more robust, so I don't mind it. I've scheduled SpiderOak to start 15 minutes after logon so that this disk activity doesn't occur during startup.
    -Upload speeds are fast, as n8chavez noted.
     
  9. wearetheborg

    wearetheborg Registered Member

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    It does bug me that it requires root privileges to install (at least in linux).
     
  10. apathy

    apathy Registered Member

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    Do you normally install software via sudo?
     
  11. wearetheborg

    wearetheborg Registered Member

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    I normally install software via aptitude (as root); but I only install such software from the official debian repos. SpiderOak does not have an official debian repo..

    The only 3rd party software I've installed as root I think is the graphics video driver from Nvidia.
     
  12. korben

    korben Registered Member

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    Ran a trial so to say last year and ended up with syncplicity.
     
  13. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Interesting comparison by n8chavez in his post (#7) above, but I'd put livedrive ahead of humyo as #1 (it's actually priced better)!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  14. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

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    Thanks for that. LiveDrive is a cheaper service, but there has been many reports that suggest that LiveDrive's encryption is not legitamate. That makes me question the whole service. Of course, there are other things too. LiveDrive seperates their service into two parts: backup and briefcase. The backup is self explanitory. The briefcase element houses syncing, sharing, webdav, and FTP. I would prefer that those features not be restricted to briefcase but to every file. This especially needs to be changed for webdav and sharing. Also, LiveDrive does not encode video files automatically for web playback. That neesds to be done manually, and takes twenty four hours. Humyo does this automatically.
     
  15. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Nate, can you please provide references re this allegation?
     
  16. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

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    A quick internet search will lead you to the comments of numerous unhappy customers. I take this with a grain of salt, however, the sheer number of them lead me to believe there might be something there. Look at the dates. They might be old but once trust is lost it is nearly impossible to get it back, in my opinion. Trust is especially important if you're talking about storing your data. Look here, here, and here (for starters).
     
  17. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    I guess you have to feel comfy with whomever you choose to safeguard your data!

    To add further confusion to the task of selecting the best service, I just came across ~ Removed Link. Site Not Recommended By Wilders. ~ comparison of online backup services as well as ~ Removed Link. Site Not Recommended By Wilders. ~ comparison of online data-storage services. :doubt:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2010
  18. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Oops - truly sorry about that JR. :oops: ....but what's the reason for banning that site?
     
  19. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    Aaron Here, that site pushes rogue/suspect products and as such, it is against our TOS.
     
  20. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

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  21. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    I appreciate the 'heads-up' re that site! :eek:
     
  22. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    Aaron Here, you're welcome! Take care.
     
  23. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Each solution has advantages and disadvantages, I have to check out the available options that are suggested here.

    Recently I installed Dropbox (2 GB free), mainly because it promotes iPhone support.
    And so far I'm impressed with the implementation.

    Anyway, thank you all for the suggestions!
     
  24. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    This is partially incorrect. Revisions and deleted files both do count towards your account limit.

    There is currently no way within the GUI to limit beforehand how many revisions of a file are backed up, although this is a planned future feature. There is, however, a command-line for purging revisions, and specific revisions can be deleted from within the GUI.

    This doesn't seem to happen anymore in the newer versions.

    From The 'Forum': A Nudist Colony waiting to happen...:
    Interesting blog entry: Why SpiderOak doesn't de-duplicate data across users (and why it should worry you if we did).
     
  25. tobacco

    tobacco Frequent Poster

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    Hello MrBrian - could you and/or N8Chavez tell us about the encryption (what, how it is implemented) that SpiderOak and the other products mentioned in this thread use?.

    I have a thread a few spots below yours talking about a few other services.
     
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