Your company’s servers are the lifeline, the lifeblood and at the very core of your business. If it’s a disaster when you lose data from your personal computers and laptops, imagine what it can do to your business when your server crashes and you have no backup.
Servers are built much sturdier than personal computers, but they still use same components and prone to similar hazards: fire, theft, natural disaster, electric shock and heck, even hard drive failures. Imagine having all 500 of your customer information on a CRM database server within your network, then losing all those data because of whatever reasons. What would you do without a backup?
Traditional way is to have NAS attached within the network as well as using tape drives to do regular backups, and those are time-tested and proven methods that work. But these are still local backups and you will need a remote offsite backup to add another layer of protection. For larger companies, they can look for dedicated solutions customized for them. But for SMEs, the cost can be too high (which is one reason why many IT executives in SMEs tend to neglect offsite backup, resulting in thousands of data loss every year).
Fortunately, there are robust, cost-effective and hassle-free options out there. In order to save your time, we have gathered a few companies that do very well in server backups.
However, there are several different types of servers and thus we have divided this article into several sections for each types of server. Take a look after the break.
Windows, Mac OS X & Linux Server Backups
The following are providers of cloud based backup solutions for both Windows and Linux servers.
1. MozyPro – From $13.98 Per Month (Windows, Mac OS X)
MozyPro is business-grade cloud backup service offered by Mozy for servers. It includes all the kick-ass awesome things we love about Mozy and so much more. For instance, it has much improved and faster file scanning, allowing the client software to scan through millions of files effortlessly without slowing down your servers. After initial backups, it will do incremental backup to save bandwidth and performance, only backing up the new changes. You can create multiple custom configuration settings with policies on bandwidth usage, custom backup sets and file types, and so on. And since most servers will have tons of data to backup, you can use their Data Shuttle service and send in your data on encrypted hard drive, with price starting from $275 for 1.8TB Shuttle device. The pricing is simple, and it lets you also backup your business computers, not just servers. The price is calculated based on how many computers (non-servers) you want to backup, how much storage each computer will need, and whether you need to backup servers or not (which will cost you as “Server Pass”). At minimum it will cost you $13.98 per month for 10GB of storage and one computer to backup. 1TB storage with Server Pass for one computer will cost you $409.98 per month, and you will have to contact their sales team for anything higher than that. It’ll also backup SharePoint, SQL and Exchange servers. We have a review about Mozy Personal Plans here if you want to know more about Mozy.
2. JungleDisk – From $5 Per Month (Windows, Linux)
JungleDisk maintains its “pay what you use” pricing plan for storage with its Server Edition plan. You pay $5 a month per server for its awesome client software along with 10GB free storage at your chosen storage space provider (Rackspace or Amazon S3) and for later usages, you will be billed for your usage. Not a penny less, not a penny more. Amazon S3 will cost you $0.125 per GB storage, along with $0.12 per GB downloaded, $0.01 per 1,000 upload requests and $0.01 per 10,000 download requests. Confusing, isn’t? If it confuses you, Rackspace’s pricing model will delight you. It charges you a flat fee of $0.15 per GB per month. No download fee or upload requests fee are there. It is much easier to calculate this way. So if you choose Rackspace, it will cost you only $150 per month on top of $5 monthly fee for 1TB of storage. JungleDisk will backup both Windows and Linux servers, and you can do remote management from any Mac, Linux and Windows computers, using Jungle Disk Server Management Client. And with JungleDisk’s Backup Vault technology, specially designed for servers, 1GB won’t cost you 1GB of storage on the cloud. Backup Vaults offer block-level compression and de-duplication, making backup more efficient and reduce storage costs. We haven’t done a review on Jungle Disk Server Edition yet but here is a review on their personal plans.
3. Carbonite – $599 Per Year (Windows)
Among all plans offered by Carbonite, only BusinessPremier plan, which cost $599 per year, supports backing up Windows servers. You get 500GB of storage and ability to add unlimited amount of Windows servers as long as you have storage space for them. You can also do database backup of SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, MySQL and Oracle but there is no price published on the website as of 28th December 2012. For additional storage, it costs $46 per year for 50GB and $89 per year for 100GB. You can add additional storage packs up to 12TB. For a modest storage for most SME needs, it would cost about $5227 per year for 5200GB additional storage (total 5700GB). With Carbonite’s amazing customer support, robust offering and pretty fast uplink speeds, we would say the price is fair for most businesses. BusinessPremier plan also lets you backup all your work computers too, not just limited to servers. The only limit will be available storage. You can also backup unlimited numbers of external hard drives and NAS too. We still don’t have a review on Carbonite’s business plans but for home plans, here is our comprehensive review.
General Server Backups
Basically, companies in this category can be used for any kind of backups, but need more technical knowledge to deploy and run. You can use them to backup your entire servers, including databases, or web servers, or anything you want.
1. Bakop – From Free
Bakop gives us simple FTP-based backup solution, with a free starter plan that comes with 500MB of storage and 2GB upload/download bandwidth. It lets you use FTP, rsync, sshFS, scp and rdiff-backup protocols to backup your servers onto Bakop network, so there is no client software and thus it is pretty much platform independent. For $4.99 a month, you get Bakop Pro FTP account which offers 10GB storage space, 3 FTP users, 20GB transfer to server and 10GB transfer from server. rsync and other advanced protocols are only supported on Pro accounts. If you need more space, you can purchase more at $2 per 1GB storage, $0.08 per 1GB upload bandwidth, and $0.20 per 1GB download bandwidth. All those prices are monthly rates. For experienced sysadmins, they can easily use scripts to automate the backup process. So it is really a no-brainer. Here is our very detailed review on Bakop.
2. rsync.net – From $0.24/GB/month
rsync.net is pretty similar to Bakop but they have been in this business for a long time (this 2012, they are celebrating 11th year in operation). What rsync does is simple – it provides offsite backup for disaster recovery (or any other usages you can think of). It supports ssh, scp, sftp, ftp protocols and tools like rsync, rdiff-backup, duplicity and Unison. Unlike a lot of other backup service providers, rsync actually owns their own data centers across 4 locations in the world, not just using space from Amazon S3. So they have complete control over their whole data centers and everything. One really great thing about rsync is that their engineers will provide you unlimited amount of tech support for any kind of usage you want to do with rsync.net, as long as you are using the protocols they support. All technical support will be handled by a real live Unix engineer, and you will not have to deal with annoying ticket systems, or junior level technicians. That is rsync.net’s promise. Storage rates are pretty cheap too. Up until 24GB, it will cost you 80 cents per GB per month. From 25-49GB, the cost will be 72 cents per GB per month. If you go higher than 200GB, then until 399GB, it is about 48 cents per GB per month. Once you go over 4TB, the cost is significantly lower, at just 24 cents per GB per month. They also offer two bulk annual packages, at 1TB ($1800/year) and 10TB ($9500/year). Those two bulk offers are cheapest options, since $1800 year is just 15 cents per GB for whole 1TB, and $9500 breaks down to about 8 cents per GB. We will be doing a review about rsync.net soon here.
Database Server Backups
Now, this part is tricky. Backing up your databases onto the cloud is not just about offsite data storage anymore. It also involves with regulation compliance for each industry. And there are different level of complexities and layers on layers of technical complications depending on your database server setup. Fortunately for those with single database server setup, or rather simple setup, we can use MozyPro or Carbonite, or even services like rsync.net (if you know what you are doing) for backups. But if you prefer easy to use tools, we have two providers for you.
1. SQLCloudBackup.net – From Free
You might not have heard of this company but they are not new in this industry. In fact, Intelligent Database Solutions, Inc., the company behind SQLCloudBackup.net, has been around since 2003 and been providing advanced solutions for DBAs and developers operating SQL servers. What SQLCloudBackup.net is now offering is a free but very powerful SQL Server backup tool, which allows you to backup your databases and store them on local disks, network drives or on cloud. The software is packed full of features but not overloaded with them. We would say that the program’s features are sufficient enough for most small and medium-sized businesses with moderate IT budget. Most other SQL Server backup solutions charge an arm, a leg, a kidney and a heart – the kind of spending power most SMEs don’t have. The initial offering is free, but already includes powerful features such as encryption, backup compression, automatic integrity check and backup scheduling. It won’t include cloud backup storage though. For that, you have to shell out $10 per month, which gives you even more features on the software, as well as 25GB of cloud-based backup storage. For $50 a month, you get further advanced features, as well as 100GB of backup storage space. Highest Enterprise plan will set you back for $100 a month, and comes with 200GB of storage space. Additional storage can be purchased at $0.20 per GB per month.
2. iBackup – From $9.95 Per Month
iBackup as a company has been around since 1999, and prices are a bit steep. For 100GB, you are paying $9.95 per month or $99.5 per year. 500GB will set you back at $49.95 per month or $499.5 per year. Highest option is 3TB, which will burn a huge $299.95 per month hole in your wallet. The software supports Windows, Mac and Linux (through rsync scripts, as there is no client software for Linux exist yet), and it has plugins for SQL server, SharePoint, Oracle and Exchange servers. But there is no pricing plan published on the website about how much it will cost for those additional plugins though. Here is our review on iBackup.
Don’t Forget Your Tapes
As much as we love cloud backup solutions for their convenience, data redundancy, and added layer of security for our backups, you simply can’t forgo tape backups. They are still the most reliable method of local backups. Our suggestion is to have local tape backups according to your schedule, and for daily incremental backups, use cloud based solutions. If you have a setup that already works well, then don’t destroy it just to use only an online backup service. Instead, add online backup as another layer. Having multiple layer of protection is, after all, the best protection of your data against any possible disasters.