Cheap cloud storage anyone?

I have been changing around my home network storage recently because I don't really want to loose a load of data again and I don't think the home server setup I have is the best. (Although to be fair fair I've only lost data in the last few year because I stupidly formatted the wrong hard drive when switching from Freenas to a plain Ubuntu install. I have never had a disk failure in my storage server yet)

Freenas was good if you just wanted a replacement NAS setup but it lacked any multimedia, backup, services. So I started running Ubuntu on the box and installed everything myself (Samba, SSH, Webmin, etc). The machine physically has 6 drives and I was planning to put them into a RAID formation but didn't see the point when I could use LVM (logical volume management) which has the effect of loads of drives looking like one. Yes I know if one drive goes down i loose stuff but its a risk I take and I tend to run Spinrite on the server and all my machines once a month so I can work out if theres any problems coming up. Oh yeah and I looked into the UnRAID stuff but it seemed to be more trouble thats its worth. For backup I then copy everything important worth keeping to a external drive which I place away from the computers (aka its only powered on when I'm backing up or restoring). But this isn't enough, I need to really look into serious remote cloud storage but I've found them to be expensive in the past.

Looking at Backblaze's solution, I'm certainly amazed and am reconsidering cloud storage again. 5 dollars a month is about 3.50 pounds a month which is good for unlimited data storage. And I can see why its so cheap compared to the others, although I was surprised to find it uses some application and it only works on PC and Mac. The problem I've always had is the word unlimited, when doing some research – unlimited has been restricted to just typical website files, not allowed archive files, backup files, etc, etc. For example check out Dreamhost's upfront unlimited policy. I already have a free dropbox account which is great but its not really a backup service like I need. I did use Jungledisk for a while with Amazon S3 for a bit but the pricing starting adding up. I've heard good things about Spideroak and they support Linux well. The last option which has me thinking is my ISP recently starting offering a online backup service, unlike the rest it uses standard protocals to do the transfering but unlike the rest the pricing model is not clear. Actually so unclear, that I can't even find it.

What do people do for backup? What services do people highly recommend? Should I just try building my own backblaze box instead?

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.