Last year I blogged about Devolutions’ Remote Desktop Manager—an exceptionally useful, valuable, and well-managed product that I decided to call it my Favorite Tool of 2012. I still love Remote Desktop Manager, constantly extol its virtues to anyone that will listen (though I don’t think the personal trainer I met on the plane really appreciated me ‘going off’ about this tool), and use it more than daily.
This year, though, I thought I’d continue that same ‘tradition’ and blog about another exceptionally well-designed, highly valuable, and indispensable tool that I’ve grown to love as well.
Simple, Cheap, Reliable, and Highly-Configurable Cloud Backups
I’ve been using products from CloudBerry for years now—ever since some of their earliest (beta – if I remember correctly) releases of CloudBerry Explorer for Amazon S3. What impressed me most about that tool—way back then—was that it was obscenely more functional than any other tool on the market at the time (providing a much wider array of implementation details against Amazon’s S3 APIs than anything else on the market), actively developed (to the point where I’d get regular email updates about new changes), and very well supported (I had a couple of questions early on that were ‘aggressively’ addressed by CloudBerry staff).
Fast-forward a few years and I’ve increasingly been bumping into clients with the need to find a dependable, configurable, durable, and secure off-site backup mechanism (ideally at low cost) and CloudBerry Lab’s Server Backup totally, and completely, fits the bill.
- Extensibility. CloudBerry primarily markets this tool as if it were an Amazon/S3 tool. It is—and can seamlessly work with S3, S3—Reduced Dependency, and Glacier storage. But it also supports an obscene number of other back-end destinations and data storage components including support for RackSpace, Google, Azure, FTP, File-System, and providers/services that I’ve never even heard of before. (i.e., in the photo below, note where the scroll bar is—as an indication of the amount of available options.)
- Flexibility. In addition to providing interoperability with a veritable cornucopia of endpoints, it also offers fantastic control over the timing, make-up, retention-rate, versioning options, and just about everything else that you can think of when it comes to backups.
- Manageability. This tool has knobs and levers for everything. I haven’t needed to use too many of them. But one day, after dropping 40GB of data into my backup location, my (awesome) network connection was taking a pounding as this tool was uploading ~8MB/sec and overloading my router. So, I went in and throttled my backup plan to only use ~75% of my bandwidth—it not only took effect immediately, but kept pushing my remaining files up seamlessly, and did exactly what it said it would – because my connection to the blessed interwebs were restored again (immediately).
- Security. Connections to endpoints/storage locations are obviously encrypted whenever/wherever possible, but you also get the ability to ENCRYPT files locally BEFORE pushing them up to whatever cloud/back-end you’re storing them on.
- Dependable. I’ve got this running on my own server and on the servers of a couple of clients. I’ve yet to catch it missing even a single beat. It’s a workhorse—constantly, dutifully, and faithfully uploading crap-loads of backups and files as expected (and versioning them all as defined/needed and so on). Recovery is also something I’ve tested directly (via the tool) and by means of connecting to S3 containers via my copy of CloudBerry’s S3 Explorer Pro.
- Value. A single license can backup an entire server AND picks up the ability to backup up to 5 additional file shares. That’s pretty sweet for $80.
- More Value. Being able to back up to S3 makes this tool insanely cheap and insanely versatile for businesses—as S3 objects are immediately available from pretty much anywhere (as long as you’ve got proper access IDs/keys and any decryption keys needed)—making this tool great for smoke and rubble contingency plans. But being able to shove ‘archive’ backups and other less important data into Amazon Glacier is obscenely cost effective. (I’m pushing over 60GBs into Glacier with my own backups at home for the low-low-price of about $0.60/month—whereas, if I was treating these as anything other than fire/theft/tactical-nuke backups I could pay roughly $6/month and be able to access them from any S3-capable client or tool.)
- Other Stuff. I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of other benefits. CloudBerry solutions come with a 30 day trial – go give their stuff a try and see for yourself what they bring to the table.
Simply put: I love this tool—it’s fantastic, totally worth the price, and shows a degree of care and craftsmanship (like Remote Desktop Manager) that thoroughly impresses me.
(And, just for any skeptics out there: neither of the tools I’ve named as my own ‘tool of the year’ paid me for these glowing reviews. To the contrary, I’ve given both of these companies many of my own pesos as a normal customer simply because their products are amazing.)