Serpent Addiction

Saturday, December 03, 2005

remote backups with

I've been wanting to use an off-site backup process that was simple to administer, yet easy for non-techies to use. appears to fit the bill. You basically sign up for a particular plan that gives you a specific amount of disk space and a number of users. There's no signup fee and you can discontinue the service at any time.

Strongspace works with sftp/scp and rsync+ssh. For windows users, it can be accessed via WinScp or Filezilla. But for making convenient backups from Windows machines nothing beats an rsync batch file linked to a desktop icon. Even better, would be to schedule automatic backups. The advantage with rsync is that after the initial backup, updates are generally very quick.

The disadvantage with rsync is that it's not an easy program for Windows users to install. Fortunately, David Barrett has written an excellent How-To.

A typical rsync batch file entry will look like this:
rsync -avz "/Documents and Settings/user/My Documents"

Backups are only half the story, however. Eventually, there will come a day when the user needs to retrieve lost data. This is where having a browseable backup site is handy. For the user, retrieving a lost document is as simple as accessing her account on No intervention from me is necessary. Furthermore, the data can be retrieved from any other location, e.g. modifying a contract or spreadsheet while off-site. It would certainly be possible to configure something like this internally, but it would be a hassle to maintain with limited advantages.


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