Duplicacy is my new backup solution (after CrashPlan shut down)

Image result for duplicacy logoI have been using Crashplan as my backup tool since February 2015. At the time, I bought into their four year family plan (=multiple computers) for 429.99 USD. But Crashplan  turned out to be a memory hog (especially if you have a multi-terrabyte harddrive) and it was clear that I want a better solution so I started looking for an alternative in 2016, one year before the subscription was supposed to end. I focused on software solutions that would allow me to back up to whichever storage I want so that I would be in better control of my data (Crashplan at some point deleted an entire backup of mine because the computer it was associated with hadn’t backed up anything for more than six months. Apparently it was in line with their Terms of Service, but deleting backups is not a goof thing to do for a backup company).

I spend a lot of time testing various solutions, including Arq, Goodsync, Cloudberry, SyncBackPro and Syncovery. Goodsync, Cloudberry and SyncBackPro were out pretty quickly [Note that the notes about those three are from 2016 and things may have changed]:

Cloudberry cannot handle backups larger than 1TB unless you buy the enterprise version for 300 USD. It’s crazy!

Goodsync had crap customer service  (reasonably fast response, but useless and not answering my question) and it was designed more for syncing than for backing up (although backing up is possible).

With SyncbackPro, the restore process seemed rather complicated and once a folder is selected as the source, you cannot add other folders to that backup job. (Well actually you can change the source folder and the original stuff in the backup will remain but will no longer be backed up.)

Syncovery was very promising but I kept bumping into bugs and errors and I spend a hell of a lot of time helping the developer debug these problems and he actually ended up compensating me for some of that work. So while my experience with the software was not so good in the end, I can only say good things about the support by the developer. He listened patiently to my problems and although he insisted that he has lots and lots of customers where the software works fine, I did manage to convince him to look at the issues I had (this is how it should be but not all developers/companies do that) and we managed to track down a couple of bugs but it seemed a neverending story and so I eventually decided to scrap syncovery and start looking anew, even though this entailed that I would probably have to pro-long my Crashplan subscription another year.

This is when I discovered duplicati 2 and although it was still in beta, it looked very promising. In particular, I liked that it is open source and future proof in the sense that I would always be able to access my encrypted data, even in decades when duplicati may no longer be maintained. Because I did not like the existing support channels (gitter, google groups),  I helped the developer set up a discourse-based support forum which has attracted a lot of users since its launch in August 2017, partly, I suppose, due to Crashplan announcing the end of its service for home users, many of whom explored duplicati as a possible crashplan alternative.

Unfortunately, I kept running into issues with duplicati (mostly having to do with the local database being corrupted and repair not working) and bug fixing went slow, as it is a hobby project for the developer. With my crashplan subscription drawing closer to its definite end in April 2018, I decided to try yet another alternative: duplicacy.

Duplicacy worked more or less flawlessly from the beginning (though less technophile users may find it to complicated to use) plus it has a killer feature that I have not seen anywhere else so far: cross-source deduplication. In plain english, this means that when I sync my files to different computers via dropbox or similar services, they will be uploaded only once: The program notices that these files are already backed up and will not upload them again, thus saving a pile of space.

So if you don’t have a backup solution yet (or are unhappy with the one you have), I highly recommend you look at duplicacy (I use the command line version, but there is also a GUI version).

If you find it too “technical”, you should give duplicati a try: the development seems to have made significant steps forward in the past couple of months and many people are already using it without any of the issues that I had. I still think it is an excellent solution and the thriving community is very helpful if you encounter problems (I am still trying to convince the duplicacy developer to setup a similar forum…). If you are interested in how I’m running scheduled backups using the Windows Scheduler, let me know.

I am currently using duplicacy with pCloud, which, unfortunately, I cannot recommend at all as a cloud storage provider, but that’s a different story.

Oh, I should mention that another advantage of duplicacy over duplicati for me was that duplicacy even runs out of the box on my rather old Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra (which runs on Debian Etch), while duplicati doesn’t because it needs a newer version of Mono.

UPDATE: Duplicacy now has a very user friendly support and discussion forum at forum.duplicacy.com.

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