Arq Cloud vs Backblaze

I’ve been reading other threads on backups but I didn’t want to hijack them.

I have to move off Crashplan in the next few months. We had the great family plan deal for several years.

From what I can tell, I have 3 options.

a) Backblaze. The positive is that it’s unlimited storage. I have an external drive of photos that I have backed up now but I also have a second drive that has a bunch of stuff on it but I care less about. I’ve never thought of backing that stuff up as it’s not really important but I’m now thinking that’s stupid of me.

b) Arq Cloud. 1TB of space but keeps all historical versions of all files (if I understand it correctly). Honestly, I’m not really sure how useful this is in my use case. It sounds nice but unlimited storage seems like a better deal for me even though I’m leaning towards this option.

c) Arq plus Backblaze B2. Longer term, I think this is the cheapest option. However, I’m guessing this is a more complex process to setup and then if needed, restoring files.

Does anyone have some thoughts on this?

Thanks,

Paul

According to their site, “Backblaze will keep versions of a file that changes for up to 30 days”.

By default Arq keeps everything, but you have an option to “Thin backups from hourly to daily to weekly” (like Time Machine).

You can also set a budget on AWS and possibly others like B2 (I’ve only used AWS) for example: $5/month. This would limit the amount of data stored, but Arq will keep at least one copy of each file backed up “no matter what limit you set”.

Looks to me that using B2 is no more difficult than AWS. Sign up for an account, create a bucket, and start backing up.

I’ve used Arq (but not their cloud storage) and think it’s a good app. The developer is very responsive and seems to be continually updating the app. I think it’s his full-time job, so that’s a good sign, also.

However, Backblaze is the “set it and forget it” solution. You don’t have to think about it, and you don’t have to worry about running out of space.

It’s the option that I’ve gone for myself.

FWIW.

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Vote here for Arq/B2. It really isn’t that hard to set up and, as mentioned, it’s hard to beat the price/performance ratio. If you’re an Office 365 subscriber who doesn’t use much of that 1 TB of OneDrive storage it includes, you can tell Arq to back up to it, too. I do both.

Agree with all that has been posted above. I’m a longtime Arq user with B2 now as my backend (I used Glacier previously until B2 came out at a cheaper price point).

The pros to Arq over BackBlaze:
— Storage is, if you want it to be, forever - you can set up pruning if you like, as previously posted, but you do not have to.
— FIles are not deleted from the backup after 30 days. For me this was a lifesaver, as some years ago I lost about 50GB of old archived data. I have no idea how; I must have accidentally deleted the folders during a cleanup without realizing what I had done. Six month later I was looking for something and discovered the missing files. WIth BackBlaze, those files would be gone from my backup as well, as BackBlaze only holds on to deleted files for 30 days. With Arq, my data was in a 6-month old backup (then on Glacier) — which is how I know when I lost the files, btw. A few hours later the restore was done.
— Disconnected hard drives remain in your backup. BackBlaze removes them after 30 days (but does send you email warnings to reconnect before the deletion happens).
— You can backup network shares as well (if you need that functionality).
— You control the backend storage, and so you can pool it among all of your computers. For example, I have 3 computers backing up with Arq. WIth BackBlace I would have three different computers registered, so I would pay 3 x their current yearly rate, perhaps about $200/year. WIth Arq I pay for the storage I use, and with a pooled 2TB between all three computers it runs me about $140/year.

Cons:
— Slightly harder to set up, but really not all that difficult (I would be more than happy to walk you through the process if you have trouble)

For BackBlaze, pros:
— Dead easy basic setup, really plug and play, and very easy to modify settings if you want/need to
— Unlimited storage at a single price if you have only one computer to back up (if you have more than one, you could back up for example all of your laptops to a single desktop and then have BackBlaze back that up for you, which is not a bad solution, really), but of course more setup for you to do.
— You can get data shipped to you via a hard drive if you need fast to avoid the download overhead.

Cons:
— As noted above, need for separate subscriptions (at additional cost) for each additional computer, unless you backup all of them to one central computer that then sends the data to BackBlaze - making the plug and play part disappear.
— 30-day retention policy. This is actually the dealbreaker for me, because as noted above I have already had to restore data that was 6 months gone. If that were not the case (and I understand why BackBlaze needs this in their business model) I would be using BackBlaze for the convenience factor, as I would be comfortable setting up my own process to backup data from my laptops to my desktop.

As far as ArqCloud goes, this is sort of BackBlaze like in the plug and play aspect, and I suspect it is a great product, but I don’t use it because it too requires a per-computer subscription, and with one desktop with 2TB of data and 2 laptops each with only a small amount of (local) data, the total cost would be higher than pooling all of my storage into my B2 account, and since I have already been using Arq for years anyone, there is no reason for me to change.

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You can get the $99/year office 365 subscription from Microsoft and that gets you Office and 6TB of OneDrive storage which works with Arq.

To be clear, you get 6 accounts with 365, 1 TB each.

My family needs the software but not the space so I use it to back up their computers. rclone.org works with it too.

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Thank you all for the help. @nlippman’s point of disconnected hard drives not remaining in Backblaze is possibly a big deal. And thank you for your generosity of offering to walk me through the process. I don’t think that will be necessary but hopefully I haven’t spoken to soon!

I’ve also debated on getting Office 365 for awhile but haven’t had to do it. Knowing that I would get 1TB of space with it is worth considering.

I think I will use the Arq trial and see how I like the app and then go from there.

I recommend Backblaze for its set-and-forget.

However, I’ve encountered a Backblaze bug that makes it of limited use to me personally. It occasionally goes berserk and uses up 1+GB of memory, rendering the Mac unusable. I’ve gone back and forth with Backblaze tech support about this several times; they have been no help.

But this bug is rare – I’ve only encountered one other person who’s run into it, and Backblaze is very popular. So even with my personal problem, I still recommend it highly.

My workaround has been to back up manually nightly, which surprisingly I have been able to remember to do. Eventually I need to migrate to something else, probably Arq+B2 or Arq+AWS.

I’m going to throw in a pointer to a post on a different site which makes a point that there are differences in the default setup between Arq using their own cloud and Arq using Backblaze as the cloud solution. They make the point that Arq backing up to their own cloud has some default exclusions that can be an issue that don’t hit you when you use a third party cloud service.

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I’d love to have an MPU deep dive on this topic sometime. I’m geeky enough to be able to make Arq work but would love to have our guys spend 90 minutes on pros, cons, and best practices.

I was considering Arq + B2 but settled, at least for now, on a 4th solution.

Crashplan for business is half price for another year but is based on a per system charge. Since I’ve got a server computer with plenty of free space, I’m backing up our computers that need regular backups using Chronosync to the server computer and then will use Crashplan to back up that. Seems like the best solution for now and was really easy to implement.

I actually use both, and think they both work great. I have Arq backing up to a Google drive that I have free unlimited space on, and only have it back up once a day, and then use Backblaze as well. Both were simple to set up, and have worked great and have not needed to be messed with once set up. Test restores have worked just fine from both as well. But if I was just picking one, it would be Backblaze. It is probably a tad easier to set up, and if the user doesn’t occasionally check that backups are running, getting an email from Backblaze if hasn’t backed up in 14 days could save someone from losing data they thought was backing up correctly.

Certainly a good point. I have Arq email me after every backup completes, which I do every 6 hours. I also do a daily clone via Carbon Copy Cloner of each computer, and have CCC email on completion as well.

It has become a habit for me to check email each morning for the emails from CCC (the backups go overnight) and if I don’t get an email from Arq I will notice that.

It is probably better to get an email warning that no backup has been done, as BackBlaze will do, because that makes the email unusual and stand out vs regular emails which can fall into the background noise.

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Thanks. There is much good stuff here.

I assume there’s a reason that Backblaze’s own preference for once-a-day scheduling doesn’t work for you? (In System Preferences > Backblaze > Settings… > Schedule > Backup Schedule > Once Per Day).

Even so, that seems like something you could/should automate, either with Keyboard Maestro or launchd.

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It was causing me problems previously – processes taking up far too much memory.

However, this conversation prompted me to give it another try and it works now. So that’s one less thing I have to remember to do.

Continuous backup is not recommended by DevonThink, so I’m leaving it set to back up at intervals for now. At some point I’ll look into Arq, which I think will let me back up at more frequent intervals. My choices for Backblaze are once per day, manually and continuous.

UPDATED: And I just looked at the app. It’s still running, after starting a backup at midnight. Previous experience tells me this is going to be a problem.

My server drive failed, I am afraid …
:innocent:

Sorry to hear that you’re still having problems with this. I spent a few weeks moving over to Arq Cloud backups, following a previous discussion here. However, since upgrading my iMac to Mojave, Backblaze is behaving itself again so I cancelled Arq during my trial period. My Backblaze backups now complete every day without any noticeable impact on the use of my computer again. Hope that it clears up for you at some point.

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I just posted this somewhere recently, so apologies if it’s a repeat, but the most reliable way I know how to control Backblaze is by loading or unloading the plist:

To enable Backblaze:

sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.backblaze.bzserv.plist

To disable Backblaze:

sudo launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.backblaze.bzserv.plist

If you want to do that in automation (without having to enter your password), you’ll need to add it to your sudoers file: ¹

%admin ALL=NOPASSWD: /bin/launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.backblaze.bzserv.plist

%admin ALL=NOPASSWD: /bin/launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.backblaze.bzserv.plist

If you want to be prompted, you could do it with AppleScript:

do shell script '/bin/launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.backblaze.bzserv.plist' with administrator privileges

¹ You should only ever edit the sudoers file with visudo and you should preferably not edit the actual sudoers file, but instead you should make one in the /etc/sudoers.d directory. This will work if you don’t already have one:

EDITOR=nano sudo visudo -f /etc/sudoers.d/mysudoers

You can paste the lines into nano and then save it with control+X (to exit) then press “Y” for YES and use whatever filename it recommends.

I hope that helps. I’ll be glad to answer questions if I can.