Finding the Best Backup for Your Needs
Today’s post is written by Jonathan Robertson, one of Jungle Disk’s customer support technicians. Jonathan has been a Racker for a little over 2 years. He began as a support tech for Email before moving over to the team in October 2012.
There are two versions of Automatic Backups available to Desktop and Workgroup Editions of Jungle Disk. Even though Backup Vault has some clear advantages over Legacy Backup, there are still some situations in which Legacy would be the better choice.
Note: Since this blog post is all about how things work, I’ll be adding some extra details that will apply to all versions of Jungle Disk – but keep in mind that this post is primarily directed at Desktop and Workgroup Editions.
Backup Vault (All versions of Jungle Disk)
When a Backup Vault Job is run, a lot happens in the background.
- Backup Search
- All files in your backup job that are on your computer are quickly analyzed to check their “Modified Date” attributes. This information is used to identify which files appear to have been updated since the last time the Backup Job ran
- Each of these files that appear to have been modified are then compressed and split into 1MB pieces that we call “Chunks”
- The data inside each Chunk is then analyzed with a mathematical formula to produce a series of numbers (this is an MD5 hash… but one way to think of it is a fingerprint or an ID number)
- With this hash (ID), we’re able to identify which parts of the file have changed. Each piece of the file that has a different hash than the ones we have on our end are queued to be uploaded (since these are identified as ‘new parts’ of the file)
- Backup Upload
- At some point in the Backup Search, enough data is processed for the Backup Upload to begin. This process involves streaming your chunks from your computer to your Online Disk for safekeeping
- Backup Database Upload
- During the Backup Search phase, changes that were being identified in files were being recorded to your Backup Database
- This is a special file that includes all of the Folder and File Names, as well as their locations in your folder structure
- This also includes the ‘Assembly Instructions’, so to speak, for how each of your Chunks relate to each other in each file
- Without this Backup Database, your Chunks cannot be put back together again!
- Because this database is so important, it is also uploaded during your Backup Job once your Backup Search completes. We do this so that you can download it from your Online Disk in case your hard drive becomes inaccessible and you need to restore your data to a different computer
Where Backup Vault Would Work Well
- If you have an individual file that’s larger than 5GB, a Backup Vault is the only way you could upload this to our system
- Only changed parts of files are uploaded (in increments of 1MB each), which means that even if you do wind up with a file that’s multiple gigabytes in size (like a large SQL export), Jungle Disk can still backup the changed portions of the file without having to re-upload the entire file
- Since backup data is compressed, it saves you time when needing to download/restore
- Another benefit of ‘Chunking’ and compression is that you usually wind up paying much less due to each of these features resulting in a smaller amount of data needing to be stored on your Online Disk
Where Backup Vault is Not the Best Choice
- If you need to quickly reference or browse certain backup files in Web Access or in the Network Drive (particularly for situations where you would want to listen to a song or view a picture), this would not be possible without initiating a Restore job. In this case, it would be better to consider Legacy Backup since the viewing of files/data is still possible without having to Restore due to it not being compressed or broken up into Chunks
- Since your file assembly instructions and file list are all contained within the Backup Database, this database must be up to date in order to initiate a restore. If it’s not (which is mostly descriptive of situations where you’re needing to restore a group of files to a different computer, i.e. your computer crashed), Jungle Disk will need to download the Backup Database from our end (from your most recent successful backup) and verify its contents before a restore is possible. Restoring data from Legacy Backup requires no such download, which can help to make the restore process more smooth if you’re initiating the restore from a new computer
- A Backup Vault can only be connected to a single computer at a time If you’re wanting to backup multiple sets of files to a common directory on your Network Drive on a regular basis, Legacy Backup would be more suited to this kind of configuration
Legacy Backup (Desktop and Workgroup Editions only)
When a Legacy Backup Job is run, the files identified in the backup are analyzed and their Modified Dates are compared to the Modified Dates of the previous backup. Files that have a more recent Modified Date are treated as “updated”, so they are queued to be uploaded. When one of these files is uploaded, a full copy of the old file is treated as a previous version, which means it then becomes subject to your Retention Policy.
Where Legacy Backup Would Work Well
- Even in your Initial Backup, you can stop the Backup Job halfway through and then continue it later. All files uploaded at that point will still be there when you come back and start another backup when it’s more convenient for you.
- The data is still viewable in Web Access and your Network Drive (via [Online Disk]/backups/[folders] by default) for quick reference.
- If you need to store media data, like photos, music, or older documents that no longer need to be updated (but you might like to view from time to time), Legacy Backup is usually the perfect solution.
Where Legacy Backup is Not the Best Choice
- If you need to keep lots of previous versions, your retained data would grow much more quickly with this method than it would in a Backup Vault. So if you need to hold onto more than 2 previous versions of each backup file, we would recommend considering a Backup Vault instead
- Since Legacy Backup stores its data directly on the Network Drive, it’s also subject to the same limitations. The most commonly encountered limitation in this case would be that you cannot upload individual files that are more than 5GB each If this is something you need to do, a Backup Vault would be the only way to upload a file that exceeds 5GB in Jungle Disk
- Even though the Legacy Backup data is visible in Web Access and your Network Drive, you should not make any modifications here. This Legacy Backup data is meant for Reading/Viewing only. Modifying this data is not recommended since it could produce unwanted results with what is or isn’t backed up. If you need to view and modify data regularly, consider uploading the data directly to the Network Drive instead of using an Automatic Backup job
I hope this helps to clarify the differences between our two backup methods for you and where each method really shines.
As with any topic, please feel free to submit a support ticket to our team at https://support.jungledisk.com if you have any questions or need further clarification.