I've been using an online backup service called iDrive for the past year or so for various clients to back up PC's... the cost is low and it seems to work well. I also set up one Ubuntu linux production server to back up to iDrive, in addition to DLT's (yes, old school, old habits die hard and the hardware is super cheap now). iDrive software for linux is extremely rudimentary, it's all manually configured text files and command-line or cron executed perl scripts, which I really like as I know what's going on and am able to use the system logging facilities to keep an eye on things. The server being backed up crashed this past summer, and I found out that the iDrive backups do not preserve any file metadata whatsoever... the backup tools use curl to transfer files via http, so no file perms, no timestamps. Thank God I had the tapes, as I've been backing up a large production server database and, uh, the file perms and timestamps are kind of important.

I sent a nice email to the fine folks at iDrive asking them about options and telling them that they really should be more forthcoming about the limitations of their software, specifically regarding loss of metadata. I suggested some options like using a unix/linux archiver such as tar piped into curl but haven't heard anything back and I doubt I will... for $99 a year you don't get custom software.

So, I'm at a crossroads. I'd like to be 100% online with backups, but I'm guessing most online backup tools are designed to back up content only and that the majority of them will use http for file transfers.

I could write a script using find and tar to create incremental or differential archive files with the date in the filename and have iDrive back these up, but this is clunky, takes up (potentially a lot of) disk space, and would make restores more work.

Does anyone know of any online backup offerings that are geared towards server disaster recovery rather than desktop PC's?

Thanks in advance for any help.


  • 1
    Why would you ever use consumer-oriented backup services for production servers? That's like a restaurant owner buying food supplies at Ralph's.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 6:39

1 Answer 1


I hear Tarsnap is all the rage these days. SSH, cheap rates, VERY paranoid about security.

Heard about it from Michael W. Lucas. Nice guy, tons of awesome videos on Youtube. Writes books. Was an admin for 30+ years, now is mostly a writer.

  • Tarsnap looks great. In fact after I wrote the question I went ahead and wrote a script to create full and differential compressed tarballs to back up using iDrive, so it would just be a matter of replacing "tar" with "tarsnap" if I go that route. Seems cheap and secure, $5 to try it, can't really beat that.
    – Dave Spear
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 0:52
  • @DaveSpear I think Tarsnap is a bit more "user-friendly" as far as the "user-friendly" concept goes in the UNIX world, at least in comparison to writing very explicit scripts. You have a binary and you basically have to learn a few arguments and it should do everything for you: differentials, fulls-what have you. Glad I could point you in the right direction!
    – Max
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 2:27

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