SpiderOak online backup – not what I hoped it would be

I’ve been looking for an online backup service for my home network (mix of linux and windows), and I thought SpiderOak was going to be the ticket.  I tried it out for a few days but I’m disappointed by the experience.

I was pleased with the pricing ($10/mo for up to 100GB) and multi-platform support.  There are other features, like multi-machine syncing and ‘ShareRoom’ public sharing that seem useful.  But the product is has some glaring holes that make it unusable for me.

On windows, the client has to be running continuously for backups to occur, and it is both a memory and CPU hog — not something I want to leave running all the time.  I was hoping for automatic setup as a service or something, or at least a very small-footprint process that runs continuously.

On linux, it’s the same story.  Takes a lot of resources for what it does, plus it has to run continuously.  It does provide a batch option (–batchmode) so you can call it via cron (same on windows).  It’s not terribly surprising that I have to configure that, and it’s covered in the FAQs.

I was also disappointed that it automatically traversed mounted remote filesystems, including the sshfs mounts I maintain to my hosting provider and work.  It was easy to de-select those from backup once I realized it (as long as I used the Advanced selection view), but it surprised me to find them in the backup set.

But the real issue that makes it a non-starter is security.  The files are all encrypted in transit and in storage in the cloud, so that’s not the concern.  The problem is that any files I backup on one machine are visible without a password (beyond the SpiderOak account password) on any other machine that uses the same account.  So there’s no way I’ll use SpiderOak for my linux server system files and my personal stuff and have the client running on the kids’ computers as well.

I expect those problems will be solved at some point, and I’d be happy to try again.  If I’m just missing something, I’d like to know that, too.  But for now, I’ll continue to look and hope for an online backup service that works for heterogeneous home networks… And using dirvish to backup to external drives.