1&1 Cloud Server DIY Backup Solutions
1and1.com has always offered a number of backup solutions including their “Professional Backup” and their “FTP Storage” features that have always been available to Dedicated and VPS servers. With the Cloud Servers though, I wanted to focus on entirely different approaches, leveraging Snapshots, Images, and Shared Storage and pit them against the old FTP Storage and Professional Backup solutions.
The Professional Backup storage, which is available in the new Cloud Servers named simply as “Backup”, consists of a Agent program that you configure onto your server, explain which folders or MySQL databases you wish to backup and the frequency of the backup. The system isn’t very intuitive, but for someone that wants to “set it and forget it” then it’s perfect as it’ll run on schedule and store offsite. The problem is, only 1 server is married to this 1 backup location, and if something goes tits up, then you must wait for 1&1 to remarry your account with another one of your servers, or get your server fixed/reimage for the marriage to be reunited. This means, you cannot access your backup from your home. *enter frowny face*
FTP Storage though is exactly what it sounds like, you lease the dump space, configure however you want to get the files onto the FTP Server, and you can connect to it from anywhere. I did mention that it’s FTP, so the traffic isn’t secure, and its still just files that are being backed up. Good luck using it if your system becomes corrupted and can’t start.
Now comes some buzz words: Snapshots and Images. Snapshots and Images are essentially the same with a few differences. They both save a carbon copy of your server the way it is right now, and allows you to revert to it at a later date.
Snapshots only allow for 1 snapshot to be active at a single point in time. After 72hours, the snapshot will expire and be purged from the system. The basic use-case for the snapshot is to take a snapshot right now, then do something that may alter server functionality: Edit Drivers, Install an Application, Severely alter website configuration. If anything happens that you didn’t expect, revert to the Snapshot, otherwise either hold on to it until the 72hours expire, or delete it and go on your way.
Images ($7.20 per 100GB)
Images are a slightly different beast, with the same benefits, plus some. The image is again a carbon copy of the server the way it is during creation, but it can be Automated to take images on a schedule, and it can store multiple images at a time. There’s two main use-cases for images:
- Create your server with the base configuration that future servers will need to emulate. Server software, firewall permissions, Domain/AD configurations, etc. Then take a single image and store it. Future servers, instead of installing 1&1’s base images, you’ll be able to create servers built off of this newly created Image.
- Create a backup schedule of daily/weekly, to take an image of the server and save it. Images are saved in RoundRobin form where you set an interval of 1=<, and when the number of images saved reaches that number, the oldest image is replaced. This is a simple First In First Out formation. You’ll pay 7.20 per 100GB of total space used per month. So if you have 5images, and each image is of a 30GB server, you’ll pay $10.80 per month for the 150GB stored.
Shared Storage ($7.20 per 100GB)
Lastly, not much more different than the FTP Storage, comes the Shared Storage. This is nothing more than a Network Attached Storage device which is only attached to the Datacenter Network of your servers and can’t be reached from outside. The benefits of this device is you can mount the storage space as needed, use it on any and all your servers, and the traffic is going via the internal network. This suffers the same issue as the Professional Backup though in that you can only access it from your Servers and it also only stores files, but isn’t a means of reverting your system to a state. You could however use it for Windows Backups, a mount point for your webservers to keep large documents on, etc.