Online Backup Frequently Asked Questions

Online backup, also known as remote backup or data backup, is a modern method for a business to obtain offsite data storage in which files, folders, or the entire contents of a hard drive are regularly backed up to a secure data centre.

The purpose of online backup is simple. Backing up data to a datacentre protects the business from the risk of total data loss as a result of fire, theft, file and hard drive corruption, or other disaster, where data held onsite would be lost. With today’s greatly improved internet speeds Online backup is becoming the most common way for businesses to protect their critical data.
Online Backup is a unique online service that allows you to back up and instantly restore all data and files held on your system. With Online Backup, you can:

  • Securely encrypt and back up ALL your files, emails and databases to our secure off-site servers.
  • Automatically back up your data over the internet throughout the day and night.
  • Restore all your data saved in the past – from a few hours before to a version you kept last year.
  • Simple subscription based service with a 30 day Free Trial and you only pay for what you use.
For a normal system on a typical broadband line — and assuming you continue working on the computer during the backup process — Cloud4 Backup backs up data at about 2-4 GB per day. If left undisturbed on a fast connection, however, you can back up around 9-10 GB in a day. Speeds depend on your broadband connection.

After your initial backup, subsequent backups are relatively quick. Chances are that you won't even notice them. This is possible because Cloud4 Backup performs incremental backups, which means that it only backs up the portions of your files that have changed since the last time they were backed up. This saves lots of time, bandwidth and storage space.
Your data is stored in its encrypted state in our data centres with 24/7/365 on-site monitoring and security, redundant power distribution units and safeguards that can withstand an earthquake. In addition, we use a mirrored data centre structure to ensure that your data is safe, even in the event of multiple hardware failures.
Cloud4 Backup currently supports Windows 7, 2000, XP (32 and 64 bit), and Vista (32 and 64 bit), as well as Mac OS X 10.6, 10.5, and 10.4. Also supports Windows Server 2000, 2003, 2008, Windows Home Server, and Mac OS Server.
It really depends on what kind of data to be backed up, e.g. for personal file backups, the daily data transfer should be limited, while MS Exchange backup could be significant.
To manually install the OBM on Windows, you’ll need to copy and zipping the program directory (e.g. C:\Program Files\OBM) from another machine with OBM installed. Then do the followings on the machine you wish to manually install:

  • Create the directory C:\Program Files\OBM
  • Unzip the OBM program directory archive to C:\Program Files\OBM
  • Run C:\Program Files\OBM\bin\install.bat
  • Run C:\Program Files\OBM\bin\Install-Scheduler.bat
OBM compares timestamps of files on the server with the corresponding copies on client machine. Archive bit is not used as it does not detect relocated files. Therefore tape backup would not affect OBM.
After the initial upload, subsequent backup jobs will only transfer the modified or new data to the Backup server. It depends on the nature of the data, but normally, less than 2% of all data is modified.
Backup data is transferred in blocks (instead of file by file) to minimize connection negotiation roundtrip's. It is not the TCP/IP block size. This setting is optimal for the backup operation.
If you have a lot of data (e.g. 300GB) to backup to the Backup server, it would take a considerable amount of time to perform the first full backup over the Internet. You can try the following method:

  • Use the Seed Loading Utility to backup your backup set to a local hard disk (instead of directly transfer to the Backup server)
  • Send the backup data, using a removable hard disk, to Cloud4 directly
  • We can then load all your backup files from your removable hard disk into your backup account. This could save you days (even weeks) of performing your first full backup
  • In addition, subsequent backups are incremental (only new or updated files will be uploaded to the server), the amount of data transfer should be relatively smal
  • Please refer to the User’s Guide for details on the “Seed Loading Utility”
You can copy the data of the particular backup set on OBS to a removable media, e.g. external hard disk, and ship it to your client. Your client can then use the “Decypt Files Tool” in OBM to restore the backup data from the removable media to its original format.
All backup files are compressed and encrypted before uploading to the Backup Server, the average compression ratio for text-based file is around 4:1. However, no further compression can be made on files that are already in compressed format (e.g. JPG, ZIP). In general, you can assume a 2:1 compression ratio when you are backing up a file set with variety types.
The encrypting key cannot be changed once you setup your Backup Set. This is necessary for the integrity of the Backup Set, making sure that backup data is only encrypted by one key. Otherwise, you will have problems remember two encrypting keys when you want to restore your files in the future.

You need to recreate your Backup Set if you really want to change your encrypting key.
There are two encryptions being performed by OBM:

Encryption of backup data - This is being done by 128-bit symmetric key encryption (AES, TripleDES, TwoFish). 256-bit is not available because it requires too much CPU and it is not really required. (128-bit is currently being used by most banks)

Encryption of backup traffic - This is being done by 1024 bit RSA public key encryption. The strength of the encryption depends on the key size you use when you generate your CSR before submitting to your CA. 1024 bit is what is being used by most CAs.
Please try the following:

  1. Check if [Control Panel] -> [Administrative Tools] -> [Services] -> [Online Backup Scheduler] is available and started
  2. Check if C:\Program Files\OBM\home.txt contains the home directory for your backup account (e.g. C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\.obm)
  3. Check if C:\Program Files\OBM\jvm\bin\SchedulerOBM.exe exists
  4. Check if C:\Program Files\OBM\log\Scheduler\info.log contains the startup loading entry, e.g.
    1. [2005/12/12 12:42:44] OS Name=Windows XP
    2. [2005/12/12 12:42:44] OS Version=5.1
    3. [2005/12/12 12:42:44] Scheduler Version=5.0.1.3e
    4. [2005/12/12 12:42:44] Java Vendor=Sun Microsystems Inc. Version=1.4.2_10
    5. [2005/12/12 12:42:44] [info] Starting Scheduler, User:'backup-account', Home:'C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\.obm
Currently, it is not possible to do hard disk image backup with OBM. However, you can still backup/restore the operating system by doing the following:

To backup all files including the operating system, please do this:

  1. Add all files to your backup source
  2. Add a SystemState backup type to your backup account (Windows only)


To restore all files including the operating system, please do this:

  1. Re-install the operating system and applications
  2. Restore the SystemState backup to your machine (Windows only) - To restore the System State data on a domain controller, you must first start your computer in a special startup option called "Directory Services Restore Mode". To access "Directory Services Restore Mode", press F8 during startup and select it from the list of startup options.


Restore all files to your machine.
Advantages:

  • You require less backup accounts
  • You can use one username and password to configure the backup setting for all Backup Sets


Disadvantages:

  • You must use different backup sets for different computers
  • Whenever a new backup set is created under the backup account, you need to go back to all computers using the same backup account to uncheck the “Run scheduled backup on this computer” option for the new backup set (Since backup setting is saved on server and new backup set is default to run on all computers, i.e. with the option checked)
  • Improper configuration could easily cause problems, which are difficult to debug
In an incremental backup, only modified files will be uploaded to the Backup Server.

On the other hand, In-File Delta is applicable to the physical files to be uploaded to the Backup Server, does not matter whether it is a MS SQL database file, MS Exchange transaction log file or any normal file in a FileBackupSet. Specifically, only the changed blocks in comparison to the original file on the Backup Server (delta file) will be uploaded.

For each modified file, OBM would determine whether the entire file or only delta file should be uploaded. If the entire file is to be uploaded, the old version of the file will be moved to the Retention area. Else if only the delta file is to be uploaded, the previous delta files will be moved to the Retention area and the Data area should contain the original full backup file, checksum file and the latest delta file of this file.

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