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Main article: Backup

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Gnarbox 2.0 backup SSD is a photographer’s best friend in the field and at home

18:06 | 9 October

Working photographers, and enthusiasts who just love taking plenty of pictures, know that even the biggest SD cards can sometimes fill up, especially when you’re working with large file sizes, shooting both JPG and RAW, and shooting 4K video. The solution? A good mobile backup drive. There are a number of options out there that fit the bill, but the newly released Gnarbox 2.0 might be the best of them all, because it works like a miniature independent photo computer in addition to packing speedy SSD storage onboard.

This is the second generation of Gnarbox’s backup solution, and while I used the original, HDD-based version to great effect for a long time, the 2.0 version adds a ton of useful features, including super-fast SSD storage ranging from 256GB to 1TB in capacity, a new OLED display that makes it even easier to use in the field, and a removable battery that means you can pack spares to stay powered up and ready.

Simple, no fuss backup

It’s not the fanciest feature that the Gnarbox 2.0 offers, but it might be the one you use most: Quick and painless backup of SD cards. There’s an SD port on the device itself that can transfer at speeds up of to 75MB/s, and it has USB-C ports that can transfer direct from cameras or from card readers at up to 350MB/s depending on their transfer capabilities. When you plug in an SD card or camera, you get an option on the screen to totally back up the contents of the attached drive with one click, which makes it incredibly easy to dump and delete and clear up space to keep shooting.

Gnarbox 2.0 6

During a 9-day trip that included two events and a vacation to shoot, I made frequent use of this feature. Shooting with the new Sony A7R IV in both RAW and JPG, even my 128GB SD + 64GB SD backup cards filled up pretty quickly, but I would just slide one of the cards into the Gnarbox’s slot and hit the backup button before changing venues and it’d be fully backed up within a few minutes.

In my experience, this process has been rock-solid reliable, and gives me effectively 10x the space for a shoot vs. just relying on my cards alone (I don’t typically have a similar sized backup SD card on the road, let alone 10). By default, the Gnarbox 2.0 stores all your media in backup folders organized by capture date, too, which makes them super easy to sort through once you get back to base.

A mobile review and rating machine

Once all that great capture content is on your Gnarbox 2.0, you can also very easily connect to the drive using Gnarbox’s mobile apps to either review what you’ve got, or go through and rate your photos quickly to make the process of working through them once you’re installed at your workstation easier.

There are two apps from Gnarbox available right now, including Gnarbox Safekeep and Gnarbox Selects. Safekeep gives you access to all your device’s settings and can also act as a file browser for shuttling photos between apps. But Selects is probably what you’re going to be using most – it not only offers fast RAW previews (compatible with every major camera’s RAW formats) but also lets you quickly add ratings, keyboard tags and more to make sure your collection is primed for edit when you get back to your desktop.

With Selects, you can review either files on the Gnarbox SSD itself, or on attached memory cards or storage media (so yes, you can use this with something like a Samsung T5 if you’re already using that as a backup solution). All this info will then show up in applications like Adobe Lightroom to expedite your workflow.

This can shave hours off the process of organizing your photos, since it means you can do the rating and reviewing up front without having to wait for everything to import and then trying to recall what you were going for with the shoot in the field after the fact.

Easy sharing from the field

Speaking of saving time, the Gnarbox 2.0 also helps you move more quickly from capture to sharing, which is incredibly useful if you’re working on a live event or doing photojournalism of something happening in the moment. The device supports Lightroom mobile out of the box, meaning you can navigate to it as a source for a new collection and move files over directly when connected to your phone or tablet. This makes it awesome for adding quick edits to RAW files, exporting finished JPGs and sharing directly to social apps and websites.

With Apple’s new iOS 13 filesystem changes, the Gnarbox 2.0 can also be addressed as a mass storage device, so you should be pretty wide open in terms of options for working with various editing software. This is also great for mobile video workflows, since Gnarbox 2.0 works just as well for storing video capture as well as photos.

Home workstation companion

Gnarbox 2.0 3The Gnarbox 2.0 is great on the go, but it’s also perfect for plugging in as a home work drive once you’re back from the shoot. I’m reviewing the 1TB version, so the amount of available on board storage is a big advantage here, since it can essentially provide all the space you need to give you all of your working files in one place.

As mentioned, it supports high-speed USB-C transfer, which makes working with the files directly from the drive on your main workstation much more pleasant. That also means you don’t necessarily have to move things over local to get to work, which saves you a step and spares your computer’s disk space.

Gnarbox 2.0 switches to USB Mass Storage mode pretty easily, using the onboard OLED menu system. You do need to make this switch manually however, because by default the USB-C port that it uses to make the computer connection is used for charging the Gnarbox’s battery. Once you’re in that mode, however, it’s as easy as connecting Gnarbox 2.0 to your computer and then navigating to it as you would any other connected mass storage device.

Photos on the drive are organized by capture date, as mentioned (you can customize how it creates its folder structure if you want) and you can also select it as an import target in any photo editing software, like Lightroom or Capture One.

Bottom line

Gnarbox 2.0 5Gnarbox has taken their time to create a thoughtful and thorough successor to their original product with the Gnarbox 2.0. It’s a unique blend of field photo server and mini computer, made more versatile with clever touches like the removable battery packs and dust/splash resistance. Ultimately, there really isn’t anything in the market that can compete with the Gnarbox 2.0 on everything it provides, though devices like WD’s My Passport Wireless Pro and the LaCie Rugged Boss SSD can offer some key parts at lower prices depending on your needs.

At $899 for the 1TB version I reviewed, ($499 and $599 for the 256 and 512GB versions, respectively), the Gnarbox 2.0 clearly isn’t for everyone. It’s a professional tool for a professional workflow, and it’s priced as such. That said, the value it provides for busy photographers who need a companion storage solution with utmost flexibility for working both at home and on the road is definitely going to make it worth the cost of admission for some.

 


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Carbonite to acquire endpoint security company Webroot for $618.5M

21:07 | 8 February

Carbonite, the online backup and recovery company based in Boston, announced late yesterday that it will be acquiring Webroot, an endpoint security vendor, for $618.5 million in cash.

The company believes that by combining its cloud backup service with Webroot’s endpoint security tools, it will give customers a more complete solution. Webroot’s history actually predates the cloud, having launched in 1997. The private company reported $250 million in revenue for fiscal 2018, according to data provided by Carbonite . That will combine with Carbonite’s $296.4 million in revenue for the same time period.

Carbonite CEO and president Mohamad Ali saw the deal as a way to expand the Carbonite offering. “With threats like ransomware evolving daily, our customers and partners are increasingly seeking a more comprehensive solution that is both powerful and easy to use. Backup and recovery, combined with endpoint security and threat intelligence, is a differentiated solution that provides one, comprehensive data protection platform,” Ali explained in a statement.

The deal, not only enhances Carbonite’s backup offering, it gives the company access to a new set of customers. While Carbonite sells mainly through Value Added Resellers (VARs), Webroot’s customers are mainly 14,000 Managed Service Providers (MSPs). That lack of overlap could increase its market reach through to the MSP channel. Webroot has 300,000 customers, according to Carbonite.

This is not the first Carbonite acquisition. It has acquired several other companies over the last several years including buying Mozy from Dell a year ago for $145 million. The acquisition strategy is about using its checkbook to expand the capabilities of the platform to offer a more comprehensive set of tools beyond core backup and recovery.

Graphic: Carbonite

The company announced it is using cash on hand and a $550 million loan from Barclays, Citizens Bank and RBC Capital Markets to finance the deal. Per usual, the acquisition will be subject to regulatory approval, but is expected to close this quarter.

 


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Backblaze updates its backup service

18:00 | 17 January

Backblaze started out as a backup solution for consumers, but over the course of the last few years, it also added cloud storage and other services to its lineup. Today, however, the company is going back to its roots with the launch of Backblaze Cloud Backup version 6.0, its flagship service that offers unlimited storage and data transfers.

 

The updated backup service promises a number of speed increases (with backup being up to 50 percent faster depending on the network conditions) and less overhead, as well as the ability to keep the service from using certain networks to help users avoid overage charges when they are using a mobile hotspot, for example (or when their ISP only gives them a certain bandwidth allotment). Backblaze now also offers single sign-on support for Google.

 

The other major new feature is the ability to save snapshots to Backblaze’s B2 Cloud Storage service. This allows users to store all the data from their old computer and migrate it to a new one, for example, or save a set of files to the cloud as a permanent archive (or simply to free up space for all those Steam downloads). Just like when users restore files from their backups, they can opt to download it directly or get a USB drive shipped to their door.

Talking about those USB drives, Backblaze how now doubled the capacity of its USB keys to hold up to 256GB and its hard drives can now hold up to 8TB (and you can always return those and get a full refund from the company).

 


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AWS launches Backup to let you back up your on-premises and AWS data to AWS

07:23 | 17 January

Amazon’s AWS cloud computing service today launched Backup, a new tool that makes it easier for developers on the platform to back up their data from various AWS services and their on-premises apps. Out of the box, the service, which is now available to all developers, lets you set up backup policies for services like Amazon EBS volumes, RDS databases, DynamoDB tables, EFS file systems and AWS Storage Gateway volumes. Support for more services is planned, too. To back up on-premises data, businesses can use the AWS Storage Gateway.

The service allows users to define their various backup policies and retention periods, including the ability to move backups to cold storage (for EFS data) or delete them completely after a certain time. By default, the data is stored in Amazon S3 buckets.

Most of the supported services, except for EFS file systems, already feature the ability to create snapshots. Backup essentially automates that process and creates rules around it, so its no surprise that the pricing for Backup is the same as for using those snapshot features (with the exception of the file system backup, which will have a per-GB charge). It’s worth noting that you’ll also pay a per-GB fee for restoring data from EFS file systems and DynamoDB backups.

Currently, Backup’s scope is limited to a given AWS region, but the company says that it plans to offer cross-region functionality later this year.

“As the cloud has become the default choice for customers of all sizes, it has attracted two distinct types of builders,” writes Bill Vass, AWS’s VP of Storage, Automation, and Management Services. “Some are tinkerers who want to tweak and fine-tunee the full range of AWS services into a desired architecture, and other builders are drawn to the same breadth and depth of functionality in AWS, but are willing to trade some of the service granularity to start at a higher abstraction layer, so they can build even faster. We designed AWS Backup for this second type of builder who has told us that they want one place to go for backups versus having to do it across multiple, individual services.”

Early adopters of AWS Backup are State Street Corporation, Smile Brands and Rackspace, though this is surely a service that will attract its fair share of users as it makes the life of admins quite a bit easier. AWS does have quite a few backup and storage partners, though, who may not be all that excited to see AWS jump into this market, too, though they often offer a wider range of functionality — including cross-region and offsite backups — than AWS’s service.

 

 


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AWS adds automated point-in-time recovery to DynamoDB

21:11 | 4 April

One of the joys of cloud computing is handing over your data to the cloud vendor and letting them handle the heavy lifting. Up until now that has meant they updated the software or scaled the hardware for you. Today, AWS took that to another level when it announced Amazon DynamoDB Continuous Backups and Point-In-Time Recovery (PITR).

With this new service, the company lets you simply enable the new backup tool, and the backup happens automatically. Amazon takes care of the rest, providing a continuous backup of all the data in in your DynamoDB database.

But it doesn’t stop there, it lets the backup system act as a recording of sorts. You can rewind your data set to any point in time in the backup to any time with “per second granularity” up to 35 days in the past. What’s more, you can access the tool from the AWS Management Console, an API call or via the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI).

Screenshot: Amazon

“We built this feature to protect against accidental writes or deletes. If a developer runs a script against production instead of staging or if someone fat-fingers a DeleteItem call, PITR has you covered. We also built it for the scenarios you can’t normally predict,” Amazon’s Randall Hunt wrote in the blog post announcing the new feature.

If you’re concerned about the 35 day limit, you needn’t be as the system is an adjunct to your regular on-demand backups, which you can keep for as long as you need.

Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer, Werner Vogels, who introduced the new service at the Amazon Summit in San Francisco today, said it doesn’t matter how much data you have. Even with a terabyte of data, you can make use of this service. “This is a truly powerful mechanism here,” Vogels said.

The new service is available in various regions today. You can learn about regional availability and pricing options here.

 


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Synology’s C2 backup services goes live to users worldwide

20:10 | 21 March

If you know about Synology, chances are you know about its network attaches storage (NAS) hardware. Over the course of the last few years, the company made a name for itself as one of the premiere NAS providers for consumers and small businesses who want to make local backups of their data or make it easy for users in an office to share local drive space. Now, the company is making a major move into the cloud with the worldwide launch of its C2 Backup service for its NAS systems, which was previously only available in Europe.

To be clear, C2 Backup is all about backing up your Synology NAS system in the cloud. It’s not a competitor to online backup services like iDrive, Carbonite or Backblaze.

If you are a Synology NAS users, though, this service gives you yet another degree of security. Backing up your data locally is a good first step, after all, but if a disaster strikes your office, your backups are gone, too. Synology has long offered the ability to store backups in the cloud (on Amazon’s S3 service, for example), but it clearly wants a piece of this business, too.

“The flexibility of cloud backup in terms of low barrier to entry and strong future scalability plays a key role in the rapid growth of this market. With the demand for offsite data protection on the rise, we have received numerous requests from regions outside EMEA to expand our C2 Backup coverage,” said Jia-Yu Liu, Director of the Application Group at Synology. “We are happy to announce that all users around the world can now enjoy the same seamless backup experience designed specifically for Synology NAS.”

Pricing for the service seems pretty fair, with plans that start at €9.99/year for 100 GB of backed up data. Prices go up to €59.99/year for a terabyte. Under these plans, you can store 11 backup versions which remain in the system for 30 days. What’s nice here is that only the size of the source data counts against your storage usage, not the individual backups.

For users who need more flexibility, the company also offers a €69.99/TB/year plan with flexible backup schedules and customizable retention policies. The company is also offering a 30-day free trial.

A subscription business is obviously a smart move for Synology. The company mostly relied on its hardware sales for its business so far, but with the C2 Backup and the existing C2 Disaster Recovery services, it now offers two subscription services with recurring revenue.

 


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Rubrik acquires Datos IO to expand into NoSQL database management support

16:59 | 6 February

Rubrik, the enterprise startup that provides data backup and recovery services across cloud and on-premise environments, is putting some of the funding that it raised last year at a $1.3 billion valuation to use. Rubrik has acquired NoSQL data backup specialist Datos IO, the company announced today, in what appears to be Rubrik’s first acquisition.

The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed (we’re asking) but according to PitchBook it looks like Datos IO would have been valued at at least $45 million after its last round in May 2017 (pre-money valuation of $40.5 million, with its final round valued at $4.6 million).

Rubrik says that Datos IO will continue to be led by its co-founder and CEO Tarun Thakur, and it will exist as a new business unit called Datos IO.

Like Rubrik, Datos IO is a specialist in backup and recovery, but with a specific focus on NoSQL databases such as MongoDB, Cassandra, Couchbase and Amazon DynamoDB, and other big data file systems like Cloudera and Hortonworks by way of its flagship product RecoverX. These are increasingly getting adopted by large, Fortune 500-type organizations — and Datos IO has become a significant player, counting three of the Fortune 15 companies and the world’s largest home improvement retailer among its customers. As such, Rubrik is buying Datos IO to help expand its business in that sector.

“As enterprises adopt NoSQL cloud databases to undertake digital transformation and AI initiatives, the need to manage and recover applications and data is becoming top of mind,” said Bipul Sinha, Rubrik’s co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “We are excited to have Datos IO join the Rubrik family to accelerate innovation in how enterprises manage and recover this modern application stack.”

Interestingly, when Rubrik raised its large round of funding in April last year, Sinha said that it was unlikely that he and the startup would be making any acquisitions as a result.

“This is not our focus,” he said when I asked about buying smaller fish to expand the product offering. “We believe in innovation and are still a young company and want to continue the pace of acceleration.”

However, when you consider Rubrik’s roots — essentially playing in that gap between large companies’ existing, legacy on-premise data and workloads, and their newer cloud-based services, providing a backup for everything by way of an on-premise appliance — it’s notable that the company is buying Datos IO. It represents a leap forward for Rubrik as it looks to take on more “new” deployments, if not altogether young businesses.

“We founded Datos IO with a vision of building a next-generation data management platform for cloud-native data sources to ensure elasticity, orchestration and data mobility,” said Tarun Thakur, Co-Founder and CEO, Datos IO, in a statement. “Datos IO delivers critical backup and recovery capabilities for cloud-native applications and databases. Rubrik and Datos IO share a common vision of cloud data management and are committed to helping customers on their digital transformation journey.”

In other words, with more and more going into the cloud, Rubrik had to follow. Examples of functions and services that are covered in Datos IO’s recovery and backup services include Internet of Things deployments, artificial intelligence/machine learning platforms, real-time analytics, eCommerce, security services and mobile analytics.

Another point in common is that the two companies happen to share an investor, Lightspeed Venture Partners, where Sinha has also worked as a venture partner for years. It’s not clear how much of a role Lightspeed played in making the connection here (we are asking about this too).

In any case, Datos IO had caught the attention of a number of other strategic players, with both Cisco and NetApp investing the company’s venture round in May 2017. Other investors include True Ventures, CF, Engineering Capital and Semil Shah.

Rubrik itself has raised around $292 million to date, with investors including IVP, Greylock, Khosla and Kevin Durant (yes, that Kevin Durant).

Featured Image: Credit: ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

 


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Mophie’s Powerstation AC is the only backup battery you’ll ever need

17:37 | 24 January

Mophie’s been a solid, consistent maker of external batteries and backup power sources, but its new Powerstation AC just might top them all. The large, 22,000 mAh powerhouse has ample output options – including a crucial one that most backup batteries lack: a standard AC plug, just like you’d find in a wall in your home.

The Powerstation AC also has a 30W USB-C port with power delivery, which can charge your MacBook or Nintendo Switch at normal speeds; and a USB-A 2.4A Quick Charge port for you iPhone, Android or tablet. It features priority passthrough charging, so you can charge it while connected to another device overnight, and it charges via standard USB-C so you can fill it up with the same charger you use to power your MacBook, Android smartphone or Switch, too.

That last bit is a key differentiator: I’ve used big battery backups with AC outlets before, but most of these use a dedicated AC adapter with a non-USB connector to ensure the battery charges back up quickly. Using USB-C PD is a much better option, and one that’s far more practical for when you’re using the Powerstation AC on the road – which is exactly where you need it most.

Other Mophie details are still here, too, including an LED power indicator you can access with the push of a button to figure out how much juice you have left on board, and the company’s attention to design. A fabric-wrapped shel is both durable and comfortable to hold, making this one of the few options in this category that doesn’t look like it would be more at home on a factory floor than in your living room or office.

Of course, a key ingredient for any power brick that can also work with AC gadgets is a lot of capacity. At 22,000 mAh, the Mophie is among the leaders in the space in this regard. It translates to roughly 100 extra hours of smartphone use, or about 15 hours of additional USB-C laptop use, depending on what kind you’re using. And, the 90W output of the AC port means you’ll be charing at full power.

The real advantage of the Mophie here is its versatility. It has every port you need, and then some. The AC plug has saved my bacon at least twice during testing, including when I arrived at a press event with my MacBook Pro at 22 percent, and when I forgot to charge up my Canon 5D’s battery overnight. That’s why this is the be-all and end-all of chargers, and Mophie’s done a great job making it all work with a focus on quality and design, and at $200, a price that’s reasonable for this level of functionality.

 


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The Netgear ReadyNAS 524X is a data hoarder’s delight

22:14 | 3 October

 As a member of the Data Generation, I’ve found that my photos, videos, and documents quickly expand to fill their containers. A standard USB drive is quickly replaced by another, larger one while home network file servers fall by the wayside as they get full, old, and dangerously lossy. In short, it’s time for the big guns. That’s why I was pleased to try out the Netgear… Read More

 


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Backblaze’s unlimited backup service increases upload and restore speeds, adds file sharing and more

22:23 | 10 August

Backblaze is one of the few unlimited backup services standing — in part because of its prowess in securing its own hard drives and building its own cloud services. Today, the company launched version 5.0 of its service and desktop clients. This new version introduces faster backups and restores, as well as improved browsing speed, image previews on the restore page and a new file sharing feature backed by the company’s B2 Cloud Storage service.

The highlights here are clearly the increased speed and the new file sharing feature. Backblaze for Mac and PC now makes smarter decisions about how many simultaneous upload connections it can handle. On a slow connection, you don’t want to have to use too many parallel threads, but on a fast connection, you may want as many as possible. The company says that its service can now achieve backups of up to 100 Mbps, though in the infrastructure backwater that is most the U.S. in 2017, not everybody has access to these kinds of fast connections.

It’s worth noting that Backblaze founder and CEO Gleb Budman tells me that he remains fully committed to offering unlimited backups without any speed restrictions.

As for the new file sharing feature, Backblaze now allows its users to publicly share any of their backed up files through its B2 service. While this cloud storage service is mostly meant for developers, all B2 accounts come with 10GB/month of free storage and 1GB/day of free downloads, which should make it powerful enough for sharing photos and other files with friends and family. You do need a B2 account for this to work, but the sharing tools will walk you through setting one up if you don’t have one yet.

Backblaze charges $5/month for its personal backup service (or $50/year if you pre-pay) and $50/year per computer for its business plan.

 


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