CloudBerry Backup Follow-Up: Backed Up and Restored

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Windows, Windows 10 with 18 Comments

CloudBerry Backup Follow-Up: Backed Up and Restored

When I published my original CloudBerry Backup review, I had been using it for about three weeks. That was enough time to determine that this product was an incredibly complete backup/restore and disaster recovery solution for both individuals and businesses of all sizes.

But as I noted at the time, CloudBerry Backup is dense with useful features, and properly testing some of its more advanced functionality would require more time and experience. Also, I had an ulterior motive: I had been looking for a way to get my NAS-based data backed up to the cloud, and it seemed like CloudBerry Backup, combined with the right low-cost cloud storage service, would nicely fit that bill.

Since that first review, Tom Kunath checked in with a CloudBerry Backup real field review of his own. And Kenny Grayson joined Brad and me on First Ring Daily to talk about his experiences using the product. Both confirmed my less experienced opinion about CloudBerry Backup, which was nice. But these folks have also inspired me to keep looking at CloudBerry myself.

So I’ve had CloudBerry Backup running on my workstation ever since, providing me with a better understanding of how things work over time. More crucially, I’ve also had time to experiment more with different restore scenarios. And I’ve started the process of getting that NAS backup going. In this follow-up review, I’ll describe each of these efforts.

First up, restore.

In speaking with CloudBerry a few months back and then more recently with Mr. Grayson, I’ve come to the understanding that while the product’s files backup and system restore features serve different needs, they can also be used interchangeably in some cases.

For example, I’ve been performing a system backup of my daily-use workstation to my NAS for several weeks. This type of backup is done for disaster recovery purposes, typically: Perhaps the hard drive fails and you need to replace it and then restore the entire system using the latest backup. This is simple enough, and CloudBerry provides a straightforward wizard for creating a bootable USB flash drive so that you can get up and running again quickly. (You could also perform a cloud-based system restore, though that would be much more time-consuming.)

But you don’t have to restore the entire system. In some cases, you may wish to simply start fresh with a new hard drive, as in the previous scenario. Or perhaps start over with a new PC entirely and just recover some of the data in the system backup. In corporate scenarios, you may need to move a server-based workload to the cloud and want to virtualize the hardware so that it can be hosted more efficiently.

I’ve experimented with each of these approaches, though I’ve kept things local to my home network for efficiency reasons.

Using CloudBerry Backup’s Restore Wizard, you can restore items from within a system image backup, including files and folders, a SQL Server database or backup files, or a specific system state. I’ve only looked at the files and folders option, and as you might expect, that’s straightforward enough.

But you can also restore the backup to a virtual machine or virtual disk. This includes some cloud-hosted options, in Amazon EC2/EBS/AMI, Azure VM or data disk, or Google Cloud Instance (image or disk). For this exercise, I choose the virtual disk option, and the wizard asked me to select from a variety of popular virtual disk types, including those for Hyper-V (several version), VirtualBox, and VMWare.

I chose a VMWare dynamically-sized virtual disk for no particular reason—I have access to all of the major virtualization solutions—and then proceeded to step through the wizard. This, too, was straightforward: Just chose the partition or partitions you wish to restore, select a local destination folder and name for the file, and then kick off the restore.

Once the restore was complete, I fired up VMWare Workstation, attached the new virtual disk to one of my existing VMs, and booted into the virtual system. Then, I could access the disk normally and copy files from it as needed. (To emulate how this might work in the real world, I mounted a folder as a share so I could just access the restored data from my workstation.)

As for my NAS backup, I’ve long wanted to archive some of the content from this device—a prosumer-class WD MyCloud EX2—to the cloud and to keep that backup up-to-date going forward. (I’ve manually copied some of this content to the cloud, but in a haphazard fashion, and much of it is out-of-date.) The trick was finding an inexpensive service that could be automated to back-up from the NAS.

Backblaze meets the cost requirements: It’s just $50 per year per computer, for individuals. And business plans that specifically cover direct server and NAS backups are $0.005/GB per month for data storage, so 1 TB of data would cost about $50 per year. Backblaze requires you to work with a partner to perform this type of backup—my NAS is not supported—and, of course, Cloudberry is one of those partners.

I knew from my experience with CloudBerry that I almost certainly would be able to back up certain folders on the NAS to Backblaze from my workstation. So I set out first to experiment with that. And then to consider whether I could slide in under Backblaze’s individual plan, given how (comparatively) expensive the server/NAS plan is. Because the data I wish to backup is, in fact, personal, I believe I’m legally and morally in the clear.

Sure enough, it’s very easy. And I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover that backing up my NAS to a cloud service like Backblaze is just as simple as any other kind of backup. The steps are the same, and the wizard walks you through the process with no drama.

There were only a few notable configuration changes to consider compared to my previous backups.

First, I had to select the correct folder share path(s) on the NAS. By default, CloudBerry Backup looks at the PC on which it is running, but you can select any number of network shares in the Backup Source step of the wizard. So for the first test, I just selected a single user’s Documents folder on the NAS and continued.

For this backup, I did enable CloudBerry’s compression and encryption capabilities. And I set a recurring schedule even though this particular folder wouldn’t benefit; for future additions to the backup, keeping new content backed up will be key. And that was about it: The backup began running immediately.

I’m going to add more NAS folders to the backup over time and monitor my data usage. I’m also going to save the backup plan so that I can access it from other PCs when I inevitably pave over my current workstation. But it’s amusing to me that I’ve stressed over the NAS backup for so long, as I can see now that CloudBerry Backup is going to handle this task with ease.

Which, again, should never have surprised me. CloudBerry Backup remains highly recommended: I believe this solution can meet any and all backup and recovery needs that you may have. And given the reasonable pricing, there’s no reason not to give it a shot.


Disclosure: As I noted in the original review, CloudBerry Labs is sponsoring the First Ring Daily podcast for a three-month period that ends this week. The company had asked me to write an honest review of its flagship product, which I did. But my opinions about CloudBerry Backup are my own and the company’s sponsorship played no role in this or the original review. I have no qualms—moral or otherwise—recommending this product to readers of this site. —Paul


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Comments (18)

18 responses to “CloudBerry Backup Follow-Up: Backed Up and Restored”

  1. jkchan83

    @Paul, Perhaps I am misunderstanding your article, but it sounded like you were trying to sign up for Backblaze's 1 PC personal or individual plan for $50/year to back up your NAS shares. In your last screenshot and on Cloudberry's website, it shows you are using Backblaze B2, which is the service that provides per GB pricing.

    My questions are: were you able to sign up for the $50/year personal unlimited plan at Backblaze? Were you able to use the Backblaze personal service (not B2) with the Cloudberry software?

    • lvthunder

      In reply to jkchan83:

      No you have to use the Backblaze client for the $50/year unlimited. Everything else uses B2.

    • Joshua Hudson

      In reply to jkchan83:

      I was wondering about that as well.

      "So I set out first to experiment with that. And then to consider whether I could slide in under Backblaze’s individual plan, given how (comparatively) expensive the server/NAS plan is. Because the data I wish to backup is, in fact, personal, I believe I’m legally and morally in the clear."

      To use the individual plan you have to use the backblaze client and it by default backs up all the things (kind of annoying, since you have to exclude folders, instead of just picking the folders you want). Any use of B2 is the same price for individuals and business users (0.005/GB)

  2. JoseGonzales

     Backup are my chinese buffet near me open now own and the company’s sponsorship 

  3. peterh_oz

    To be honest it sounds rather finnecky. Ok for readers of this site, but for my dad & sister they just want "set & forget". I can't see what this does that Crashplan doesn't do, other than a sub $100 price. However, at least it automatically backs up all files within a selected folder, unlike Carbonite which excludes videos by default, and even when selected you have to select PER FOLDER. For this reason I can not and will not recommend Carbonite, and in fact left them a few years ago (as did 3 family members plus some friends, for the same reason). Excluding some file types (eg family videos) for a service designed for non tech families, is inexcusable.

    • DavidCB

      In reply to peterh_oz: CrashPlan has discontinued their Home service. You can certainly still use them for home, but will need to use the Small Business Plan (at a higher annual cost). CloudBerry backup lets you select the cloud storage you want to use (or local if you choose). That gives many users more control over storage costs/features as they get to select the cloud storage vendor that has the regional access and features needed. With our stand-alone CloudBerry Backup, it's a one-time license fee as opposed to annual subscriptions. You can also image entire volumes if needed so you can restore an entire system. You can set the schedules to run automatically in the background, without any user intervention; only getting notified via email about any backup issues. There are many options out there for consumer backup. Thanks for the feedback.

  4. dave.erwin

    I got one of the licenses from the offer on the FRD podcast. My license does not allow image-based backups. Which version are you using? According to their web site image-based backups are now available in the desktop pro edition ($49.95). I'm not sure if that will be coming to the FRD licenses? I've reached out to them to find out since they are running a decent offer for World Backup Day but I haven't heard back from them.

  5. mikiem

    Glad CloudBerry's working for you. While file backup is fine, if that's what you want/need, I didn't read where you've tried its disk/partition image backup [though I may have missed it]. Unlike Paragon & Macrium Reflect, that part's not free, so anyone wanting to try it has to fork over some cash 1st. FWIW Paragon can also mount image backups, much the way you'd mount an ISO in a virtual drive, and while IMHO that shouldn't be used when what you really need is a file backup, for a fairly small amount of files works fine.

    "But you can also restore the backup to a virtual machine or virtual disk."

    It's cool that they give you the option in the GUI, but it's not a make or break, or a really, Really need it feature, since Windows will mount a .vhd or .vhdx, or just run the restore in a VM if you need/want another format. V/Box works with .vhd files just fine, though if you're using a dynamically expanding VHD, & later want/need to compact it, it *may* be easier for you to use the V/Box native .vdi with CloneVDI. [The Precompact that comes on an ISO with win7's VPC works fine in V/Box BTW.]

  6. randallcorn

    I tried this using Google Drive as my data store. It worked except it was extremely slow. I contacted Cloudberry about it and they said it had to do with the API that they use from Google that had limits. Was disappointed. Funny thing is other applications that use some API to Google drive worked quickly.

    I really want to use this software as my Enterprise version of GSuite has unlimited storage.

  7. brettscoast

    Good review Paul

    Happy to give cloudberry backup a go. The feature set is indeed impressive.

  8. Shane

    This is probably a stupid question.

    But Is this just for the USA or can we in the UK use this service.

    I haven't searched there site to check being honest.

  9. summersk59

    I ran the trial version of Cloudberry, then purchased the pro version. After purchasing the first copy, I then went to Cloudberry's Youtube page to view some videos about their software. I found an offer to purchase the software at a 50% discount good until April 2nd. I then purchased a 2nd license for my desktop computer at the 50% discount. I proceeded to send a request to Cloudberry in regards to getting the same discount on the first license that I purchased and waited for a response. I was somewhat disappointed in the response that I got from "Andy K" but more so in his wording of the response. Here's my request and his response:


    Hello Andy


    I purchased one licence via the link provided for $70.76 CDN. I went to Cloudberry’s YouTube site to view some tutorials

    and found a 50% off offer “World Backup Day” good until April 2 2018. I purchased a 2nd licence for my desktop computer at the 50%. How can I get the discount applied to my first order?

    Thanks in advance


    This is the response that I received this morning from Andy K

    Dear customer

    why should we give you a discount for your first order?


    So as you can see, this response is short and not very customer focused. The fact that I'm posting this online in regards to their customer care doesn't speak well on the part of their sales/customer team, specify Andy K .

    Any thoughts on this Paul?

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