Automatic Backup or Drag-and-Drop File Transfer apps - which approach is right for me?

Wasabi is often asked by individual and small business users that are new to S3-style cloud storage for recommendations on the optimal storage application approach for backup and file transfer use cases.  This article provides some guidance on this topic. 

It should be noted that there are hundreds of different backup & file transfer oriented storage applications that support the S3 API and can be used with Wasabi (this Wasabi knowledge base section provides a list).  This article is not intended as an explanation as to what all of these applications can do.  Instead, we wish to provide some recommendations and opinions for users that are not sure about the optimal backup vs. drag-and-drop file transfer approach.

Let's first review the two categories of storage applications that we wish to cover in this article:

Automatic Backup Applications:  With this type of software app, you choose the files/folders you want to backup, the backup schedule, and other relevant parameters.  Once you have done this, the backup app will bundle up your designated files/folders, and send them to Wasabi cloud storage.  

The advantages of this type of app are:

- Everything is automatic; once you set it up, the transfer of files to Wasabi storage is automatic (no user intervention is required)

- These types of apps generally have advanced scheduling and other types of controls for bandwidth consumption, compute threads etc.

- If you ever need to restore all of your files in a simple manner, these apps work great for that purpose

- All file metadata, including date / time info is preserved

- These apps will generally perform deduplication and encryption functions to help with storage efficiency and security

- Backup apps store file history (you can restore all or a subset of your files from a point in time in the past)

The disadvantages of this type of app are:

- You can't use the app to mount Wasabi cloud storage as a mounted disk volume

- You can't access the files outside of the app (this may be a problem if you need to quickly access an individual file outside of the backup app)

Examples of automatic backup apps that work well with Wasabi include Arq Backup and CloudBerry BackupPlease note that this not a comprehensive list; please refer to our knowledge base section if you are curious about the compatibility of other apps for use with Wasabi. 

  

Drag-and-Drop File Transfer Applications:  With this type of software app, you have the ability to mount cloud storage as a local disk volume.  This allows you to easily write and read to/from Wasabi cloud storage just like you would do any other disk volume or network drive.

The advantages of this type of app are:

- When you transfer files to Wasabi cloud storage, the files are left in their native form.  This makes it easy to access these files from any other application, including Wasabi's web management console.  This is in contrast to most automatic backup apps that encrypt and/or zip up all of the files/folders (which makes them unreadable from any application other than the backup app used to send the files to Wasabi).

- If you are using to using mountable network drives or portable hard disks, mounting Wasabi cloud storage provides a similar user experience.

The disadvantages of this type of app are:

- The date/time info of the file gets rewritten when you write to cloud storage (as it would if you were writing to any other disk volume).  This may or may not make a difference for your use case.

- These types of apps generally require some amount of local disk caching to work properly.  This often means that if you are trying to transfer (for example), 10 GB to the cloud, you may need up to 20 GB of local disk space.  This may be a problem if you are short on disk space on your local host.

- These type of apps often to do not have robust retry mechanisms.  This means that if there is a transmission interruption, you may have to restart the transfer. 

Examples of drag-and-drop file transfer apps that work well with Wasabi include Wasabi ExplorerWasabi Client, CloudBerry Drive or Explorer, Cyberduck or Mountain Duck, and ExpandrivePlease note that this not a comprehensive list; please refer to our knowledge base section if you are curious about the compatibility of other apps for use with Wasabi. 

 

Lastly, it is important to note that if you are looking for a file sharing experience comparable to Google Drive, Dropbox, etc, then Wasabi is not a full replacement for this type of service.  Please review this article for more details on this topic. 

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