CloudBerry Backup for macOS: Feature-Rich but Unreliable


(Dave Kitabjian) #1

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2019/03/07/cloudberry-backup-for-macos-feature-rich-but-unreliable/

CloudBerry Backup is a powerful and elegant desktop backup product for the Mac, but it suffers from troubling performance and reliability issues that will make you want to look elsewhere to protect your data.


(Beatrix Willius) #2

This is truly awful.

I wonder why making online backups is so hard. The Crashplan persons told me that I have too many files. Their backup simply stopped working. Then I switched to Arq. When I had computer troubles I found out that the last backup was 9 days old.

Do you have any experience with Acronis? I only know the name from Windows. The software looks much better than Arq or Crashplan. But it has the same problem as Arq: no timeline window. Oh, and sending mails as confirmation seems beyond their capabilities.


(Dave Kitabjian) #3

Hello Beatrix, and thanks for your reply.

I am not familiar with Acronis (at least not yet :sweat_smile:). Hopefully after reading this article, you know not to trust how it “looks” :wink:.

I’m not sure what you mean by Timeline, unless you’re referring to the feature in Time Machine that visually shows what backups you have going back in time? Do you need to actually show it as a “line” or is it enough, as in Crashplan or Arq, to be able to type in a date and get the files you need to restore effective that date?

As far as sending email notifications, that should be standard nowadays. CloudBerry actually did that part rather well.


(gastropod) #4

Lovely review! It’s so nice to read genuine ones instead of slightly rephrased press releases.

Given most of the article, I guess this question doesn’t matter much: does it do deduplication, either at file or block level? Even if things otherwise worked, the lack would be a deal killer for me.

Has anyone tried Retrospect Solo or Desktop? Retrospect used to be one of the standards on Mac, until (tl;dr) they aimed at business for steep prices. But they’ve got individual user versions again: $50 for one computer with no network drives or $120 for one non-server Mac plus five additional computers as clients (cross platform). It can backup to a wide variety of clouds and local media, and hopefully has a similar feature set for file selection, scheduling and such across all versions. There’s a 45 day trial, though that may not include Solo. I now have something else to play with over the weekend, along with my Wasabi and Arq trials.

https://www.retrospect.com/en/products/solo
https://www.retrospect.com/en/products/mac/desktop
https://www.retrospect.com/en/store/trial

Cloudberry’s problems also gave me a flashback to long ago (mid-late 90s?) LaCie’s SilverLining backup program. Free for everyone, not just LaCie drive owners, and easy to use. I thought there was finally an option to hand out to users to get them to back up. Until I tested it and discovered that it randomly skipped entire folder trees. I tried to talk to LaCie about it, but never heard back. A couple of years later I looked at it again, and it still did that. This was long before apfs, compression, security models, or any other fancy features, so there was really no excuse for them not noticing that the backup didn’t match the source. (N.B., if SilverLining or other LaCie backup software currently exists, it could well be properly functional now; I wouldn’t know.)


(gastropod) #5

The Crashplan person gave you poor advice. They had a very nice online documentation set, but it did take some practice to find things in it. For huge numbers of files, you had to change the maximum memory that the Java engine was allowed to use (one line in a text file), then things went well. There was a third party utility floating around that could do that, and also make sure that CP used the correct Java version if you had other apps that used different versions, but it wasn’t hard to do it by hand and the CP technotes were clear and easy to follow.

I find that it’s far too common for backup software to eventually stop doing their backups for mysterious reasons. Time Machine is a prime offender, but even Chronosync does it to me a couple of times a year. Now I either have success mail sent to me in the hopes that I’ll notice if they stop coming, or have reminders set to check manually every week or so.


(gastropod) #6

Forgot to add that Arq can send mail:

https://www.arqbackup.com/documentation/pages/email_report.html


(Beatrix Willius) #7

@gastropod: the Crashplan persons did a lot of stuff. We restarted, reinstalled, reindexed and increased the memory Jave until I was totally fed up.

@Dave Kitabjian: let’s say you delete a file because you want to clean up your disk. Some months later you find out that the file had critical information. In Crashplan I could select the deleted file (I think) or its folder and then with the timeline I could pinpoint very easily when I deleted the file. In Arq and Acronis I only have the individual backups. I now would have to go through the backups weekly back to find the last version of the file I need.


(Tareck Elass) #8

This is why I enjoy TidBits – reviews written clearly with pertinent observations and recommendations.

@gastropod – I’ve used Spideroak’s backup services for several years and they offer deduplication as I recall. Might meet your needs…


(Simon Sunatori) #9

I do not use this application, but have recently experienced a very similar situation in LiveCode.app because of the change in macOS data protection mechanism to access the contents of “/Users/$USER/Library/” directory. The problem was solved by the following, which could apply to CloudBerry and more.

• System Preferences… > Security & Privacy
• Privacy
• Full Disk Access
• LiveCode.app


(Adam Engst) #10

Yes, Mojave’s Full Disk Access is often necessary for backup apps. Since @dave1 was testing under High Sierra, that didn’t come up, but I would hope that CloudBerry would prompt the user to add Full Disk Access like SuperSuper and Carbon Copy Cloner do.


(CloudBerry) #11

CloudBerry here. Thank you for helping us improve our products! We’re big TidBits fans and we love independent reviews of our Standalone products. We’ll keep you updated with our progress on the items you have discovered.


(Dave Kitabjian) #12

Thanks, Tareck, that’s very kind. It speaks volumes about Adam’s editing skills!


(Dave Kitabjian) #13

Thanks for your words gastropod. You clearly have a lot of experience with backup software. I enjoyed Retrospect many years ago, but not any time recently.

I don’t recall reading about any deduplication capabilities in CloudBerry. That matters little to me since my storage costs are low. But having block level incremental backups keeps cpu and bandwidth burdens low, so that matters a lot to me.


(Dave Kitabjian) #14

@GS.Sunatori1, thanks for pointing this out, and @ace is correct.

High Sierra doesn’t have the “Full Disk Access” privacy setting available at all. And like I mentioned in the article, the file omissions are much broader than what would be found in ~/Library.

Likely, their problem is related to the privilege structure between the various processes (there are at least 3), config files, and user files.

Hopefully they figure it out once and for all!