Can Duplicati, be my Crash Plan / Genie Timeline..'clone'?

I am also something of an Orphan from CrashPlan, although I had only just gotten started with it. In fact, that is how I found Duplicati. I was about to start a new post, and then I saw that CrashPlan was headlined in this thread. Before I go much further, please advise if I should start a new thread about the following, or proceed here, or if there is a better thread for me to tag onto.

The issue I wanted help with is not the same one that Sutex started here. The feature that was so intriguing to me about CrashPlan is that you could set up a remote backup site on a friend’s backup disk or NAS. This seemed like a great way to have more complete control of your remote backups, without using one of the standard Cloud backup solutions. My brother-in-law and I were planning to backup essential files to each others’ houses. The great thing about Crashplan was that they made this extremely easy to do. I think I should be able to do this also with Duplicati, but I’m unclear about what the setup procedure would be. I presume the remote computer would have to be setup to serve a secure ftp connection, or something similar, and I would setup Duplicati to backup to this. I was hoping someone will understand the intent and walk me through how to do this.

Should I start this as a new thread, or continue here?

I don’t mind just, you’ll fit right in

another Crash Plan orphan wanting to replicate their ‘same’ backup type, with DUP :slight_smile:

This type of Backup @Bilateral , however its setup, would be great if a Template or list was posted,
I’m assuming Bilateral setup would need some scripts from the drop down box,

Yep, that’s exactly the CrashPlan feature I miss! It would be great if Duplicati could include something like a built in sftp sever, but unfortunately you are correct - with how Duplicati works fort now you have to manually set up the “destination” server at each end.

The process varies depending on the destination OS, but here are two #howto topics that might help get you started using the S3 compatible tool Mino.


I think part of the reason it’s but as simple as CrashPlan is because working through firewalls in a simple way generally requires a sever (that both clients can talk to) that gets all the right ports open so the two clients can then talk directly to each other. Since Duplicati is client only, that intermediary is missing. For now. :slight_smile:

Oh, and also keep in mind that Duplicati currently only initiates backups at their scheduled time. If your Duplicati says “time to back up” but you brother is offline then the backup is skipped until the next scheduled time. With CrashPlan I believe it would repeatedly check if the destination is online then start / continue a backup.

Oh, and as far a new post goes, if this discussion gets too long or too off OP topic we can shift the new posts over after the fact for you.

Syncthing might we worth to have a look for your use case.

There were two things that were really nice about CrashPlan in doing this–

  1. Everything was easy to set up. You identified another user who was also using CP, and CP would find that User, then the other user would Allow you to save to their system, and they would setup a backup location on their network for you to save/backup to. The Users are cooperative in making it work, but CP had the facility for making it easy.

  2. You can have a pretty high level of confidence that what you are participating in is secure. Everything is [was] done within CP’s realm, they control the security, they are established, etc.

In the current use of Duplicati to do this, you have to use other sources, for example–to create the secure server. If you (I) am not adept with the other software, I might not get things set up as securely as I would like, and perhaps not even know it! So, if this is going to involve two or more sources, I need to make sure they will play together, and be sure I am not opening up a security hole unwittingly. So far as I know, CP was the only one that was supplying such a turnkey system for doing this very thing. If Duplicati could do something similar, you would be filling an open niche, and probably get a lot more users. Of course, with CP, you could also back up to their cloud,…but if you chose not to use that, you still have a secure off-site backup (for free) with a trusted source (if you presume family is trusted!)

I’m not concerned so much about scheduled backup time, I can just call up my brother-in-law and ask, “When is your computer most likely to be on?” We can also have our computers start up at scheduled times. Once per day would be plenty for me for an off-site backup.

BTW, it doesn’t matter whether you want to synch to the other trusted comuter, or back up to compressed files; the real issue is how to set up the backup channel safely.

I’m no expert but I can’t think of an all-non-tech setup like CP had without also having a central server to coordinate.

That being said, I believe it might be possible to do a one-tech-to-many-non-tech solution where as long as one person can expose a “Duplicati master server” port to they internet, it could then handle coordination of the rest of the clients.

A side benefit is this also allows for centralized and non-run reporting possibilities.

Unfortunately it’s not currently a core design feature so there’s probably a fair (though likely not major) but of coding necessary for such a feature.

Thanks for that thoughtful reply, JonMikeIV. I wouldn’t expect Duplicati to be able to reproduce the exact same thing as CP. The question that follows is what is the easiest substitute that a not very tech-savvy user could do to create a secure setup that allows the same sort of “personal cloud” setup. It sounds from your previous reply that you think combining Duplicati with a Minio server setup would be the best option. Are there other alternatives that are also worth looking into to do this?

The main ones I know of are Duplicati with:

  • Minio (easy setup)
  • SFTP server (various software options, likely lower resources usage than Minio)
  • FTP server (various software options, likely lower resources usage than Minio but less secure than Minio or SFTP unless routed through something like an SSH tunnel, which works great but is one more thing to configure)

In all three cases at least one port will likely need to be manually opened in your internet router and pointed to your machine. This can be easy or hard depending on your router, internal IP configuration (static vs dynamic), and potential machine firewall.

Personally I like SFTP the best, feel Minio is the easiest to configure, and think FTP is too insecure to be considered.

For what it’s worth Bitvise WinSSH (How to Set Up SFTP Server On Windows) on windows will automatically add entries into the Windows Firewall and will also forward a port for you on your router if it supports UPNP. I always manually set up port forwarding but might be worth trying?

In addition to Minio, SFTP, and FTP already mentioned, you can set up WebDAV. It was very easy with my NAS, and you can secure the traffic with TLS/SSL. It still does require a port to be opened on the gateway/router though.

Yeah, WebDAV is pretty easy to set up but can be tricky to get security right. And due to Duplicati fetching file lists in XML from WebDAV I think it’s the least efficient of the bunch (personal opinion, no data to back that up).

So with a NAS or turnkey solution WebDAV is ok (i use it with NextCloud), but for a less tech inclined person doing it from scratch (IIS anyone?) it’s probably safer to go with one of the others.

Thanks! I finally got around to looking at Syncthing and have started a Duplicati vs. Syncthing (with versioning) #comparison.

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People wanting to use duplicati to backup to other computers might consider this arrangement:

  • duplicati on both computers
  • neorouter free to link the computers into a virtual network (this provides the secure channel between them)
  • then setup an SMB share or FTP service or something on both computers so that they can be used as a destination for each other.
    There may be other ways to do this but this was the simplest that came to mind.
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I second this setup, and in fact it is exactly how I’m running Duplicati for reciprocal off-site backups between two PCs
Instead of Neorouter, I’m using Hamachi, but both are similar enough that either one should work.
I’m actually using the “Shared Folder” (SMB share) alternative, which is even simpler than the FTP server one

If anyone wants to set up their backups this way and needs some additional instructions, let me know and I’ll describe in more detail the steps and configurations needed to make it work. It really is not complicated at all.

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Thanks for the offer! Perhaps you and @Stephen could compare notes in a #howto topic for setting up backups across VPNs! :slight_smile:

Sure, @JonMikelV, I’ll start a new How To topic with some instructions to set up backups through a VPN

Writing manuals is not my area of expertise but at least I’ll describe how I set it up and what software and settings are needed to make it work

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Don’t worry about that. If you look at some of the other posts there you’ll see three are lots of different ways to share the knowledge.

Besides, one of the best ways to get better at something is to do it. And a great way to make sure you understand something is to try and teach it to others! Or so I’ve heard. :wink:

@city_zen I don’t have time to write anything, but if you ping me when you’ve done it I’d be happy to review and fill in any blanks I can.

@Stephen, that sounds great!
I’m currently half way through writing the How To topic. It’s taking longer than I thought and I don’t have much free time to devote to it. But I think I’ll have it done in a couple of days. I’ll ping you when I publish it so you can review and contribute to it

Hi @city_zen, I was just wondering how this was going. I’m still happy to review it.