We use JungleDisk Server Edition to ensure we have backups for one of our critical servers. Why did we choose Server Edition over the basic JungleDisk? Because we have several (higher) expectations for server backups:
- Scheduling – We need to have control over when the backups occur.
- Reliable – Once we install & configure the backup software, paths, schedule, etc., we need to trust that it will work without oversight or manual intervention.
- Fast – We run backups every six hours. The backup process needs to be fast and complete well within the six hour window. Obviously the amount of data being backed up is a major factor, especially on initial backup. But the software itself is also a major factor. We can manage schedules to data sizes, but we can’t change the software. For reference our backups have been completing in less than 30 minutes (peak).
- Smart – Since the accumulation of data on servers tends to be large, the backup software needs to be very smart about what needs to be backed up and not waste CPU, memory, bandwidth unnecessarily.
- History / Logs – We need to be able to look back in time and know what happened with our backups, good or bad.
JungleDisk SE has been a pretty good solution for us for a while. But last night (~11 pm EST) one of our team members happened to look at the JungleDisk Activity Monitor on the server and found out that:
- JungleDisk SE seemed to have skipped the most recent scheduled backup.
- There was no record in Backup History (log) of any activity around that time-slot.
- The Activity Monitor reported “Failed to open backup vault. No Internet connection detected. xSocketTimeout – HTTP connection timed out: SSL connection timeout”
- Attempts to start a backup manually in Activity Monitor consistently failed with the same error.
- JungleDisk’s Customer Support site doesn’t recognize our login credentials and doesn’t support SSO with main site.
- We could successfully login to our JungleDisk account via https://www.jungledisk.com/
- After successful login and navigating to My Account page (https://www.jungledisk.com/secure/account/), we tried to get support via the Support tab under Current User in the left navigation bar.
- On submitting a support request, we were notified that we had to login first.
- We clicked the link for login and found that the page (http://support.jungledisk.com/access/) is not secured! We didn’t really want to pass our server backup credentials over plain-text, but we figured we can change the password later.
- When we tried to login, however, JungleDisks Customer Support site didn’t recognize our credentials (the same credentials we used successfully on their main site)
As you’d expect, we were beginning to wonder if JungleDisk is still an active business. The plot thickened, however. The good news is that when we checked on the server this morning, JungleDisk appeared to be working again. The bad news, however, is that the transfer rate is incredibly (painfully) slow (between just 88 & 104 kbps!). The estimated time required was over 12 hours! We weren’t sure what to do. Should we just let it run and hope that future backups normalize back to less than 30 minutes? Or should we reset the JungleDisk service in hopes that it would speed up?
Our team decided to ride it out. We’ll hope that this backup completes successfully, and we’ll check the next few scheduled backups to ensure they complete quickly and successfully.
UPDATE: Many will be interested to learn that Rackspace’s Server Backup product is just JungleDisk Server Edition rebranded. While looking at backup options on Rackspace’s site, our guy was accosted by those flying online salesperson chat boxes. He finally caved and simply asked the rep the difference between the two (JD SE & RS SB). The chat went something like this (paraphrased):
AltaModa rep (AMT): What is the difference between JungleDisk Server Edition and Rackspace Server Backup?
Rackspace rep (RS): Rackspace Server Edition provides Fanatical Support.
AMT: We’re using JD SE now, but it didn’t backup last night. We wonder if we should switch to something else. Would RS SB require taking the server off-line?
RS (after a very long wait): Unfortunately, yes.
AMT: That is unfortunate. Is it substantially different and better than JD SE? We don’t want to take the server offline just to get the same thing.
RS: Rackspace Server Edition includes Fanatical Support
AMT: Ok, but is the code actually different? Or is it just a rebranding of the JungleDisk code?
RS: Yes, the code is rebranded. Would you like for me to send you a link….
We’re going to stay the course and see if the current JungleDisk will work (see above). If we’re going to have to take the server offline, we’ll do a more exhaustive analysis of solutions that just Rackspace’s offerings. If you have suggestions, please add a comment below.
UPDATE 2: Some have asked about the relationship between Rackspace and JungleDisk. Rackspace acquired JungleDisk in October, 2008. Rackspace continued to invest in and maintain JungleDisk after the acquisition, but now may be killing off the JungleDisk brand.