My New Day Job: Data Backup Made Perfect

My new day job since I left the now defunct Progeny is working on delivering the most wicked cool data backup system I have ever seen.

It isn’t out yet, but it’s complete enough that we are mostly shaking out bugs now.

One of the main problems with backup to teh intarwebs is that everyone can see your data, and if there was ever a compromise of the remote server, someone would have your data forever.

So first of all, all your data is encrypted from the moment it leaves your system, and stays that way until it comes back to your system, to the point that if you lose your password, we can’t recover it. The advantage there is that there’s just no way for us or someone else to steal your data, even if they had physical access to one of our machines.

Backups should be incremental, so if only 5 things have changed since your last backup, only 5 things should have to go over the wire and be stored. That’s tricky when we can’t actually see your data, so our client is smart and figures all that out before sending us more data to store. The backup client is quite sophisticated about finding redundancy, so it saves you money and keeps our storage requirements under control, all while keeping your data under encrypted wraps.

I’ve grown a lot from working on this project. This is the closest I’ve been to shrink wrap software. Our client software has to run on the user’s machine and therefore has to be cross platform, Windows, Universal OS X binaries and 2 Linux architectures. While I’ll agree that python has been helpful in this regard, there’s still a LOT of work to be done beyond out of the box Python to get here.

And we need to be able to push updates out to all those platforms. I’ve come to appreciate the completeness of the Linux desktop platform. Between apt and dbus you can easily package up your software and have it restart itself when updates happen. On OS X and Windows we need to download, verify, and update our software ourselves.

All in all this is a fun project to work on, an excellent day job.

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