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How come OneDrive isn’t a full backup service?

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wotsit    468

To date I’ve not been a big user of cloud backups. But I recently got Prime so decided to backup my photos up to Amazon Photos as it was included.

 

have just given my mum a hand-me-down PC to replace her Vista PC which she didn’t really use.

 

My folks have Office 365 so I decided to take advantage of the 1TB OneDrive storage that comes included with the subscription to back files up to the cloud rather than an attached external HDD.

 

I was pretty surprised when setting it up to a) learn that backup syncing was a relatively new addition and that b) it comes with restrictions - notably it won’t backup Outlook files!

 

I always just assumed OneDrive served as a backup service for the modern era.

 

Given to do backups we’re talking about a paid-for premium service, any thoughts on why Microsoft has restrictions in place?

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goretsky    1,017
Posted (edited)

Hello,

 

I think the idea is that OneDrive is essentially a backup service (or file locker) for your data files.  In the case of Microsoft Office, though, would guess that Microsoft's reasoning is that you should be used the web-based components that come with your Office 365 license like Outlook.com for your email and not the Outlook executable program.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

Edited by goretsky
fixed a typo

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zhangm    1,333

What Outlook files? Haven't used the Office Outlook in a while but doesn't it write/store to a large monolithic database file? I recall mine were on the low GB scale for older accounts. If the data isn't amenable to incremental updates, then probably doesn't make sense to repeatedly push that much data into the cloud (much less sync to other devices) every time you open an email or move a message to junk.

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exotoxic    680
Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, zhangm said:

What Outlook files? Haven't used the Office Outlook in a while but doesn't it write/store to a large monolithic database file? I recall mine were on the low GB scale for older accounts. If the data isn't amenable to incremental updates, then probably doesn't make sense to repeatedly push that much data into the cloud (much less sync to other devices) every time you open an email or move a message to junk.

I don't know why they haven't added delta sync yet 😕 (has the most votes by a long way on the uservoice page), supposedly coming to OneDrive for business this year but not consumer. Dropbox has had it for years.

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+Bryan R.    1,142

.pst files are known to not work with Offline Files in a network environment. Perhaps OneDrive has similar restrictions for similar reasons.

 

To answer the question of why isn't it a valid backup, you'd have to better define what a backup is. Typically in business a backup is run regularly and every time a backup is run the entirety of your data is copied not merely updated or deduplicated over an internet connection. Some simple napkin math can tell you that you that backing up 500GB of or more data regularly is not feasible.

 

Even with differential sync you still don't have snapshots going back a month.

 

In short, OneDrive is not a backup in and of itself just like RAID isn't.

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zhangm    1,333
6 minutes ago, exotoxic said:

I don't know why they haven't added delta sync yet 😕 (has the most votes by a long way on the uservoice page), supposedly coming to OneDrive for business this year but not consumer. Dropbox has had it for years.

Maybe backing it up makes sense for one computer, one cloud storage account. But I think the use case gets complicated because OneDrive also syncs/shares files between different devices, and this doesn't really make sense for the database since they all get touched/updated on each individual device as Outlook is running.

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Nick H.    9,582
On 6/24/2019 at 8:07 PM, wotsit said:

b) it comes with restrictions - notably it won’t backup Outlook files!

...what Outlook files? The .OST files? The .PST ones? The new(ish) .NST files?

 

As far as I can figure, whether it be at home or in the office Outlook is merely a client. It pulls information from somewhere, whether that be your online account or a local Exchange server. I normally have no qualms about completely removing an .OST file or reinstalling the client because I know the information is locally cached and will be downloaded again. But perhaps I'm missing something?

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