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Rsync.net - a cloud service done the right way
109 points by shoeless on May 1, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 36 comments
We went over our Rsync.net quota, and this is how they responded:

== This is an automated alert. Your rsync.net filesystem ([removed]) is over quota.

Currently you are using 20.318 GB out of 15.0 GB Please note, your usage includes the combined usage of all your accounts, including the parent account and sub account(s).

This is not a major problem, nor do we insist that you remedy the problem immediately. However, your account is only allowed a 10% overage before it will be impossible for you to write additional data to the account. You will never lose the ability to read files from the account.

You may check your quota at any time by running the quota command over ssh:

ssh [removed]@usw-s007.rsync.net quota

Or you may simply log into your web-based Account Manager, here:


where you may see your usage on the Summary screen.

You can remedy this by removing files, increasing your account size, or you can simply let it be. You can increase your account size using our web-based Account Manager:


or by emailing support@rsync.net and requesting a larger account.

If you have any trouble checking your quota, or would like to disable these notifications for this account, please contact support@rsync.net

Thank You,

rsync.net Support

The difference between a service run by MBAs and a service run by sysadmins, all wrapped up nicely in a message.

Being surrounded by sysadmins, it's either a sysadmin with a lot of customer experience, or there's a manager that has a lot of people experience. Many of the sysadmins I work with send either very terse or very verbose notes full of jargon, and we need to go un-jargon/uplevel them before they get to the customer.

I agree though, very nice customer communication.

It's John Kozubik, who was the founder of JohnCompanies collocation (the first VPS provider, circa September 2001).

We provided offsite backup services since day 1, but spun rsync.net out as an independent corporate entity in 2005.



Turning stuff like "out of vmem, OOM killer took down smbd" resp. "fixed" into user-comprehensible messages.

would you kindly un-jargon and uplevel those for us?

I think it's partly a by-product of our annoyance that the end user had to seek our support in the first place. Kind of "we fixed it, this is what happened, it's not my job to explain the memory subsystem to you"

I've always had amazing support from the rsync.net guys. Great service, amazing price, and surprisingly knowledgeable staff (I use duplicity to backup my home Linux servers, and they were able to help me diagnose a problem when I went to restore my backups a few months back).

I believe it's ran by the same folks who run JohnCompanies...

How do you like duplicity? I tried it a few times and got various errors (like corrupt files, couldn't resume uploads, stuff like that), so now I'm wary. What's your experience?

We (and hundreds of customers that we know of) have had very good luck with duplicity. You do need to have a good grasp of how it all works and have a good plan as to how you will run (and refresh) the backups - we've provided a basic one here:


In addition, the duplicity mailing list is very responsive and helpful.

Finally, the maintainer of duplicity is an account-holder at rsync.net, and we have funded duplicity development in the past, so if you are a customer and have specific questions, we can get answers straight from the source.

Ah, that's encouraging. I already do all the things mentioned in the guide, my problems came when I had to push 50 GB of data over a slow connection. When disconnected, duplicity would not be able to resume the upload, and would start again from the beginning, which didn't inspire confidence.

I also generated a full backup locally and uploaded it to the server, but duplicity couldn't recognize it, for some odd reason. This isn't exactly standard usage, but I would also not expect it to fail like that.

Still, thanks for the information, I'll check your service out, thank you.

$1800/y for 1TB is an amazing price?

It computes to 15c per GB, per month, and there are no other charges - no access or bandwidth or usage charges.

So it's comparable to S3, depending on your usage and request level, which can add up ... and it is quite a bit cheaper than other competitors like Barracuda and so on.

We have large discounts for .edu, teachers, and FOSS contributors/authors, so please do email us if you are interested.

This is why I will never recommend rsync to anyone. Their prices are ridiculous when compared to something like S3 or Glacier.

Well, to celebrate our first (I think ?) hn frontpage, please allow me to offer hn readers a lifetime locked in rate of 10c per GB, per month.

Grandfathered in forever, applies to all future upgrades/increases. The only catch is there is a 50 GB minimum order, and you have to pay annually.

You also have to be a new, non-existing customer.

Just email info@rsync.net if you are interested. We would be glad to serve anyone from this community.

Did you mean 50 gigabytes or 50 terabytes here as the minimum order?

gigabytes. So the minimum order would be 50 GB for $60/year.

Errr, if you're looking for a fast restoration, Glacier isn't a solution at all, they're intended for completely different use cases.

As the company representative noted, rsync.net charges one simple flat fee, and that alone, no surprises, is itself worth something.

I note that the ability to slot into almost any of my backup systems is very valuable. This excludes Bacula to LTO tape, but you need tape to get tape like behavior and it's pretty cheap not counting the drive and infrastructure (fast disk to avoid "shoe shining"). Currently 2.9 cents per GB for me, and it doesn't take long for that to look good compared to Glacier. Ah, and for those of us on Internet connections with caps and overages, tape is a very good option.

If it's a 10% overage, then the limit should have been 16.5 GB, no?

Do they give a grace period? (if so, even more impressive)

It's actually standard UNIX quota soft/hard limits. So you have a soft limit of your (paid quota) that you can drift above for 7 days (that is the grace period) and you have a hard limit of (quota * 1.1) that is ... a hard limit.

We have an automated alerting system that emails primary and technical contacts in a progressively more aggressive fashion as you drift above the soft limit and approach the hard limit...

The grace period is probably quota recalculation if it's not done natively by the fileserver. If it's only a periodic count then you could potentially get higher than 10% before you're cut off.

> rsync.net provides the services listed above, and any other services provided in the future on a BEST EFFORTS BASIS. NO GUARANTEES ARE EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED related to data retention, integrity, continuance, or availability. Your data may become unavailable, or be destroyed by any number of events, not limited to fire, floods, acts of terrorism, or other man made or natural disasters.

> Translation: ... We're sorry it has to be here, but it is business suicide not to have this clause. Understand that the owners and employees of rsync.net all have their most precious data stored on these systems, in some cases exclusively.

I'm not sure to understand this part of the Terms of Service [1]. How can an "Offsite Backup" company offer no guarantee related to data retention ?? It's easy to say to employees use it for there data, but I think customers actually pay for these guarantees, or think they do at least ... ?

1: http://www.rsync.net/resources/notices/tos.html

That is great customer handling.

But I am confused about the math. Putting 20GB into a 15GB account would be a 33% overage. If the account gets write privilege turned off at >10% overage, how did this account get to a 33% overage?

It's possible the quota check is only run periodically. So at one check they were under, then they uploaded a lot of data, the next check they were over.

no wonder, given their pricing - I almost dropped of my chair when I saw them...

Pretty much everything about rsync.net is great; their "nsl canary" is an elegant solution to a problem, too.

I've used rsync.net in the past. Highly recommended if you need reliable rsync/sftp hosting.

Now I'm curious - does Dropbox use rsync under the hood? (not rsync.net, the rsync protocol)

There are 3 different concepts in play here:

- rsync algorithm

- rsync protocol

- rsync program

The algorithm is fairly well described here: http://rsync.samba.org/tech_report/

The protocol documentation is non existant (AFAIK), and basically the only standard is the rsync program itself. The protocol is strange, and there are some quirks, so it is not trivial to replicate or write custom clients.

This is why it is hard to implement an rsync program that can talk to the standard rsync program, but it is not that hard to implement your own client and server which use a custom protocol that implements an rsync-like algorithm.

AFAIK Dropbox uses an rsync-like compare-by-hash protocol over HTTP.

I don't think they can...rsync is GPLv3.

surely that would just apply to the rsync code, not a re-implementation using the same protocol?

Nicely done.


Quibble from a long time rsync.net user who had some critical data saved by them (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Joplin_tornado; they appreciated getting told that, of course):

The quota command hasn't worked for me for months or longer, perhaps correlated to their switch to ZFS. Not a great problem with the web administration page, although that doesn't show your current right that moment usage, or I can just use du.

They are otherwise everything a savvy UNIX(TM)/Linux/BSD/* user could desire. Even recently? increased their support for git.

Hi hga - rsync.net here - I believe this is fixed - would you email support and let us know what you're seeing ?

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