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INTRODUCTION

Learning about Google Cloud Platform is great. Not losing data on your PC is also great. We’re going to combine the two by learning how to back up your PC using CloudBerry and Google Cloud Platform to keep your PC safe from any disaster. This will be a practical application guide that yields immediate positive results by protecting your PC in the process.

Cloudberry is a local backup application that is able to back your data up to a cloud storage location. We will be spending our time on this application as part of our guide.

WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

Anyone who has lost data from their PC knows how painful it is to recover, and not just from computer crashes. One of the biggest security threats today comes from ransomware, which corrupts your data and holds it hostage. Proper cloud-based backups make you immune to having your data held for ransom, as well as enables you to recover from any technical disaster.

ABOUT THE GUIDE

This guide will show you how to create a Cloud Storage bucket on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), how to install the free version of CloudBerry to the OS of your choice, and how to configure CloudBerry to back up and restore data from your own cloud storage repository that you control.

This guide assumes that you already have a GCP account (trial or full version) and that you know how to create a project on GCP. If not, click the below link to sign up for a free trial of GCP ($300 credit for one year), and the second link to our guide for creating a project once signed up.

Sign up for free trial:

https://console.cloud.google.com/freetrial

Create a project:

https://linuxacademy.com/cp/socialize/index/type/community_post/id/17676

LET’S GET STARTED

Let’s create a new project just for our backups. Call it whatever you like, though I’d recommend something like “(your name)-backups” (e.g., “mattu-backups”).

CREATE A CLOUD STORAGE BUCKET

We are going to use the web console interface for this step; however, I’ll also give the command line equivalent below.

From the initial dashboard, click on the top left menu (the one with three lines, often referred to as the ‘hamburger menu’).

Scroll down in the left menu until you come to the STORAGE section, and click on Storage underneath it (yes, there is a Storage option under STORAGE).

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Click the blue button to Create bucket. This is where the backup files will be stored.

Choose a name for your storage bucket. Keep in mind that the name must be unique to all of GCP. If your name is not unique, you will receive an error, and you’ll need to choose a different name.

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Choose a default storage class. Nearline is the recommended choice for regular backups.

Next, choose a location from the bottom dropdown menu. For backups, I’d recommend choosing the ‘Specific region…’ option to select your closest region for optimal local performance. In my case, I went with us-central1 for my region; however, you should choose what is closest to you.

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Click the Create button to create your bucket.

For command line reference using the Google Cloud SDK (in Cloud Shell or local machine) the equivalent command to create the above bucket would have been

gsutil mb -l us-central1 -c nearline gs://mattu-backups 

This command breaks down as follows:

gsutil – used for working with Google Cloud Storage

mb – make bucket

-l us-central – specify location as us-central1

-c nearline – specify bucket as Nearline storage class

gs://mattu-backups – the name of our Cloud Storage bucket

Once your bucket is created, going back to the Storage menu will show your created bucket. Notice the Default storage class is set to Nearline, with your location set to your region.

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INSTALL CLOUDBERRY SOFTWARE

We next need to install the CloudBerry backup software on your PC. The below link brings you to the Windows version, however there are links to the Mac and Linux versions on the same page:

https://www.cloudberrylab.com/backup/windows.aspx

We will choose to install the free trial, so click the green button to download and install the client. Depending on your OS version, you may need to provide an email address to download the client and be given an activation code.

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CONFIGURE CLOUDBERRY TO BACKUP TO GOOGLE CLOUD

After installation, launch the application. To create your first backup plan and connect CloudBerry to your GCP storage bucket, you can either click the center ‘Backup Files’ button, use the top row button to create backup, or mouse over ‘Backup Plans’ in the top left corner and click the + sign.

Click the bottom left + sign to create a new cloud storage location, and choose Google Cloud from the list.

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In the ‘Display Name’ field, choose a name for your cloud storage connection.

The next part can be tricky. We now have to authorize CloudBerry to give permission to our bucket we created in the first section. It is recommend to use one of the two OAuth methods presented. We can either authenticate it with our current GCP account, or we can authenticate with a service account and a private key. For personal backups, you will use the first method.

AUTHORIZE WITH OAuth 2.0 (INSTALLED APPLICATION)

From the Authentication dropdown menu, select ‘OAuth 2.0 (Installed Application)’.

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Enter the Project ID associated with your GCP backup project (e.g. ‘mattu-backups’).

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On the second, ‘Code’ field, click the ellipsis (…) button to the right; this will open a web browser and prompt you to authenticate with your GCP account. Complete the listed steps, and you will be presented a code in your browser window. Copy and paste this code back on the CloudBerry ‘Code’ field, and click OK.

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Click the dropdown menu by ‘Bucket’, which should automatically detect your bucket you’ve created for this project. Finally, click OK.

CONFIGURE BACKUP

Select the name of your cloud storage connection, and click Continue.

Give the plan a name, and click Continue.

Select the folders on your computer you want to back up, and click Continue.

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If you wish, you can specify certain file types to be backed up, or you can have all files in the selected folders to back up. Then, click Continue.

The free trial account does not support encryption or compression on Cloudberry’s end (data will still be encrypted in transit on GCP’s end), just click Continue to proceed.

Select your retention options. Since we are using the Nearline storage class on our GCP Storage bucket, files that are removed before 30 days will incur an additional charge. We will want to make sure that backups are not recycled before the 30 day mark in our options. You can, of course, choose a longer time period if you wish.

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Specify a schedule. I recommend running either daily or once a week, at minimum. If your PC is on overnight, schedule for overnight hours for minimal disruption.

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Select email notifications options (if desired) if the backup completes or fails.

Review summary of details, select to ‘Run plan now’, and click ‘Done’.

If you did not choose ‘Run plan now’ to manually start it, select the backup plan from the left menu and click the Start button. You will then see the progress if your backup in progress.

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RESTORE BACKUP

To restore a previous backup, do the following:

From your CloudBerry dashboard, mouse over ‘Restore Plans’, and select the + sign.

Select the cloud storage container we already set up in the previous section, and click Continue.

Choose to either run the restore once, save the plan to run again in the future, or for scheduled restores, then click Continue.

Choose to restore latest version of your backup, or to a point in time. The ‘point in time’ option is what makes you immune to ransomware!

Choose which files you want to restore from your backup plan.

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Select to restore to original location, or specify a new location. For this example, I’ll restore to a specific location to keep the restored files separate; you don’t have to choose this option.

Skip the next step regarding encryption since we don’t have that option.

Choose whether to receive a notification email with the restore results.

Finally, click Done.

Your restore plan will commence and will restore files to the folder location of your choosing.

WHAT DID WE LEARN?

In this guide, we learned how to create our own storage bucket on Google Cloud Platform. We then installed CloudBerry backup software, connected the software to our cloud storage bucket, and set up a recurring plan to backup essential files to the storage bucket. We then restored the files to a new location for review. This results in us having a powerful and cost effective method of backing up essential data, protecting our data from any disaster.

If you choose, you have the option to purchase a full license of CloudBerry Backup for the OS of your choice, which will allow you to both encrypt and compress your backup files for increased security and cost savings on storage space.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Do you have a relative or loved one who has experienced data loss due to malware or a computer crashing? Consider setting them up with the above plan to make sure they don’t go through the pain of losing their data again. They’ll thank you for it!

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