Release of CubeBackup 3.1

Following the successful release of CubeBackup version 3.0, we received a great deal of helpful feedback from the CubeBackup community. We have carefully reviewed all of your ideas and suggestions and are proud to announce CubeBackup 3.1.

New features:

  • Team Drive backups can now be disabled.
    Some groups, like schools, may wish to only back up a few teacher or VIP accounts instead of the entire userbase, in order to save disk space. Team Drive backups are now optional.
  •  Automatic update checks return.
    CubeBackup will once again automatically check for new versions. With this feature, you will be notified whenever an update is available on our website.
  • Spam and Trash mail messages are now included in the backup
    CubeBackup 3.0 only backed up those mail messages (and appropriate labels) that were in the “All Mail” folders, omitting “Spam” and “Trash” messages. This has been fixed in the new version.
  •  Faster Gmail backups.
    The Gmail backup algorithm has been improved to be even more efficient.
  • Bug fixes.

We strongly recommend that all clients upgrade to CubeBackup version 3.1, whether they are currently using CubeBackup 2.x or CubeBackup 3.0, in order to benefit from the latest changes.

How to Upgrade CubeBackup from 2.x to 3.0

CubeBackup 3.0 is fully compatible with previous backup sets, so the upgrade process is safe and easy.

However, because of library changes made in the new version, upgrading through the menu in version 2.x will not work. A new install is necessary.

We suggest performing an on-site upgrade on the same computer running CubeBackup 2.x, so that settings and configuration data are automatically carried over to the new version.

To upgrade CubeBackup from 2.x to 3.0:

  1. Quit CubeBackup 2.x.
    Note: Simply closing the CubeBackup window does not quit the app; you need to select “Exit” from the CubeBackup icon in the Windows system tray.
  2. Uninstall CubeBackup 2.X
  3. Download CubeBackup 3.0 from https://www.cubebackup.com/
  4. Install the downloaded package.
  5. Start the new version of CubeBackup.
    • CubeBackup 3.0 will keep the settings used on the earlier version without asking you to configure it again.
    • CubeBackup 3.0 will employ an incremental backup on the data backed up by the old version.
  6. You can alter the parallel backup settings as well as network throttling using “Settings”-> “Options…”->”Throttling”.

If you have any problems with the upgrade, please feel free to contact us at support@cubebackup.com.

Release of CubeBackup Version 3.0

Today, we are pleased to announce the release of CubeBackup 3.0!

We know that many of our clients have been eagerly anticipating this new version for their G Suite backup. CubeBackup 3.0 incorporates many changes and improvements, including:

1. Team Drive Support
Ever since Google launched Team Drive in 2017, it has been an integral part of Google Drive, bringing convenience and flexibility to collaborative projects. Team Drive backups are now well supported in CubeBackup 3.0.

2. Much Faster Backup Speeds
Our new parallel backup algorithm dramatically improves backup speeds. Instead of backing up one user account at a time, CubeBackup 3.0 can handle multiple users simultaneously, fully utilizing your internet connection and resulting in backups that are up to ten times faster.

3. Bandwidth Throttling
Of course, faster backups naturally consume more bandwidth. To ensure that CubeBackup 3.0 doesn’t interfere with your other work, we have included throttling controls to set limits and schedule how much of your internet connection may be used at different times of the day.

 

4. New Gmail Backup Algorithm
The Gmail backup algorithm has been redesigned for faster backups that take up less space.

5. Better User Management
User management is easier than ever, as new employees can now be automatically added to the backup list.

6. Improved Logging
Error logs now contain more information and more accurate messages.

7. New Google APIs adoption
The latest Google APIs are more stable and more efficient.

8. Bug Fixes

2018 CubeBackup RoadMap

2018 will be an exciting and busy year for CubeBackup.

We have been hard at work on version 3.0, which is only a few months away. Many new features and changes have been incorporated into this version, including parallel backups, Team Drive support, and the ability to run CubeBackup as a service. A more complete list of changes has already been posted here.

At the same time, development of version 4.0 is already well underway. Here are some of the new features to look forward to:
1. Time Machine Backup
All older versions of Google Drive files will be kept, as well as snapshots of the entire Google Drive structure.

2. Backup to Cloud Storage
CubeBackup has always allowed full G Suite backups to local storage, including local disk, NAS or SAN. Version 4.0 will add the ability store your G Suite business data backups on Amazon’s S3 cloud service.

3. Full Platform Coverage
Version 4.0 is being completely rewritten in Go on the service side, along with a new web UI for configuration and operations. This will make CubeBackup platform independent so it can easily be deployed on both Windows, and Linux.

Compatibility:
Version 3.x is fully compatible with version 2.x, which means the upgrade should be smooth and incremental backups will still work. However, version 4.0 will not be compatible with earlier versions. A new complete backup will have to be taken.

RoadMap:
Version 3.0 should be available in 2 or 3 months.
Expect version 4.0 later this year.

If you have any suggestions for our product, please feel free to contact us at support@cubebackup.com. Thank you!

Expected features in CubeBackup version 3.x

We are currently working on the next major update of CubeBackup, Version 3.0. A lot of improvements will be added in the new version.

1. Parallel backup
CubeBackup will allow you to choose how many accounts can be backed up in parallel. This will greatly improve the backup speed for large organizations who have fast Internet connections.

2. Bandwidth throttling
Users can limit the backup speed in office hours, which can prevent CubeBackup consuming too much network bandwidth in the day time.

3. Run as a service
Most users run CubeBackup on server operating systems, like Windows Server 2012. Making CubeBackup running as a service provides users more flexibilities and convenience.

4. Administrator email notification
Daily/weekly backup statistics, error reports, and other notifications will be sent to G Suite Domain administrators via email. Administrators will get the latest information for the backup without checking logs.

5. Team drive support
Team drive is a new feature in Google Drive and is very useful for collaboration. New version of CubeBackup will support team drive backup.

6. Improved log
More information will be added to backup/restore/error logs.

7. Bug fixes
Many bugs will be fixed in the new version.

8. Restoring the whole account
Currently, CubeBackup allows you to restore any files/data for a user when you selected the files and click the “Restore” button. In future versions, Google Apps administrators can restore a whole account with just one click, or even restore all data from one account to another account. This feature might not be available in version 3.0, but should be added to a later release, like version 3.1 or 3.2.

9. Linux version
We got a lot of requests asking for the Linux version. It is still under development and is expected to be released in a few months. The good news is: CubeBackup’s first Linux Version will have all the features as its Windows version.

We are always happy to hear feedbacks from our users, so please feel free to contact us (support@cubebackup.com) if you have any questions.

How to solve the “Authorization failed” problem in the initial configuration

The initial setup of CubeBackup is a little complicated, and some of our users might run into the “Google Apps authorization failed!” error when clicking the “Test” button in the initial configuration of CubeBackup.

auth-failed

If you have carefully followed the instructions at https://www.cubebackup.com/first-time-run.html, but still failed to pass the authorization test, please check the followings steps:
NOTE: The following items are listed in descending order of likelihood.

1. In a few cases, G Suite domain-wide authorization needs some time to propagate. So you can just wait for several minutes and then click the Test button again.

2. Are the Admin SDK, Drive API, Calendar API, Contact API and Gmail API enabled in Google API console?   A quick way to confirm: all of the above APIs should be listed in API Manager -> Dashboard -> Enabled APIs.

3. The Client Name in your Google App/GSuit  admin console  -> Security -> Advanced settings -> Manage API Client access should be the created Service Account’s client ID (e.g.:10847638222459), not an email address.

domain-auth

4.  Make sure that  “Enable API access” is checked in Google Apps admin console -> Security -> API reference -> API access. Generally, “Enable API access” is checked by default.
enableapi

5. If your computer is running a fresh installation of Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008, and you have not installed all of the updates, the problem may be that you are missing hotfix KB2468871 for the .Net Framework 4.0. Download the hotfix here, and install it. You may be required to restart your computer before the update takes effect.

6. Please ensure that www.googleapis.com  port 443 and imap.gmail.com  port 993 are not blocked by your firewall/proxy.

7. Try CubeBackup on another computer to see if it works there.

Finally, if you’ve tried all of these and the problem persists, please contact us (support@cubebackup.com).

Comparison between cloud backups and on-premise backups

There are several options for Google Apps backup: Spanning and Backupify can backup Google Apps data to another cloud, while CubeBackup can backup your Google Apps data to a local storage inside your company. When you are looking for a backup solution for your Google Apps domain, you might not sure which backup solution is more suitable for your company. So, the comparison of these two different backup strategies might be helpful to you.

cloud-vs-local

Cloud-to-Cloud backup solutions:

Pros:

1. Easy configuration
Cloud-to-Cloud backups employ web interface which is pretty easy to be integrated with Google Apps marketplace.  Only a few steps are required to setup the backup process.
2. Less administration work
All backup jobs are running on backup vendor’s servers. As a Google Apps domain administrator, you can relax with ease in most of the times.
3. A more natural choice
Google Apps is a cloud collaboration platform, with all data stored online. Backing up cloud data to another cloud sounds to be a more natural choice for most companies.

Cons:

1. Higher cost

The pricing for Backupify and Spanning is about $40-50 USD/user/year, which is not so affordable.
2. No physical files accessible
With a cloud-to-cloud backup solution, all backup data are stored in another cloud with a vendor-specific format. Except restoring from the backup, you can almost do nothing with the backup data.  For example, migrating email message backups to another mail system is just impossible.

On-premise  backup solutions:

Pros:

1. More affordable
Comparing to cloud-to-cloud backup solutions, the cost of local backups solutions are much lower.
2. Keep your data in your own hands
All backups are stored in a local storage (a hard disk or a NAS) inside your company’s firewall, totally under your control.
3. Get physical backup files
Backup data are stored locally as physical files, which means that you can easily export these files into another system.  For example, open docs backup files with Microsoft word/OpenOffice, read email messages using Outlook, etc.
4. Keep data from being exposed to any third party
Cloud-to-cloud backups open your data instance onto another cloud vendor which create privacy concerns. Cloud-to-local backups, which only preserve a copy of your data locally, keep you from this security concern.

Cons:

1. Initial configuration is not easy
Local backup solutions require a desktop app to access the local storage. Due to the limitation of Google Apps Marketplace, desktop apps cannot be easily integrated into Google Apps marketplace as web apps do.  To setup a local backup, domain administrators need to create a Google cloud project in Google Developers console and authorize data access to GDrive, Gmail, Contacts and Calendar.
2. A reliable physical server and a local storage are needed
Unlike cloud-to-cloud backup solutions, which are completely disk-free, on-premise backup solutions require a reliable server as well as a large and robust local storage.

Conclusion:

If you do not have enough budget, or you’d like to fully control your backup data, or there is any possibility that your company might migrate your cloud platform from Google Apps to Office 365, an on-premise backup solution, such as CubeBackup, should be your best choice.

If you want an easier and effortless backup solution, you might consider a cloud-to-cloud backup solution.

Initial Configuration Details for CubeBackup

Some customers have been concerned that the initial configuration of CubeBackup is too complicated, and they cannot understand why a simple authorization requires so many operations. In this post, I’d like to discuss OAuth 2.0 Service account and present a more detailed explanation of CubeBackup’s initial configuration.

banner-cartoon1

Although it may seem complicated at first,  the initial authorization process (described here) only consists of two steps:

1.  Create a Service Account in Google Developers Console.

A Google OAuth 2.0 service account allows the administrator of the Google Apps domain to authorize an application to access user data on behalf of users in that domain. This authorization is also referred as “domain-wide authorization” or ” 2 Legged OAuth”. To create a service account, you need to login Google Developer Console with a personal account (e.g.: someone@gmail.com or someone@mycompany.com).  For the purposes of this step, you may consider yourself a developer of Google APIs.

2. Authorize Access to your Google Apps Domain for the Created Service Account.

Next, the Google Apps administrator should enable the service account created in the previous step to access the data in your Google Apps domain.

Q1. What is an OAuth 2.0 Service Account?

OAuth 2.0 enables a third-party application to obtain limited access to an HTTP service. Through OAuth 2.0, the application requests an access token from the specific HTTP service and then attach the token to the subsequent requests to that service. It is a modern, safe authorization standard which protects your credentials from being leaked to anyone else. OAuth 2.0 is the Google’s recommended login method for all third party applications.

A Google OAuth 2.0 service account is a variant of the standard OAuth 2.0, which enables data access to an entire Google Apps domain, not just a single Google account. This is also called 2-Legged OAuth 2.0. More detailed information is available at https://developers.google.com/identity/protocols/OAuth2ServiceAccount#overview.

Q2. Why are CubeBackup users required to create a service account themselves? Shouldn’t this be done automatically?

Service accounts could, of course, be created automatically, or even embedded within CubeBackup itself, but this would negate some very powerful advantages:

I)  By manually creating a service account, users can tailor the account to their own needs by enabling/disabling Google APIs, setting up the request quotas, etc.  They can also monitor API requests statistics in real time using Google Developer Console.

II)  A single service account shared by multiple users might overrun quota limitations. For example, the default Google Drive API quota is 1,000,000,000 requests per day, which should be sufficient for a single organization in most cases. But if this service account is shared by hundreds of organizations, the quota could easily be reached.

III)  Leaving the creation of service account to a third-party is always a potential security risk. The service account owner can monitor your requests, set request quota, and generally interfere with your business.

Q3. Why is CubeBackup’s configuration more complicated, when other web-based apps on Google Apps marketplace seem to easily integrate with Google Apps?

The situation with web-based apps is a little different. They need service account authorization to access Google Apps data, just like desktop apps, but most web-based apps/addons for Google Apps are installed through Google Apps marketplace, as explained by Google:  “When you use Google Apps Marketplace to install an application for your domain, the required permissions are automatically granted to the application. You do not need to manually authorize the service accounts that the application uses.”  

Unfortunately, this straightforward app integration is only available for web-based Google Apps tools, and not for desktop apps.  One of the strengths of CubeBackup is its ability to backup all Google Apps data to local storage, which is simply impossible with web-based approaches, due to the security limitation of web browsers.  The trade-off for this flexibility and power is that service account configuration and authorization must be done manually.

Hotfix for CubeBackup

The new version of CubeBackup, version 2.6.8, has just been released. This is a hotfix version to solve the problems caused by recent changes in Google Drive APIs. We strongly suggest all CubeBackup users upgrade to this version as soon as possible.  We are sorry for the inconvenience, but this upgrade is not optional.

What’s the problem in older versions?

A few days ago, Google made several modifications on its Drive APIs and caused some file-downloading operations in CubeBackup to fail. CubeBackup users might see lots of errors in the log files, such as “Failed on backup of Google Document entry: … Error message: One or more errors occurred. A task was canceled.”, or “Object reference not set to an instance of an object”, etc.  As a result, some Google Drive files were not successfully backed up locally. This problem happened randomly and just started a few days ago.

What’ new in CubeBackup 2.6.8?

This version is just an emergency hotfix for recent Google Drive backup problems. There are no new features added to this version. Due to the changes in Google Drive APIs, every CubeBackup users should upgrade to the new version as soon as possible.  We are sorry for all the trouble. However, as a client app completely based on Google APIs, CubeBackup must be adjusted to even minor changes in Google APIs.

Upgrade instructions:

  • To upgrade to the latest version, please select the “Check for updates” menu item in CubeBackup, then click the “Update” button. You need to exit CubeBackup and restart it for the new version to take effect.    NOTE: Simply closing the main window will not exit the application. To quit CubeBackup, please select “Exit CubeBackup” from the system tray in the right-bottom corner of the screen.
  • Or, you can quit and restart CubeBackup. CubeBackup will check for new versions every time it starts.

What if the upgrade failed?

There are possibilities the upgrade may fail and “Upgrade failed. You can try it again later.” message is given. To solve this problem, you can:

  • Download the CubeBackup hotfix file manually and unzip it into the installation directory for CubeBackup, like “C:\Program Files (x86)\CubeBackup“, to replace the old files.
  • Or, download the new version from www.cubebackup.com  and reinstall it. All the application settings, configurations and user selections in old versions will be kept after the new installation, but you will be asked for the license key again to activate CubeBackup.

For some users, their Drive files backups were incomplete due to the errors in the last few days, how do I fix it?

To retry the backup for a specific user, you can open the local backup folder in Windows Explorer, then delete the folder for that user. For example, if the folder named “jerry@mycompany.com” is deleted, CubeBackup will backup jerry@mycompany.com‘s data completely from the beginning in the next backup cycle.

If you have any problems with this upgrade, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

How to backup Google Apps data to Dropbox

Dropbox is undoubtedly one of the most widely used cloud storage.  It is available on almost all platforms, from Windows, MacOSX, Linux to nearly all mobile operating systems.  Dropbox guarantees that all your files will be protected by 256-bit AES encryption, and all files are transferred through SSL/TLS secure tunnel.  What’s more, compared with Google’s privacy policy, privacy terms of Dropbox are more strict and reasonable – “Your Stuff is yours. These Terms don’t give us any rights to Your stuff except for the limited rights that enable us to offer the Service.  We need your permission to do things like hosting Your Stuff, backing it up, and sharing it when you ask us to… ” . 

As a Google Apps users, you might are seeking methods to backup Google Apps data to Dropbox. Actually, using CubeBackup, it is quite easy to add a backup copy to Dropbox with very little expense.

Step 1:  A Dropbox Pro or Bussiness account.

For small or middle size businesses, whose data in the whole Google Apps domain is less than 1TB (1,000GB),  a Dropbox Pro account is a reasonable choice.  It only costs $99 per year.

For comparatively large organizations, Dropbox for Business might be your best choice. The basic plan for Dropbox Business is 5TB for 5 users, which costs $750 per year. Dropbox for Business starts off with 1TB of space per user, however, you can ask for more space by contacting Dropbox’s sales. Theoretically, you can get as much as possible space from Dropbox for Business as long as you would like to pay for the extra storage. The pricing of Dropbox for Business is higher than Dropbox Pro, but is still much cheaper than other Google Apps cloud-to-cloud backup solutions, such as Backupify or Spanning.

Step 2:  Set the backup location to the Dropbox sync folder.

After installing Dropbox client, a folder named “Dropbox” will be created. If CubeBackup has already been running on your computer, please stop the backup process first, then copy all the backup data to the “Dropbox” folder – This may take a considerably long time if you have tons of backup data.

When the moving of data completed,  open the “Options” dialog of CubeBackup and set the backup location to the new place.

set-backup-location

After this simple configuration, your Google Apps data will be automatically synced to Dropbox cloud storage as they are backed up locally with CubeBackup.