Mozy to the rescue ! After the loss of my laptop and external HD, I was able to use the Mozy backup service to restore most of what I needed. I’ve been using Mozy for nearly 3 years, and this was really the first time I had to “use it” — so a few thoughts:
– Hey it worked 🙂 They are now owned by EMC so that gives you a bit more confidence too.
– I paid for the “DVD restore” option after the web option didn’t quite work for me ( more on that below ) and I was pleasantly surprised to see a fedex package appear a few days later. But instead of a few dozen DVDs, they sent a 160 gig Iomega external HD. Very cool ! Not sure if I got some extra nice service or if that’s standard for them now with HDs being so cheap — but I was glad to not have to manually copy over all those DVDs.
– I used the live chat support option a few times and they were pretty helpful and always followed up via email later to make sure I was all set.
– For $5/month per machine this seems like a really great option.
– The web restore option, which is an instant way to retrieve your backup, has a somewhat clumsy interface. There is a web interface for data under 20 gigs, and then you can use the Mozy client (OS X and Windows ) to restore files as well.
For me I was restoring from another machine, so I wanted to use the web restore version and not sync up another machine into Mozy.
For some reason, which may have a sound technical explanation, the web restore is available only in 1.8 gig DMG files. So downloading and then stitching it back together is a manual process.
– The other issue is on how to actually pick the restore. When I selected the entire backup, the web restore was actually twice the size of my backup HD. The external HD backup they sent me was smaller than their 2X web restore. Maybe it was a bug, or maybe I did something wrong, but that seemed very odd.
– Related to the above, when I got the backup there was lots of duplicated files which i had moved to different directories on the original machine. Looks like Mozy always keeps a backup of what you had and then keeps adding to it. There is an option to restore a “backup set” by date, but when I looked at it I saw lots of missing files.
The “not Mozy’s fault” but an issue with our lousy internet access
– I mentioned at the top that I was able to “restore most of what I needed”. The reason I couldn’t restore everything was because some of the files I was working with were huge and Mozy had not had a chance yet to back them up. For me, and I suspect many of you, Mozy was often a few days behind on uploading all the new stuff. Om Malik talked about this issue last month, The Ugly Truth About Broadband: Upload Speeds.
I’m thankful that I had some kind of online backup in place for when the unthinkable happens and happy that Mozy worked.
When I asked the question of what kind of backup strategy people use, I was surprised by how few use an online service:
I’ve also rethought what I’m actually backing up and if I can streamline it a bit. I use a bunch of cloud services already, so lots of what I had backed up was available from other services.
And since it’s been 3 years since I looked at this space, I’m going to test out Jungle Disk and a few others just to see if they are a bit more elegant on the restore side of things. Jungle Disk in particular seems attractive since they don’t charge you for each extra machine you link up.