Online Backup Review, Part 2

Posted January 12th, 2009 by kyle

Since my initial Mozy backup and review, I discovered that Mozy wasn’t performing incremental backups of modified files. Since I backup several large Ultra Recall database files that change frequently, this makes incremental backups painfully slow.

It turns out that rather than comparing the new and old file contents and uploading differences at the block level (like JungleDisk Plus), Mozy instead monitors applications for changes they make to files. But in my case, these files are actually modified on another computer (or network share) and copied to a backup drive, then later backed up to Mozy. This change detection method also prevents incremental backup of files that are completely rewritten when saved (for instance, ZIP files).

I do believe it’s inaccurate to describe this technique as “block-level incremental backup” and hopefully they’ll improve this in the future. Mozy support has been very responsive, and other than this one issue, the service works as advertised, so if their method of incremental backup works for (or doesn’t matter to) you, it may still be a good option.

But I will be reviewing my options. Thanks to Eric’s mention of SpiderOak, I have one more service to evaluate. Their pricing is right in the ballpark (and should be a more sustainable pricing model): $10 per month per 100GB of storage. The folks at SpiderOak appear to have done their homework when designing the service — support for multiple machines and platforms (including Linux), true zero-knowledge security, perpetual versions/history, data sharing, etc.

I also noticed that CrashPlan has reduced their prices for online backup (or maybe I didn’t notice the annual pricing options before), now offering 200GB of storage for about $17 per month, which would also meet the requirements.

And it appears that Carbonite has released (or will soon release) an update (v3.7) that fixes the limitations I encountered with their service. According to their press release from October 2008, it’s already available and customers are being upgraded “over the next several weeks,” but according the support page, 3.6.1 is still the latest. Even more confusing, the release notes show 3.6 as the latest, while my Mozy installation is 3.6.2 (which is also the version you get when downloading from their site). Hopefully they will get their versioning straightened out and upgrade my account and/or update the download to 3.7 soon. Their support department has not been very helpful so far in this regard.

I will re-test these services over the next several months.

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4 Comments on “Online Backup Review, Part 2”

  1. Sally Says:

    Have you just try Memopal? I’ts esay to use and in my opinion it is best than Mozy

  2. kyle Says:

    It’s hard to tell from their web site whether it meets all my requirements, and I prefer a company based in the USA, but it may be another option. Thanks.

  3. JP Says:

    Have you tried I am not sure if they are for real but they do support 50-100GB file support on Amazon S3 and deduplication. If it meets your requirements, I will be interested in hearing your analysis (which is really great, btw).

  4. kyle Says:

    That may be another possibility, especially if it does a good job of compressing files in S3. Thanks for mentioning it.