16 February 2008

Mozy (the conclusion?)

Hello -

For the record, I finally received a package of restore-DVDs from Mozy's internet-based backup service this week. Let's see, my hard drive crashed in January...

My files and computing-life returned to normal about a week ago, anyway, so this is useless. Also, I had informed Mozy three times to cancel my DVD order. Soon I'll find out if I was charged for that.

Certainly, it should have been obvious to me that the speed of the remote restore function is more imporant than the speed and ease-of-use of the backup function.

So, what services should a remote-backup company offer their customers? Corporate users are a weird niche, right? Big firms have IT groups and plenty of backup-drive space and take care of it on their own. Smaller shops presumably also have in-house backups, but there's some comfort (or perceived immediacy) in having one's backup under personal control and validation. But our IT budgets are correspondingly smaller.

In my perfect world, I'd want rapid response to HD failure in the form of an overnght FedEx package of CDs or DVDs that contain two things: (1) plain-vanilla documents and settings, and (2) an image of the hard drive so that I can - ZZZAP! - magically make a new HD act like my old HD. For "free," i.e., the subscription includes credits for N no-fee restore mailings per year. Sure, Mozy offers real-time drag-and-drop access to one's files, but I don't need that. (Other folks might, though - a co-worker likes the ability to access one's files from any machine.)

What to charge for that insta-restore FedEx service?

Anyhow. Enough of this rambling. But the executives at remote-backup services are listening, as evidenced by a thoughtful e-mail I received from the CEO of a Mozy competitor.



Jopesche said...

The one thing I'd suggest is that you don't want an image of the HD, you just want a new HD with the image on it. Why deal with the extra interim step: if you're going to transfer HD-at-a-time, let them handle the transfering to the HD, and then just drop the new HD into your machine. Let them allow the option of kicking up the size for a small additional fee, sure. But if you're going to have hd-at-a-time transfer, you want an hd. If you're going to have file-at-a-time transfer, then sure, you might not want that. But shipping hdds is the fastest way to transfer data known to mankind right now, and there's a lot to be said for using it if you've got the opportunity.

One note: there's a lot to be said for building your file system for backup. I'm pretty fanatical about keeping all my documents in My Documents -- including bookmarks folders, Zotero references, .dot templates, etc etc. It means that incremental backup both between my laptop and my desktop and to my offsite host is pretty reliable, and all happens through a single batch file. I do wish my hosting provider had an option where I could ship *them* a handful of DVDs or whatever as an initial copy of my drive so I wouldn't have to upload a file at a time, tho...

G-Fav said...

Mr. Pesche -

Yeah, that's a really good point. I'm not hiring them for restore data, I'm hiring them for a hard drive with my restored data.

Many lessons learned for next time.