Mozy’s MozyHome and MozyPro Backup Solutions
Wish I had backed up
All that I wrote, deleted
I’ll start it again
- Benjamin Spencer
As more and more of our lives are converted into tiny 0′s and 1′s, we become increasingly dependent on the data we create. But how many of us, especially in the freelance world, have a plan or procedure in place to avoid the bane of our electronic existence: data loss. The excuses for this lack of disaster preparedness range from pure laziness, to inexperience (with the backup method or storage material), or just plain backup failure. There are solutions, and with the technology of today, no excuse should be valid anymore. Mozy, newly acquired by EMC, with their MozyHome and MozyPro backup solutions, hope to help you on the path to recovery. Let’s take a closer look at the options, and how well their products performed.
How Does It Work?
First, in the model of full disclosure, Mozy is a paying advertiser or FreelanceSwitch, however this is an unbiased review. With that out of the way, let’s get down to the actual review. Mozy currently comes in a couple of different flavors, Home and Pro. The difference between these two is really one of whether or not the licenses you purchase are business (commercial) or home (non-commercial). Once that decision is made, then you simply download and install the client, and the configuration happens shortly after. The connection to Mozy, especially in regards to the MozyHome configuration, did seem a little sluggish at times, but not enough to make things unbearable. This could have been due to my own network, however.
The basic backup configuration is set up quite well. It successfully ignored folders without files, and ignored folders with unimportant files such as thumbs.db or picasa.ini if there was nothing else in there. You can expand the default settings to include folders and files that were not selected by default (ie an images directory on a USB drive). From the configuration screen, you can also modify selections such as schedule, how the backups are run (manually or automatically), or even restrict bandwidth. Overall, the application itself is unobtrusive, working quietly in the background if you want it to, or alerting you if need that sort of visual reference.
Once configured, the backup begins. There is an initial estimate, based upon the amount of resources you are willing assign to Mozy (along with bandwidth), of how long that backup will take. You can monitor the process and/or adjust the performance by double-clicking the Mozy icon in the tray. I set the MozyPro configuration to work against my large BeyondTV box, while MozyHome backed up my day-to-day PC (with a lot less to backup). I feel it is imperative to note that if you are going to have a backup, you need to let it run fully, assigning as many resources as possible to the task to begin with, so that future backups will be more efficient, and you don’t run the risk of losing data in the meantime.
Alas, the bane of any backup – out of space. The messages are similar whether from MozyHome (particularly the free version) or MozyPro, but they all leave you with the feeling like you haven’t gotten the best end of the deal. Of course, the optimal solution would be to either allow the user to pay for the additional space right then, or even to re prioritize the data that was most important to backup.
As time goes on, one can check the history of said backups via the same Mozy icon. Clicking on a result will display further details. Unfortunately, clearing the history does not prompt if you are sure you want to delete all the entries, and there is no way to retrieve the information locally once it is gone. Your backups are not lost, just the backup history.
What’s the use of having a backup if you can’t restore the files? Mozy has three options available, regardless of the version. First, and one that I think is really the icing of the cake, is the DVD Restore. It is recommended for large restores, and while it has a price tag, Mozy will overnight, via FedEx, your files to you. Talk about service! The second option is to generate a restore from your account online, which in turn generates a link (via email or from the website). The great thing about this functionality is that you don’t have to restore it back to any particular PC. Forgot your recent presentation at home? Simply restore it to another PC.
Lastly, when you install Mozy on your PC, you gain a Mozy Remote Backup source. Simply select the drive and source you are wanting to restore, and then either copy it back to another location or restore to the original spot. This functionality was fast, efficient, and really makes restores easy – an important feature for any backup application.
Unfortunately, there is a reason why Mozy recommends the DVD restore for large files. I recently lost a couple episodes on my BTV box, and wanted to watch them. Realizing that I still might have fallen within the 30 day window that Mozy provides for deleted files, I attempted to retrieve the large videos. The task of finding the files was effortless, but the restore took quite a bit of time to find on the server when using the Mozy Remote Backup drive.
After the 8.4GB of data was found, the restore process took a big chunk of time too. But I expected this. After the 20+ hours, the files were back on the drive and ready for viewing. A seamless restore that took time, but really hit home the stability and usability of the product.
Yes, they are an advertiser here at FreelanceSwitch. But the product does work, and it does work exactly how one would expect it to. I was quickly able to set up both a Pro and Home account and have the data start pouring offsite. Yes, they’ve recently been purchased. But they have no plans to change their existing offerings. Yes, it is an offsite solution that could possibly disappear. But really, you should have a local backup anyway, right? And the peace of mind that you might actually have a backup the week you forgot certainly feels nice. A great solution for a very minimal cost that takes very little effort to work.
- Easy to use
- Plenty of restore options, just in case you need them
The Not So Good
- Connections to Mozy can seem a little slow at times
- No option for local backup in addition to offline
- No option for exceeding bandwidth if necessary
From 2Gb free and unlimited (per computer) for $4.95 USD per month (Home users) to $3.95 per month plus $.50 USD per GB (Business/Pro Users). It is currently available for PC and Mac (in beta at the time of the review).
NB. from Cyan: The team at Mozy just wrote to me and we have a couple of corrections! Sorry Mozy
- There is a fourth option for restoring files. If you’re using Windows, you can right click on any file or folder and click “Restore files in folder”, this is often easier than browsing to the virtual Mozy drive in Windows Explorer
- There’s no reason a Mozy Home Unlimited user should run out of space
- With regards to “Out of Space”, there IS an option to purchase “Overdraft Protection” which would make sure all your data gets backed up even if it’s over your quota