Mozy no longer offer an unlimited service. I’ve moved on to Crashplan now.
Now I’ve nicely sorted out my local backups, I decided to locate a tuit and sort out some kind of offsite backup. It’s all very well having a multi-generation backup on a separate physical disk (and it’s a solution I strongly recommend to anyone not backing up their files), but that wouldn’t help if all my kit was stolen, incinerated or eaten by angry Tiggers.
I could have given myself the fun job of burning piles of CDs or DVDs, and getting them stored elsewhere, but that’s a lot of work, and I’d have to discipline myself to keep backing up new files as they are created. I don’t actually trust myself to do that, and I’m sure I’d keep forgetting, so that option is a non-starter for me. If you have more self-discipline and the patience to keep feeding disks to your computer, this would be a pretty good solution. It would also be a low-cost solution, so if you don’t have spare cash, go for this.
I could have got yet another external hard drive, then cloned my current backup disk to it, taken one of them offsite, then periodically brought it back to update. That would fail for the same reasons as the previous idea – it would rely on me remembering to do something on a regular basis, and that’s so not going to happen. The cost would be similar to what I’ve spent on the two hard drives I have already – not cheap by any means. I could reduce the cost by using a cheaper USB-only drive rather than the nifty Firewire beasts, so it wouldn’t have to be that bad, but as it would fail because of my tuit issues, it’s not an option for me. Again, if you’re a well-organised person, this might be ideal for you.
That left online backup services. There are growing numbers of these, with a wide range of prices, service levels and storage allowances. Most would be too expensive for me – as I need to keep backups of the original RAW files of all my photos, the volume of data involved is a lot higher than it would be for someone who just wants to keep JPG files and other normal documents. You might recall that I did try using my web hosting for this, but unfortunately, Dreamhost “clarified” their rules a while ago and made it clear that this use of webspace was not actually allowed. As I’m generally quite fond of my web service, I’m not going to push my luck with them, so I had to find another solution that wasn’t going to cost too much.
Anyway, a few months ago, I found out about Mozy, who are offering a quite attractive service. Like a lot of online companies, they have a free basic service, which allows you to store up to 2GB of data. For a lot of people that may be enough to keep the really important stuff that they actually need to protect. For everyone else, it offers a trial before you sign up for the paid service. The paid service costs $4.95 per month for what is described as unlimited storage. I presume they’re working on the assumption that most people will only have a few GB they need to keep, and only a small proportion of nutters will be wanting to upload 100GB or more. There are discounts if you pay up front for one or two years, and with the current exchange rate, the price is quite attractive.
I tested the service on my Windows PC (and subsequently “recovered” those files to the Mac, which worked as expected). The Windows client is fully functional, and the Mac one, while officially being a beta, appears to be working fine. The first backup is going to take a very long time indeed – I suspect a couple of weeks, given the relatively slow upload speed on my connection. But once it’s done that, it will automatically do incremental backups, keeping the offsite backup nicely up to date.
I feel reasonably confident that Mozy will be around for a while – the company is now owned by EMC, a major player in the data storage market, so it’s got as secure a foundation as anything does in the computer industry.
 OK, I don’t technically need to, but I really want to, and I’d be quite upset if I lost the original files – much more so than if I lost work I’d done based on them, as I know I can always recreate exported versions, and maybe improve on previous efforts.
 We had a nice chat with them at work recently, as it happens