Mozy Remote Backup Review

by Jason Reads (10,724)

Introduction:

Have you ever wanted to backup your files easily, without having to do things manually? Mozy remote backup is a great alternative to burning CD/DVD Backups, or using an external Hard drive. Mozy is an easy and safe way to backup your files over the web. In order to use Mozy Remote backup service, you just need an internet connection and have the 1.8MB Mozy program installed that allows you to regulate what is uploaded to the Mozy servers for backup.

What is Mozy and why use remote backup?

Mozy is a service that allows you to backup your files to a remote server over the web, but why do this when you can just use an external hard drive or burn data to CD/DVDs? There are a few reasons:

  1. Software automates the process, you don’t have to remember or take the time to do a backup yourself and your location does not matter.
  2. Backing up remotely allows you to retrieve your files from any PC, so long as it has the Mozy client installed. You can also request Mozy send DVD backups to you for a fee.
  3. If something bad such as a fire or flood hits your home or office, the CDs and hard drive you had been diligently backing up your system to will be destroyed along with your PC and its data.
  4. If you’re a mobile user who shuns lugging around a bunch of stuff, why not get rid of extra accessories such as hard drives and loose CDs and use a web connection and someone else’s servers to backup your system?

Mozy Features:

Mozy offers two services. You can use the free service and backup up to 2GB of data, or pay $4.95 a month for unlimited amounts of data backup. To use Mozy it’s required to signup at Mozy.com and then download a small 1.8MB software client to run on your machine. Mozy offers some of the following features in terms of file backup:

  • 128-bit SSL support (to secure your data during transport)
  • 448-bit Blowfish encryption (to secure your data on their server)
  • Continuous or scheduled backup options
  • New/Changed file detection
  • Supports files larger than 3GB’s
  • Bandwidth throttling

Mozy Software Overview

Using the Mozy software is easy, here’s a rundown of the features you’ll have to use with the software, it has five different tabs of functionality.

Backup Sets Tab


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With the "Backup Sets" tab, you can select a folder or individual files you wish to have backed up. As you click on each folder, the tab shows the file names as well as the file size. Down at the bottom it shows how much free space you have with Mozy. If you select a folder to upload, it will show you how much space you are using up.

File System Tab


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The "File System" tab, shown above, allows you to select any files, folders, or drives found on your computer to be backed up. Similar to Windows Explorer, you can browse through all your files and select the appropriate files to be backed up.

Schedule Tab


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In the "Schedule tab", you have two options for when to backup. You can set it so it will automatically backup your files after x number of minutes of inactivity. Or you can schedule a specific time for Mozy to backup your files. You can select anywhere from once a day to once every seven weeks. You not only choose the day, but the exact time. If you’re at work, you could set it to backup your files every day at 12pm, during a lunch break.

Options Tab


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Under the "Options" tab, you can adjust a lot of basic settings including login, updates, warnings, and more. Mozy even gives you the option to select how much bandwidth you want it to use. You can select what time of day you want your bandwidth to be throttled.

History Tab


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The "History" tab displays information about your previous backups. It displays what time of the day the backups took place, if it was an automatic backup, or a manual backup, how long the backup took, the number of files backed up, the total size, the average transfer rate and more.

Transfer speeds:

Upload speeds:

The upload speeds I experienced ranged from 400kbps (50KB/s) all the way up to 700kbps (~88KB/s). The average upload speed seemed to be around 500kbps (~63KB/s).

Download speeds:

When downloading my backed up files online, the download speeds were understandably much faster than my upload speed. I experienced around 250KB/s download speed while using Internet Explorer 6. For the fun if it, I tried downloading the same 30MB file using "FlashGet", and I experienced average speeds of roughly double that at 500KB/s.

Comparison:

I also compared Mozy’s upload speeds with another free backup service called: "AMD Live! Media Vault." I signed up and used a free account to do a comparison. When uploading a 36.5MB file to the Mozy servers, it took roughly 13.5 minutes to complete. With AMD Live! Media Vault on the other hand, it took me just under 10 minutes to complete the same upload of 36.5MB’s.

Location: Taiwan New York City Pennsylvania Minnesota
Connection: 8Mb DSL DSL 8Mb DSL DSL
Average Upload: 500kb/s (~63KB/s) 550kb/s (~69KB/s) 44kb/s (5.5KB/s) 60kb/s (~7.5KB/s)

In the table above, Mozy was tested in several different locations. Three of the locations were in the US with speeds ranging from 44kb/s – 550kb/s. The other location was in Taiwan, and the average upload speed was 500kb/s.

Customer Support:

When I first began using Mozy, I had several problems when backing up files. Transfer speeds were very slow at ~50kbps (~6KB/s) average and the uploading process would sometimes stop in the middle of a backup. I notified Mozy’s support team, and got a response the next day. They requested that I send them a couple logs of my backup process. So I emailed them. Again, the next day I received a response. Apparently Mozy was in the process of upgrading some of their servers. Their servers were on overload at the time when I started backing up. They apologized and requested that I wait a week and then try backing up my files again. In a week’s time, as promised, everything was working, and much better than it had before. My average upload speed was roughly 10x what it was before.

Conclusion:

Pros:

  • Very user-friendly software, with many great features!
  • Good alternative to an external hard drive, or burning CD’s or DVD’s.
  • With the automatic software, you will never "forget" to backup your files.
  • The Mozy software is not a system resource hog!
  • The paid version of Mozy, Unlimited, has no storage limit!
  • Fast and responsive customer support!
  • Works for Vista, XP and Windows 2000

Cons:

  • May not be suitable for backing up very large files
  • Downloading backups off the Mozy servers does not start instantly. Their servers take a few minutes to prepare the files, then you get an email, with a link to your backup. You can then login on Mozy.com and begin downloading your selected files.
  • Upload speeds were slower than a free backup service.
  • If you’re on dial up or a slow internet connection, backups could take weeks.
  • Does not work with Mac OS X

Pricing:

For an unlimited amount of storage space, Mozy starts at only $4.95 a month. They also offer a free trial with 2GB’s of free storage space. Visit www.Mozy.com for more information.




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