IBackup Online Review

by Reads (11,327)
  • Pros

    • Supports file versioning
    • Multiple OS support
    • Can backup multiple systems
  • Cons

    • Plans are expensive
    • Lacks a free service level
    • Service levels are confusing

By: Rick Vanover

TheIBackupservice is one of the most prominent providers of online data backup, especially among home and small-business users who have neither the time nor the resources to deal with conventional disk- or tape-based backup solutions. Is IBackup’s popularity well earned, or just a precursor to Internet infamy? Read on for our review.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

The IBackup service has three categories of services, each with their own disk-availability limits and costs. The table below breaks down the service offerings

Feature

Economy Plan

Enhanced Backup Plan

Workgroup Plan

Monthly Cost

$9.95 / 10 GB
$99.95 / 100 GB

$14.95 / 15 GB
$99.95 / 100 GB

$20 / 10 GB
$150 / 150 GB

Storage
(Tiered pricing)

10 GB – 300 G

15 GB – 1000 GB

10 GB – 200 GB

Supported Systems

Windows 2000, 2003, 2008
Windows XP, Vista
Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Linux, Solaris (via rsync)
Exchange Server
SQL Server
Oracle Server

Windows 2000, 2003, 2008
Windows XP, Vista
Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Linux, Solaris (via rsync)
Exchange Server
SQL Server
Oracle Server

Windows 2000, 2003, 2008
Windows XP, Vista
Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Linux, Solaris (via rsync)
Exchange Server
SQL Server
Oracle Server

Snapshots

10 days

10 days

10 days

Note: There are other products and service levels also available at the IBackup website.

DOWNLOAD & INSTALLATION

The download and installation of IBackup is easy for Windows systems. The software is downloaded from the IBackup website and starts with the installation wizard, shown in Figure A:

Figure A

IBackup install wizard

The wizard selects a folder path for the IBackup installation (not your data backups) and then starts the installation process as shown in Figure B:

Figure B

IBackup install process

Once the program installation is completed, the IBackup console starts up. If you have an account already, you can log in at this time. If you don’t have an account set up, you can do so on the IBackup website or within the application on your computer, shown in Figure C below:

Figure C

IBackup login and account setup

IBackup does not offer an entirely free service, but there is a 15 GB service available for a free trial. Once the local installation of IBackup is logged in with an account, we are presented with information about the default backup of the My Documents and Desktop folders shown in Figure D:

Figure D

IBackup default backup settings

The installation of IBackup defaults to a robust backup schedule for My Documents and the desktop of a Windows system. To manually initiate a backup, just click the Backup Now button, shown in Figure E:

Figure E

IBackup manual backup

Beyond the default backup path, IBackup can be used to create backups of other directories as well as backups of complete systems, such as Microsoft Exchange servers, SQL Servers, and Oracle databases. Additional backup jobs can be configured with specific parameters such as frequency, start time, email notifications, and a cut-off time. Figure F below shows the options of a backup job:

Figure F

IBackup configuration options

IBackup also offers a system state backup for Windows systems. This is an extra option to protect parts of the computer beyond data. The system state option requires an additional plug-in, but is included with most IBackup plans.

IN USE & EFFECTIVENESS

In considering the transition to online backups, the paramount issue is the speed of your Internet connection. Most residential and small business Internet connections are DSL or cable solutions, and the advertised speeds focus on the download rate. In the case of online backups, the upload speed is the important measurable. IBackup does two things that allow you to manage this important factor of Internet performance. First of all, jobs are given time-sensitive configuration. This is defined by the start time of a job, but also by the cut-off time for a job. For example, if a job is not completed by the start of business it can be stopped. If you use IBackup, but sure to have email alerts configured so that the start time can be adjusted to ensure the job will complete in the given timeframes. Also, you have some options to move larger jobs to weekends or holidays that may have more availability on the Internet connection. IBackup also allows the backup jobs to be configured to throttle the Internet connection when the system is idle and in use, shown in Figure G below.

Figure G

IBackup Internet connection throttling

The other critical point of an online backup solution is the ease of data restoration. IBackup’s restore functionality is straightforward and uses the same application that manages the backups. IBackup “snapshot” functionality allows for previous versions of files to be restored for up to 10 days after original backup. This is important as you may not immediately know a file needs to be restored if it becomes corrupted and is automatically backed up in the corrupted state.

IBackup also offers other features, including Mirror Path, wherein an entire folder path is replicated to the IBackup account – making it easy to browse for the contents in case of a restore. IBackup also supports multiple PCs with the same account. Selected plans in the Enhanced category and all of the plans in the Workgroup category include 3 and 100 extra computer support, respectively. This allows IBackup to be installed on multiple computers while their backup configuration is handled by a single IBackup account, in case a centralized restore is needed.

The extra features of Exchange, SQL and Oracle support are a good offering for the small business. Traditional backup mechanisms for these products can require additional backup agent purchases, but they are included with most IBackup plans.

CONCLUSION

Overall, IBackup has a very strong technology offering for an online backup service. The biggest obstacle for use in the home environment will be the costs associated with most plans. Put simply, you’re paying a premium cost for the convenience of not managing multiple hardware and software components. The question for the user is whether the time savings are worth the costs.

PROS

  • Snapshot feature for restoring previous versions of files
  • Multiple OS support for backup clients
  • Computer Sub-Accounts good for managing many systems

CONS

  • Plans are expensive
  • Lacks a free service offering, though free trials are available
  • Large array of offerings may confuse buyers


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