updated 10:00 pm EST, Thu February 28, 2008
First Look at MozyHome
Backups are an essential part of modern computer ownership, to ensure that irreplaceable data is recoverable in the event of a hard drive failure or corruption. This could range from important business data or university coursework, to personal photos or financial data. Some users do not feel they'd properly make use of all the .Mac services, so the yearly fee may be slightly cost prohibitive, while others feel that 10GB of storage is too much for them.
Mozy recently came out with MozyHome for Mac, a backup service that offers users several remote backup options, including a free 2GB account, appropriately named MozyHome Free. For $5 per month, you can upgrade the 2GB account to an unlimited backup solution.
Choosing your encryption method
The installation and setup is rather straightforward; after choosing your account, you can download the Mozy installer. Once you launch the installer, the next few screens are dedicated to setting up your install routines. After logging in, you can chose between using Mozy's 448-bit Blowfish encrypted key or if you wish to generate your own. The installer also places a small menu in the menu bar that you use to control Mozy, as well as an application that customizes your backup.
The Mozy menu item
The next step is to decide what you want to back up. Mozy comes pre-loaded with several locations such as Documents and Pictures, but you can select your own by clicking the Files and Folders tab near the top of the window. This is the most recommended option for the free account, since 2GB will not hold most users' complete Picture or Music libraries. As you add data to the backup routine, a small bar will fill at the bottom, indicating how much space will be taken up.
Hitting the Save Configuration button brings up the Mozy Backup Status window, which gives you an indication of how far along your backup is in terms of uploading and archiving. Mozy performs a block-level archive on your data to ensure that it is catalogued properly, which helps it perform speedier incremental backups in the future.
Mozy's preset backup routines
Manually configuring the backup routine
Mozy lets you know that large backups are no small undertaking; the faster your connection is to the internet, the faster the backup will go. This is true only to a point, however: MozyHome is only capable of uploading at 133KB per second. If you require faster speeds, the MozyPro accounts have a 1MB cap, but the Pro service will not be available until later in the first quarter of 2008.
Finished the initial backup
Should a restore ever be required, you simply open the Mozy menu item and choose "Restore Files…" and a small window will launch. This window is where you select which folders or files you want to restore. Once the files are chosen, clicking the Restore button will commence the download – unlike uploads, downloads are not capped on the paid MozyHome service.
Apple's .Mac service is a great service overall, but if you find you don't need any of the extras they supply (email address, web space, etc.), MozyHome could be an ideal choice. The free 2GB account is great for anyone needing to back up very little, and for $5 per month, the MozyHome Unlimited account is an excellent alternative.
Note: Although I had success with MozyHome for the purposes of this First Look, it is advisable to note that this it is currently in beta. This means that some features might not be complete, or refined, and could potentially lead to issues. Use MozyHome beta at your own risk.