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First Look: MozyHome remote backup

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.


Mozy's preset backup routines


Manually configuring the backup routine


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.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. legacyb4

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Extra 256MB storage space

    If you sign up using my referral link:

    https://mozy.com/?code=SVU4AA

    and we both get an extra 256MB added to our quotas.

    Cheers!

  1. Londor

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    legacyb4

    I used your referral link and I got 256MB extra. Thanks.

    Mine is:

    https://mozy.com/?ref=EKCYKI

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Now, if they'd

    just release the Mozy Pro client for Mac, I'd be reeeeally happy with them. My organization has settled on Mozy Pro as the "enterprise" backup solution. The administrative front end is light-years better than the alternatives, and they had "some" mac support in terms of an available beta Mac home client, which at least suggested developmental interest on their part.

    Oh! And the cost to my organization was also unbeatable. "MO-ZY! MO-ZY! MO-ZY!.."

    The jury is still out on their having been acquired by EMC, but development appears to be going forward. :D

  1. TheSnarkmeister

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    .Mac less secure/supportd

    "Apple's .Mac service is a great service overall..." It may have started out that way, but Apple, being Apple, has arrogantly let it die on the vine. Most critically, it lacks credible security features. It certainly doesn't support anything nearly as impressive as 448-bit Blowfish in any of its offerings. Pretty much users of dot Mac have no way of knowing when their data is protected, when it is isn't, or how well it is protected. Worse yet, if there is a breach, Apple will provide no support -- none whatsoever. This is known from personal experience. Users aren't even given access to their logs so that they can do their own investigations. Victims of identity theft as a result of dot Mac accounts being breached are on their own. To versify, a cursory search on the web, in news and users groups, will reveal this complaint to not be unique.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Excellent but slow

    As one that has had a HD crash on my MacBook, I can say that the service paid for itself in the instant everything crashed.

    The one gripe I have is the bandwidth. Restoring gives you a bandwithd in the region of 30kbps. It took me more than 20 days to restore my entire HD. But, not a file was lost :)

    nk

  1. JimMueller

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    very slow, saved our butt

    I hooked up with Mozy last spring and have been using it on our G4 sawtooth with an assortment of internal & external drives. Between hangs and connectivity problems it took from March to September to achieve a full backup of our music drive (40Gb internal ATA.) We then added our main data drive (400Gb internal SATA) and Mozy would churn for several days before crashing. We have taken to adding individual folders instead of the entire drive, but for the past couple of months all we've been getting are "cannot connect to backup server" errors. Over the summer Mac support was excellent - my requests for help were answered within a day and usually by the same tech who became very familiar with our setup. He then let us know he'd be out of touch for a week as he moved to EMCs home office. I never heard from him again and my requests for help go unanswered for days or weeks. When I do get a reply it is usually PC boilerplate. From what actual information I could extract, we were running a stress-test beyond what they wrote MacMozy for. When I remarked we may be moving these drives to a G5 in the near future they responded that it should resolve the problems we were having. The miniscule throttle on the non-Pro uploading is new to me too. There had been no mention of any limitation in any of our tech conversations - including my repeated disbelief that their "unlimited" storage is really unlimited.

    However, when we did have the contents of a data folder mysteriously disappear we were able to recover it within a half a day. The in-application recovery process did not work - it repeatedly crashed. However, their web interface worked fine and after the 500+Mb .dmg file was created by their server (a 6 hour process) it took about 20 minutes to download it and restore the folder's contents. a nice touch was that we were sent an email when the file was available. They also offer a DVD delivery service if the data to be recovered would overwhelm your network connection. Despite the warts, we're going to be sticking with Mozy and hoping the Mac client is not going to continue to be their unwanted stepchild.

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