Part of the problem with setting up a backup system is, frankly, laziness. Backups have traditionally been somewhat labor intensive (or, alternatively, expensive). Generally speaking, my (realistic) options were:
Do a weekly (!!!) backup to DVDs. Not practical because, frankly, I’ve got a shitload of data and it would take dozens of DVDs to hold it all. And even though they’re cheap, DVDs are not free. And really, who has the time to sit and burn dozens of 4 GB DVDs on a weekly (or even monthly) basis? Not me!
Buy an external hard drive (or two). Not practical because hard drives still cost money and aside from a bit of redundancy, I’d really like to have my data be “safe.” Which means off-site. Which means using the trick of buying 2 (or more!) of the exact same type of hard drive and swapping them out on a regular basis, with one stored off-site somewhere safe. This is also not practical because… where am I going to store it? And who has the time to swap disks out all the time, then drive somewhere to keep them safe? (The “classic” alternative, the tape backup, has the same pitfalls as this hard drive solution, and is even more expensive.)
Backup data online. Until very recently, this was not practical because of 2 reasons: #1 – the Internet was too slow and #2 – you couldn’t buy storage space online at a reasonable cost. Thankfully, that has now changed, thanks to – you guessed it – Mozy.
Basically, I chose Mozy for 3 reasons:
- Secure backup
- Fair price
- Runs as a background process
So far, I’m pretty impressed. The setup is easy and the configuration is simple as well – but there are options if you want them (as I do). I like the fact that I can set Mozy up to run at a reduced speed during the day, and to stop backing up if my CPU usage goes above a certain threshold. And it just keeps running in the background, pretty much no matter what I’m doing, which is nice. And so far, I haven’t noticed any performance hit because of it – it’s like it’s not even there.
Of course, my backup is estimated to take about 7 days to complete – but then again, I am backing up a rather large amount of data! (Mozy puts it at about 26 GB – that’s 26 GB of photos, videos, music, documents, 10 years of email, programming projects, game data, and a few other things I can’t quite remember.)
Still, there’s something strangely comforting about knowing my data will be backed up soon. Even if my house burns to the ground, I’ll be able to recover pretty much everything – and that’s what a good backup is supposed to provide.
So, for $4.99/month (which gives you unlimited storage space to back up as much or as little as you like), if you’ve got a fast Internet connection and a lot of data you don’t want to lose, I’d highly recommend Mozy. Because not having a backup can be a lot more expensive – and believe me when I say you’ll really only appreciate that after you’ve lost years of irreplaceable data.
Don’t wait – backup today!