Why am I so turned off by online backups?  Well I’m not entirely turned off, I use http://filesanywhere.com to backup my personal workstation. Here are some things that bother me:

  1. special files – The performance of online backups relies on being able to perform incremental backups (and compress these?).  But some special files are problematic to incrementally backup: SQL & MS Access databases, Exchange Information Stores, Outlook PST files, Active Directory, etc.  Of course I trust Backup Exec to perform incremental backups of databases and information stores, but many online services don’t even offer that feature.
  2. Ok, let’s say that you have to restore EVERYTHING.  How long will that take?  Say you have 150 GB of data and a T1.  (Is it over 13 hours at the theoretical maximum? T1 = 1.5 megabits per second /8 = 187 megaBYTEs per second, 150,000 MB / 187 MBps /60 = ~13 hours.  But when do we ever get full 1.5 mbps transfer rates?  1.2 is probably more realistic so > 16 hours.)  Of course that probably does compare with other off-site solutions like sending tapes to Iron Mountain…

Well, everyone keeps talking about http://mozy.com and they claim to be able to backup all of these special files and they can overnight a DVD in the event of a full restore scenario.  So I guess that I just need to get an account and do some intense testing. (Of course General Electric is already using it for client backups, so who am I to question them? :-))

  • One problem is that for clients with very large data sets, this gets really pricey.  Mozy charges $1.75/GB so 500 GB of data is $875 a month!  We can do it by hand to tape at an hourly rate  and use Iron Mountain for cheaper than that.
  • I might look into idrive.com which is much cheaper ($49.95 for 500 GB) but they don’t advertise exchange or sql backups.
  • ibackup.com claims to do exchange and SQL for about $1/GB, but do they have the high-profile clients that mozy can boast?