As a father, my photos and videos of my daughter are some of my most valued possessions. As an IT person, I am intimately aware of how often hard drives crash. At work, I have designed comprehensive disaster recovery plans and backup systems. Yet, for my personal computing uses, I have always been lazy about backups. Not anymore; preserving my family memories is just too important.
I did buy an external hard drive a few months ago but a fire, flood, or theft would wipe out both the computer and external drive. So I have been looking into online backup solutions to supplement the external hard drive.
By my calculations, I need approximately 500GB of storage to backup everything I don’t want to lose. I do not have 500GB of photos and home movies but since I am doing this, I might as well include my MP3 collection and documents.
SugarSync is the highest rated service and I can see why. It brings the most features in one package. You can backup, sync, access, and share your files easily. It is really a full blown cloud-storage solution rather than simply a backup service. Unfortunately, for $5 a month, I can only backup 30GB. They charge $40 a month for 500GB, which is more than I want to spend. $500 a year is a lot, especially considering the possibility that I might not ever need to restore my files from the online service.
Box.net looks to be a great business solution for file sharing and collaboration. In fact, I am going to have the person in my department responsible for our Salesforce.com installation look into integrating Box.net so we can get away from Salesforce’s low storage quotas. Unfortunately, $10 a month only gets me 10GB of storage. So that option is out.
I have used Dropbox for awhile now, it is great for synchronizing files back and forth between work and home. It keeps me from having to use a flash drive or FTP to move my work back and forth (I don’t lug a laptop around). But I can only get 50GB for $10 a month or 100GB for $20 a month. This also is not a great backup solution because it only backs up the files in one folder on your computer. But I highly recommend getting the free account which gives you 2GB. You can access the files with your iPhone too.
Mozy and Carbonite are very similar services with nearly identical pricing. $5 a month gets unlimited storage. I’m sure Carbonite is a fine solution but I get the feeling that Carbonite is focusing more on its business solution than on its consumer product just by looking at the two websites. I simply wasn’t as impressed as I was with the next service, Mozy.
Mozy lets you configure bandwidth and CPU utilization limits and also backs up to your external hard-drive for you. $5 a month for unlimited storage at Mozy as well. This service seems like the best option for a cost-effective online backup. Mozy is owned by EMC, a major player in the enterprise storage market.
* Tip for Mozy. Make sure you change the “Videos” backup set by right-clicking on it and removing the 50MB limitation or any large videos you have will not be backed up. Carbonite has similar defaults that are annoying but understandable.