Sunday, August 17, 2008

Carbonite vs Mozy vs Jungle Disk

I decided that with my daughter coming into my life, that I need to now backup all my precious pictures of her.

This is slightly easier said than done, since I'm currently clocking in around 30 GB of pictures.
So what backup service did I choose?

I looked at the Mozy service and on paper it looks great.
  • Free 2gb service, higher plans for more data.
  • Block level incremental backups(only the bits that get changed are backed up)
  • File Versioning
  • Bandwidth Throttling (important for you VoIP users)
  • Locked File support (Via the VSS service)
However, trolling around on the net, it seems like it's a nightmare to get access to your files in a hurry.

Then I began to compare Carbonite, and Jungle Disk. Both have compelling features, and some draw backs:

Carbonite Pros:

  • Unlimited flat fee storage
  • Block level incremental backups
  • File Versioning
  • Bandwidth Throttling
  • No restriction on File size
  • Easy install
  • Runs as a service, so if the computer is on, the backup runs
  • Unaffected by multiuser computer configuration
  • Select own encryption key

Carbonite Cons:

  • Currently only has a single data center.
  • Proprietary client. (No Mac support)

Jungle Disk Pros:

  • Multiple Datacenters (Runs on the Amazon S3 services)
  • File Versioning
  • Select own encryption key
  • Opensource Client
  • Multiple OS support (linux / Mac / Windows)
  • Data is stored on Amazon S3 service, so is unlikely to go out of business.
  • Select own encryption key

Jungle Disk Cons:

  • Block level incremental backups are an addition fee
So on paper, JungleDisk wins hands down. 

Except for the WAF factor. (Wife Acceptiblity Factor) Carbonite puts colored dots on files that are being backed up. This little trick lets you know what files are backed up. Without even telling her, my wife figured out what it meant, and began to backup other things that were important to her. So I subscribed to Carbonite's free trial.

I signed up, and installed the software. It immediately began backing up my computer. I looked at it's selection set, and it was grabbing the entire Documents and Settings folder. Which is great because I store my 29 GB of photos in the Shared User folder.

Here's the quick stats:
Backup Started Sunday 9pm
Backup completed Wednesday 4pm
Total backup: 29GB

But what's a backup solution without a restore test, and besides, after hearing about Mozy's troubles with Large restores, I wanted to know what I was getting into. So I restored everything to an External Hard
Drive.

Restore started Sunday 8:15 pm
Restore complete
Monday at 5:15pm. However, this includes an internet outage of 10pm,
till 7am, so the total time was much shorter.

Everything hasn't been all roses with Carbonite. I've had two ongoing issues.

The floppy drive will seek randomly.
Explorer.exe will crash randomly and will auto restart.

Apparently both of these issues go back to those colored dots that I enjoyed. The floppy drive issue I googled, and found that another user had the same issue. A VP from carbonite posted to his blog that he's
heard of this issue, and that putting a floppy disk in the drive will allow carbonite to see the drive, and figure out it's a floppy. Once it does this, it will not query the drive anymore.I'm wondering if the 2nd issue is related to the first. I have a floppy in the drive, and plan to leave the computer on overnight.

If not, I'll submit a support ticket.

Anyways, I'm now recommending to people that ask to use Carbonite to backup they're stuff. If your going to use it, drop me a line, I'll refer you, we'll both get a free month of service.

**Update**

The two issues I've had with Carbonite went away when I migrated computers. The Computer I'd installed Carbonite on was about 5 years old, still with it's orginal 5 year old XP install. 5 Years of software trials, multiple AV and Spyware scanners.

I'm chalking the issues up to something leftover from another software install that didn't clean up from itself. 

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