Monday, April 19, 2010

Backblaze vs. Mozy – Online Backup for Mac

One day while watching my 4 year old and 2 year old “play” with my iMac’s external hard drives (one for all of our photos, videos and music and the other for Time Machine) the idea struck me that I should maybe start thinking about an online backup solution.

From my extensive initial research (i.e. a couple radio commercials and a quick scan of Google’s sponsored links) it seemed that the two big players were Carbonite and Mozy.  Upon further review, it turned out that Carbonite did not support external hard drives.  What?!?!!  Bu-bye Carbonite.  Hello Mozy.

After a relatively painless install of the Mozy Mac client, I selected about 2GB worth of files to backup (2GB is Mozy’s free version limit) and let it do its thing.  In less time than I expected, all of the files were backed up to Mozy’s online servers.  That’s when things started to unravel.

I went to to see if my files were actually there.  It did show the 2GB of files, but it also said “No backups have been performed”.  What?  I just did a backup…and it says right there that 2GB of my files are there.  I submitted a ticket with Mozy support and they said that it’s a bug and their engineers are working on it.

In spite of the issue on Mozy’s website, the 2GB backup went smoothly enough that I anted up the $5/month and set out to backup the whole enchilada which is around 200GB.  I selected the drives and folders to backup and let it do its thing.  For 5 days I watched as Mozy cranked along at about 10GB a day backing stuff up.  Then, once it got to around 50GB or so it just stopped backing up and started hogging a lot of CPU.  I stopped the backup and restarted, restarted my Mac and tried again.  No love…just stuck at 50GB…and eating up a lot of my CPU.

Well, at this point I wasn’t very happy and decided to see if there were any other options.  I stumbled across David Peterson’s blog post on the subject, and after reading it..wished I would have found it sooner.  Looks like I wasn’t the only one having issues with Mozy.  I took David’s advice and downloaded Backblaze.

Backblaze was easy to install, select what you want to backup, and get going.  My experience was that of Mr. Petersons’….it really wasn’t that much of an experience at all.  I throttled bandwidth usage down during the day, then cranked it at night for the initial upload.  It ended up taking about 2 weeks to backup the full 200GB of content with no issues!

Since the initial backup, I configured Backblaze to only use a low percentage of bandwidth and backup continuously (as opposed to scheduled backups)….and I haven’t noticed it since…the way backup should be.

Winner: Backblaze