Goodbye, Mozy

Updated: “What are the alternatives”

All it takes to lose a customer is one e-mail

Since July 2009 I have been using Mozy’s consumer product, MozyHome, to back up my e-mail, documents, school files (past and present), Lightroom databases, music, videos, and most recently, my photographs.  For a reasonable fee ($54.45 for 12 months) I could back up as much as I wanted.  That ended yesterday when I received an e-mail from Mozy that the prices would be going up and the unlimited plan would be phased out in favor of a usage-based pricing schedule.

E-mail from Mozy
E-mail from Mozy received 1 February 2011

Ultimately, I was hoping to back up all of my photos to Mozy’s cloud: 516 gigabytes at present.   If I had kept my account at MozyHome, and my files finally finished uploading, I would have needed their $9.99 per month ($119.88 per year) plan to get my base storage space expanded to 125 gb, and would have paid an additional $20 per month (sold in 20 gb blocks for $2 each) to cover the 391 gb of extra space I would have needed.  Eventually, my annual fee for MozyHome would have become $359.88.  Yikes!

To be fair, it does seem skewed that I should be able to back up 121.32 gigabytes for the same fee as someone backing up 4gb of data.  However, the new fees for MozyHome don’t really address that discrepancy.  The base price that includes 50gb of storage is now higher than the unlimited plan ever was–$71.88 for an annual subscription (13 months as one month is “free”).  So it’s not just people who use a lot of space who are being penalized: the casual user who is only backing up his or her e-mail, word processor files, and spreadsheets is suddenly going to pay $17.43 more per year for the same service he or she had before.

As services go, MozyHome is far from terrible, but it’s not terrific either.  Uploads to Mozy are slow (granted, connection speed affects this to an extent), the software is extremely buggy and difficult to change settings, and it was never clear what Mozy would do with the data it had backed up from an external hard drive if that drive was not mounted the next time it went to back-up.  I’m convinced it deleted 20 gb of uploaded files simply because I had an external drive powered down, although I’d be hard pressed to prove it.  Mozy was completely acceptable when it offered unlimited storage for a bargain price, but with the new pricing, I’d recommend taking a pass.

What are the alternatives?

Immediately after getting the e-mail from Mozy that their prices would be climbing, I pulled up the Web site for Carbonite and found that their annual fee for unlimited storage space is much like the Mozy of the past: $54.95.  Unfortunately, Carbonite doesn’t offer an option to back up external hard drives.  Unless all of your files are on the same hard drive as your operating system, Carbonite won’t copy them to the server.

Additionally, while Carbonite offers unlimited storage space, they acknowledge that they slow down the speed of uploads to their server from users who have backed up more than 200 gb of data.  In short, Carbonite won’t be replacing Mozy for backing up my data in the cloud.

I was looking at other options online and one service that seems to be a contender for filling the void that Mozy left is Back Blaze.  It would appear to offer unlimited data storage for $5 per month and it can back up external hard drives.  I may give it a trial run, but anyone who has experience with Back Blaze or any other the other online back up providers is encouraged to share their experiences in the comments below!

So what to do?

At the moment I’m going to depend on the two back up hard drives I rotate off-site, in addition to the hard drive I’ve recently set up as Networked Attached Storage (NAS) via a PogoPlug.  While it isn’t the fastest NAS solution, the PogoPlug does have another trick up its sleeve: I can access the files from anywhere with Internet access!

I’ll have a tutorial of how I use PogoPlug, Microsoft SyncToy, and the Windows 7 Task Scheduler to keep my files backed-up across the network.

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