Helping Mozy help Macs
I'm a big fan of the remote backup concept embodied in Carbonite and Mozy. As a Mac user though I couldn't use either until recently, when Mozy released a beta Mac client. I know Carbonite is working on their Mac client which is to be available in August, but I can't play with it now.
The practical strategy for protecting your data Home RAID will never fly because it is too complex and trouble-prone. Even if it saves your data, fixing a broken RAID is usually a painful process, one that non-geeks have little patience for.
The practical strategy for protecting your data is two-fold: copying important stuff to a USB disk or a local NAS box, like a USB drive on an Apple Airport Extreme and a remote backup - slow but safe - that automatically backs up new or changed files. I already do the first, hence my interest in the second.
Adventures in beta land
As I reported last week, the client installed fine and then didn't work at all. Devin from Mozy got in touch with me and said they'd found that bug and were in the process of fixing it. He got back to me Monday with the fix, I installed it, and it still didn't work. There was another bug, which they fixed in a couple of hours, and I started backing up.
Mozy seems to be on top of the technical issues.
We aren't out of the woods yet
Most broadband connections download faster than they upload. Out here in the mountains of northern Arizona, I'm lucky to get a 70 KB/sec upload rate. So the first backup will take anywhere from many hours to several days.
Mozy encrypts and compresses the data before shipping it out, which can suck up 60-80% of my Intel Core Duo. It is well-behaved, working in the background and getting out of the way when you want to do something more important. The backup seems to stop every so often for no reason, but restarting is easy.
How about a restore?
Mozy allows you to back up what they call backup sets and files and folders. The backup sets are application oriented options like Mail Messages, Address Book, and iPhoto. Files and folders are what you'd expect, and you can choose to backup an entire Documents folder or open it up and select individual folders.
I looked at the restore options and discovered a couple of anomalies (probably bugs). The big one was that none of the backup sets appeared in the restore window. On the file side, it appeared that all the Documents folders got backed up, but not individual files within the top-most Documents folder.
I've reported both problems to Mozy and I'm sure they are working on them.
Update: Mozy wrote and told me that the individual files will appear after clicking on the name of the folder, not its icon or the + sign. They are in the process of changing that behavior in a future release.
The Storage Bits take
I'm pleased with the progress Mozy is making on the Mac client. This is a beta and it does have bugs, but overall I like what I've seen of the product. I'll keep playing with it and reporting every so often.