I was asked by Transition Network of Totnes to recommend a suitable Online Backup Solution according to the following criteria:
- Share-ability: we need individuals to be able to back up to their own folders, but also to be able to see each other’s backed up folders
- Any limit on number of folders you can back up to
- Size of ‘applet’ on desktop that does the updating
- Frequency of updates – can they be managed/turned on/turned off?
- Size of back up space - we’re looking at an approx average of 2-3GB per user (for 10 users), maxing at 7GB for one user who gets a lot of PDF attachments
When I first looked at Online Backup Services in 2007, this was a new kind of service, being offered by a few providers at widely varying rates. Storage charges varied anywhere from .15c per GB per month to $10 per GB per month.
Fast forward to 2010 and the picture is very different. Broadband is now ubiquitous, and speeds are higher. And there are now more than 100 providers offering Online Backup services, with the average price being around $5 a month for a decent amount of storage.
There are a number of different approaches taken to backing up. Some providers offer a completely automatic service – which backs up the all your personal and is non user-configurable (Carbonite). Others have no scheduling – the backup just runs in the background (Dropbox). All services offer incremental back up changed files (just the changed parts of a file, are uploaded rather than uploading a completely new copy – which cuts down on time and bandwidth usage). Some offer “unlimited” storage (usually with limitations specified in the small print)
The needs of TTN are modest, and it makes sense to be able to manage all the computers under one Administrator account, rather than set up several individual accounts (each with its own billing and administrative tasks). With centralised control it will be possible to keep an eye on what is being backed up where and by whom.
I have looked many services listed in various places:
- Computer Websites like www.pcworld.com – reviews quite detailed, but often out of date, and tend to be home-user focussed
- Comparison websites – e.g. toptenreviews.com I don’t tend to trust these sites, since they make money through recommendations, getting users to click through affiliate links. Their recommendations probably steer their readers to the higher paying of their affiliate partners)
- An exception to this is www.backupreview.info. They do not use affiliate links – preferring to stay neutral in their assessments (which is good to know!)
- User-facing productivity blogs like www.lifehacker.com – these are good sources of information, although much of it anecdotal – see five-best-online-backup-tools, lifehacker readers’ best online backup service
|Service||Comment||Annual Price for 10 users|
|memopal.com/en||Expensive, storage limit||£420 for 100gb storage|
|www.sugarsync.com||Expensive & questionable reputation||£750 for 100gb storage|
|www.mozy.com (Mozy Pro)||Popular good reputation||£400 plus .50 per gb per month|
|www.jungledisc.com||Popular, versatile, pay as you go||£312 for 10gb storage/user plus small charge for data transfer|
|www.carbonite.com||Not very configurable, no mac option||£390 for up to 100gb|
|www.ibackup.com||£650 for 100gb|
|www.datadepositbox.com||Enterprise-level backup||£1560 for 100gb|
From this it is possible to narrow the choice down to two – Mozy and Jungledisk
- Desktop Licenses: £3.99 per user + £0.50 /GB storage per month (incidentally the US price is $3.99 + $0.50 /GB per month)
- Mozy is well known for ease of use – can choose what you want backed up
- Automatic or scheduled backup
- Bandwidth throttling to avoid disturbing work in progress
- No sharing between users
- No support forums – therefore support is company-centric
- Further information
Cheap, but pricing plan is complex, so it is difficult to anticipate what the actual charges will be. However you only pay for what you use, so with modest needs prices should remain low
- $4 per user per month, 10gb per user storage free,
- Thereafter storage = $0.15 per GB-Month (Storage with Amazon S3)
- Data Transfer: $0.10 per GB of data uploaded $0.15 per GB of data downloaded
- Data Request: $0.01 per 1000 upload requests, $0.01 per 10,000 download requests
- Highly configurable and versatile
- Small footprint backup applet
- Well-established service with good reputation
- Folder sharing between users – this is potentially a very useful feature – you could create repositories of shared reference information accessible by all or some staff, and have shared folders where users can be working on and contributing to the same set of documents, without the risk of duplication and version divergence.
- Good support forums – http://support.jungledisk.com/forums/
- Manual see: Jungle Disk Workgroup Manual
There are 3 main features of the Jungle Disk Workgroup Edition 3.0 and you can choose to use any combination of these features to meet your specific needs.
The Jungle Disk Workgroup Edition allows you to access your online storage as network drive to allow you to drag & drop, edit files directly to the drive, and copy files back to your machine just as easily
The Automatic Backup feature allows you to keep files and folders on your local machine backed up automatically. With a Backup Vault, your automatic backups are stored in a separate, secure area of your Online Disk, distinct from the Network Drive and offers efficiency and performance features such as compression and de-duplication.
With Sync, you can keep a local folder synchronized with a folder on your network drive, allowing you to work out of your local directories and have everything instantly stored in the cloud. If you go offline, you can keep working and have your changes sync back up when you come online. You can sync the same folder on multiple PCs, allowing you to seamlessly share files with all your PCs through the cloud.
The service I would recommend is JungleDisk. With it we should be able to keep costs to a modest level, for a simple, effective backup solution.
4th May 2010