Mozy vs. Backblaze - The fight of the online backup

07 Jul 2009

By now everyone knows that backing up is a very important thing to do. Everyone has had your gut sink to your toes after doing something on your computer and realizing you have no way to undo it. Some times its not your fault the OS just ate your file, or the hard drive just died. No matter what you have on your computer most likely you do not want to take the weeks that it would take to recreate everything on you hard drives. And that is why backup has been a hot topic for the last many years. The first thing to come along was the external hard drive backup, which at first was very flaky, but now with things like Time Machine it as become a turn on and forget about it system.

The thing that local external hard drive backups does not solve is the times when you loose both your computer and external hard drives. Fire in your house, robbed, flood, and many other things that can happen to your prized electronics. So what do you do? You backup off-site, somewhere outside of the location where your computer lives most of its life. To help solve this problem for personal use many different services have popped up to give you an online backup. The two I have tried ate Mozy and Backblaze.

I started out with Mozy, it was great I downloaded the app to my MacBook Pro, configured it to make sure it was backing up everything I wanted and set it on its way to do the first backup. 3 weeks later it was done, which isn’t to bad for uploading 58 gigs. I used it for a few weeks and decided it was good enough to install on my wife’s Vista laptop. Hers finished the first backup and I was feeling good. It started to do regular backups. Then my I keep having to kill the Mozy process on my MacBook Pro because it was stuck processing for hours on end not backing up anything. I would have to manually track down if there was an update to install that might fix the problem. This became a weekly task. Then the same thing started to happen to my wifes laptop, I would check online to see that her laptop had not been backed up in two weeks! WAIT I though this was suppose to be a install and forget about type of thing?! That is when I decided it was time to try something different.

I installed Backblaze which has just released its final version for the Mac. Once installed I immediately enjoyed the improvement of the GUI over Mozy’s, it was much easier to understand yet with the same power. I kicked off the first backup, what I noticed this time was that it seemed to let me use my bandwidth more then when Mozy was running a backup. I could actually upload some pictures to Flickr without having to wait for hours. When the first backup finished I told it start backing up my external hard drive which holds all my Raw picture files from my camera. This was every easy and not something I ever got working correctly with Mozy. I did the same to my wife’s computer and have not had to do anything to either of the computers since. Every once and a while I will check online to make sure that things are getting backed up and every time they are.

Mozy takes the schedule backup approach, you tell Mozy when you want it to run and it backs up everything that has changed at that scheduled time. This works but it means that alot of things can get backedup and take a long time to get uploaded. Backblaze is a constant backup, once it gets a good list of things that need to be backed up it fires off. This means that its doing small backups all the time. My fear with this was that I would be always feeling my internet speeds drop during that day while it backed up. I never notice it, ever. Backblaze has truly been the install and forget about it online backup solution.