James Helsby

Tech Rant: Bye Bye Mozy.

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Backups. We all know what they are, and yet only a few of us really use them. I was among those who really didn’t care. This is ironic, since my entire business career revolves around the importance of backups. And while it has been important for me to identify the necessity of backups for others; for myself I haven’t really been too concerned. Nothing worth saving. Well, until I had a kid a few years ago.

Before reproduction, I was building JPG images from my digital camera at a rate of around 2gigabytes per year. Really that’s nothing. But once I had a little bundle of joy, whose evolution I was feverishly documenting, that 2GB suddenly jumped to 40. Now, granted, around 50% of that increase is purely in the size of the files (3.2megapixel, was upgraded to 10), but that is still a 1000% increase in the quantity of pictures. Suddenly, I am looking at a history. A family history. Something that now… I want to protect. Add to that around 200GB of music (legal, I used to have a trove of CDs) and videos (I used to be a film production student) and all the websites and graphics I have generated over the years, my wife’s computer also… and well, the archive is just shy of 2 terabytes. Two terabytes of information that I want to try and safeguard.

So I started to shop around for options on my backups. While I had been running small backups to an external hard drive, just to capture my business documents, that hard drive and destination would have been more than cap’d if I were to backup all my stuff to it.  I needed to find a solution that would not only work reliably, but give me the option to have an ‘off site’ backup.

I found Mozy. A business that provides an ‘unlimited’ amount of online storage, and up to 30 days of restorable backup history. All for around $50 per year. I was pretty happy with my choice. They were backed by EMC and had been operating on their fee structure for 5 years.

Until the next business day rolls around.

You see, I signed up on Saturday. I started my uploads. I reached about 20GB of upload by the end of the day on Sunday. Come Monday, what do I find? Mozy is dropping their ‘unlimited’ plan, and moving to a 2-tier plan. They didn’t even tell their customers until Tuesday. Tier1, you get 50GB of storage for $4.99 per month. Tier2, you get 120GB of storage, for $9.99 per month. You can then add an additional 20GB for $2 per month.

For me, $50 a year suddenly ballooned into…. $410 per year. Astronomical.

For that price, I could buy 4-1Terabyte hard drives, and keep them rotated in my safe deposit box at the bank. It might be less convenient, but you know what, I sure as hell am not going to be spending that kind of cash on an online service.  $100, probably. But $400? No way. Oh sure, they offered to let me keep my account as-is for 1 year, but at the end of that year, it was pay up or delete.

I am not going to spend 3 months uploading my backups just to have them be deleted at the end of the year. I would rather cancel with 20GB wasted, and get my money back than to know it was a useless endeavor.

You see, Mozy made the wrong choice. The cost of storage is around $0.05 per gigabyte. When you factor in housing, power, and all the rest, will still come out to around $0.20 per gigabyte. And while I might not be the typical user, spending $200 per terabyte is a far cry more than it will cost me to do it myself. About 2x more. And for a great deal of people out there who are in the more-than-50, but-less-than-120 range, it will be a slap in the face also.

And that’s why I think Mozy will soon be falling to the way side. You may have never heard of them before, but for those of you who have, well, say good bye. Because I, for one, in my professional and personal opinion, will no longer be recommending them as an option.

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