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I'm considering using online backup for my business. Is anybody publishing rigorous test results for services like Jungle Disk, Mozy, Carbonite, etc.?

I'm looking for measures of whether the services actually work. Something like, "We backed up 25 machines to each of 5 vendors, formatted our disks, and tried bare-metal restores from each vendor; here's what happened..."

Bonus points for details on the company's financial stability, data security practices, etc.

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If you have low bandwidth and lots of data, forget it! –  Matt Apr 25 '12 at 22:21
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4 Answers

These sorts of services are rate-limited based on your upload bandwidth, which is why a lot of them include serious de-duplication methodologies to reduce how much data has to be beamed back to the mother-cloud. Whether or not they can do block-level or file-level de-dup varies based on the backup vendor, and may or may not include agents you have to install on your hosts. App-specific backups (SharePoint, Exchange, other databases) may not allow de-dup at all. In many cases, the initial copy-everything-to-the-cloud backup is by far the biggest, some vendors actually ship you a NAS-device in the mail for this step, but everything after that is effectively an incremental based on the previous backup.

The reason there aren't many concrete, "This is how it is, slim," style reviews is because there are so many variables affecting performance of these systems that it is hard to control for them. What are the variables?

  • Network speed between your data and the cloud.
  • How much data you need coverage for.
  • Your data-change rate between backup periods.
  • What kinds of data you need backed up.
  • The compressibility of your data.
  • The de-duplication technology used by the online backup vendor.
  • Agent support for your apps.

Some of these are prime fodder for reviews (agents, de-dup methods, cloud network speeds) but the rest is highly dependent on your exact environment. Agent support is a biggie, since data environments are complex. You may end up with a combination of online backup and local backup as a result.

You just have to do your own fit-analysis.

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If you want backup services for a business, you'll be needing something a little better provisioned than the 'home' user online backup providers. It'll cost you more, but iot'll be worth it if you need to use it. Something like r1soft's continuous backup for example.

Incidentally, I use Mozy, and I have had occasion to use it twice now - once after a HDD crash, another when I upgraded to Win7. It worked flawlessly both times.

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Many of the online backup providers are built on top of cloud storage providers. If you can identify which provider they use then the Cloud Speed Test from CloudHarmony.com would help you get a feel for how fast things might work. Note that some cloud storage providers have the ability to upload multiple chunks of a file in parallel to increase the upload speed, so testing a single connection speed may not give you the full picture.

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If you're looking for a provider with longevity/stability and a real knowledge of security and how to deal with enterprise data then there's always the grand daddy of all backup storage vendors. Iron Mountain. They have been around since 1951 and are publicly traded so you can look at their financial status in there SEC reports if you wish. They have a lot of information on the company, their history, their security measures, data centers, etc on their website.

However no cloud backup service is going to do bare metal restores. You'll need to have a local backup solution of some sort if you're looking for that ability. If for nothing else than to boot strap your system to recover the data from the cloud. However your RTO better be able to deal with the time it's going to take to get your data from the cloud.

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I've heard good things about Iron Mountain -- but mostly from Iron Mountain. Has any independent test lab published data about them? –  Jesse May 14 '10 at 20:33
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