A Backup! A Backup! My kingdom for a backup! Service, that is.

With my discovery yesterday that my Carbonite backup did actually include any video, I rushed to include all my video in the backup. Carbonite the calculated I had an additional 240GB of data to backup! This was in addition to the 94GB that I have already backed up to Carbonite over the past eighteen months. I have a lot of data. Well, okay, maybe not that much. I’m sure there are people out there with terabytes of data. Bully for you. For me, I have just over 300GB of data.

Anyway, let me not dwell on size 😉

Faced with 240GB of data to backup, I quickly realised that Carbonite might not be the solution for me. Why, you ask? It’s because the backup speed I get with Carbonite is low. Really low. In an eight hour period, it will backup about 1GB of data. As a Plusnet customer, I have a data cap so I like to upload during the hours of midnight and eight A.M. This way, any data transferred doesn’t count against my cap. It’s considered off-peak hours. To this end, I have Carbonite scheduled to run between those hours and I just leave my PC running overnight.

Given the volume of data and the upload speed, you can see where I’m heading with this post. At the current speed, it would take roughly 9 months to upload my current data. Assuming I never downloaded another song or movie. Not good. I did some research on the internet and found a lot of people confirming the poor upload speed. Carbonite do throttle the upload speed based on the amount of data you have already uploaded, but I was seeing people getting as little 35KBps. People were talking about their backup times in years. This seemed to confirm my poor upload experience.

Some quick “Binging” (I know it’s not a real verb yet) provided me with some alternatives, Mozy being the most frequently mentioned one. The only bad thing I could find was that Mozy was useless in an OS Reinstallation situation. I spend some hours this morning checking out some of alternatives to Carbonite.

Provider Storage Upload Speed Cost Comments
Mozy Home Unlimited (2GB free) 8.4 mbps £4.99 a month Awesome upload speeds. Nice UI. Doesn’t support reinstallation or migration.
BackBlaze Unlimited 100 kbps $5 a month The UI to choose what to backup is rubbish as it assumes you want to backup everything!
CrashPlan Unlimited 600kbps £4.99 a month Beautiful UI and supports migrations. Slow upload from UK, but I’ve read people getting excellent speeds in the US.

All of the four solutions (including Carbonite) have their pros and cons. I think the biggest issue is that I’m in the UK. London to be precise and as a result, I’m trying to backup files to US data centres. Mozy has a UK data centre and that is reflected in the upload speed. In the time it took me to shower this morning, I had backed up 2GB of data. Mozy offer 2GB of storage absolutely free, whereas the others offer a time based trial.

Given I have about 300GB of data to upload, Mozy is the obvious choice. I reckon I can do about 25-30GB a night, so should be backed up in about two weeks as opposed to 9 months with Carbonite. If I every have to restore my machine, Mozy requires some tom-foolery to get the backup working again, but with the speeds they provide, this shouldn’t be a major inconvenience.

I’m going to sign up to Mozy on a monthly basis and see what the situation is again in a months time. I’m interested to hear from anyone with experience doing online backups here in the UK. Please leave me a comment describing your backup solution!

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