From Mozy to Carbonite to Mozy to Google Drive

Backing up files is important, and I'm particularly anal about it. The idea of losing years of accumulated pictures, documents, downloads, and other types of nostalgic garbage is simply too much to handle. In fact, I have all the important stuff backed up quite elaborately, in no less than 4 ways...
  1. Real Time Backup -  I keep all my data on a RAID 1 array of two 1TB disks. If one disk goes down, as one did a few months ago, you just pop another disk in without losing a single bit.
  2. Almost Real Time Backup - I use a cloud storage service that syncs a subset of my data to the cloud daily. That's what I'm talking about in this post.
  3. On-Demand Backup - Using robocopy, as I discuss in this old post, I back up to an external HDD hanging off my network somewhere. 
  4. Super Infrequent Off-Site Backup - Periodically I burn a stack of blu-rays and leave them at my parents house. If the house burns down, all the data's there, just a few months old.

What I want to talk about here is the 'Almost Real Time Backup'. Back in the day, Mozy was reasonably priced at $4.95/month and the data storage was unlimited. In February of 2011, Mozy dropped this plan, moving to a 50GB plan for $5.95/month and a 125GB plan for $9.95/month. Additional storage can be purchased on top of the 125GB plan, and for a few months I was paying $23.9/month to store a few hundred GB (95% pictures I've taken). Yikes, it was time for an alternate service, and fast.

I switched over to Carbonite, where I could store all my stuff for around $60/year. However, Carbonite is super irritating. For starters, it wants to overlay colored dots on the icons of all of your files, since it integrates itself right into Windows. The dot changes color according to the status of the file (backed up, not backed up, waiting to back up), and although I'm sure you can turn it off, I just never looked into it. Instead I got upset. Much more irritating was the way it choses what to back up. By default, it ignores all video types. Well that won't do; nearly every photo album I have includes several videos. And it didn't stop there. Various other file types were ignored, and you had to manually add them to the list of file types it would back up, and there was no centralized place to go look at what you've authorized. It was a mess. Even though I prepaid for a year, I stopped using the service after a couple months and repressed all the memories. 

After Carbonite, I crawled back to Mozy; this time with a more judicious selection of files to back up. I managed to limit my backup to under 125GB, and all has been well with the $9.99 plan. I can't say that I have any problem with the service. The software is unobtrusive and does what I ask it to without any finagling or confusing steps. It's good.

But $10/month is $120/year - is this reasonable? Certainly I'll pay to have a professional off-site backup, and it's definitely worth $120/year for that peace of mind. But maybe there's a lower cost or better solution out there. I looked at Dropbox, which I use primarily for PDF syncing and Apple TV screensaver pictures, and the newly released Google Drive.

Dropbox is fantastic, however their paid options are costly. 100GB is $19.99/month - forget about it.

Google Drive is only $4.99/month for 100GB, including a bump up to 25GB for Gmail. Switching over to Google Drive, after trimming down the 117GB stored in Mozy to under 100GB, would condense the accounts I have and save a whopping $5.00/month. 50% cost savings, and one less account to worry about. And I trust Google, whether I should or not.

This evening I purchased this subscription and will be moving over from Mozy. You can get 5GB for free, but for just a small amount of storage, Dropbox is worth checking out too.