A little while ago now, EMC bought a company called Berkeley Data Systems for $76m. Fortunately Berkeley was better known as the guys who created Mozy; and I say fortunately because Berkeley Data Systems just seems to me to resonate of forgotten derivatives of System V Unix with a dash of SCO. Yuck.
Now, before anybody asks, yes this is going to be another post that is a shameless promotion of an EMC product. Normally that sort off thing makes me cringe, but I am going to justify this by saying that it is not promotion for the sake of, but because I genuinely believe in the product and the approach. Think of it as Bill Murray actually liking Suntory whiskey instead of having to run off to Japan and get paid a million bucks to promote it in a commercial.
Mozy is all about one thing: remote backup.
Remote backup done right has the capacity to fix an enormous problem for business, small and large, as well as the home user. Each of these groups has a big problem that is not easy to fix:
- Big business has a lot of data on laptops and desktops. Traditionally, installing backup clients on these systems has been costly, full of headaches, and generally causes more problems than it solves. The consequence of this is that most folks just don't protect them. It is literally more trouble than it is worth to protect them. (The alternative has been to implement a policy that says: "don't store data on your laptop--all corporate data must be kept on the file server". Which is fine, except expecting 100% compliance with this is a little unrealistic. The only exception I have encountered is an accounting firm that has made it a dismissible offence to violate the policy. Seems a little draconian to me. But they are accountants. I don't expect them to have much of a sense of humor, or get my Bill Murray allusions.)
- Small businesses have the same set of problems, but even less ability to implement centralized backup, and are even less likely to have a robust file server on which to host the data. And less likely to have a good backup process for that file server.
- Home users have a problem in that there really is no good way to do off site backup. The choices have been to remember to burn 2397 CDs once a month or only 78 DVDs monthly. And take them somewhere more or less secure. And remember to do that on an ongoing basis. Or buy a hard drive and cart it back and forth. All of the choices here are about as much fun as an appendectomy. (Mozy's take on the issues is at the bottom of this page.)
So a lot of us have a problem without a good solution.
Enter Mozy. Mozy is remote backup, as a service, over the net. You don't need to own any infrastructure or manage anything.
The Mozy model turns out to be pretty simple: offer something at a reasonable price that fixes a big problem.
The reasonable price ends up being about 30% less than than the internal cost of delivery for business users, and way less than the cost of the alternatives for home users.
For $5 a month, you can protect an unlimited amount of data as a home user. Business plans offer more options, but the principle remains the same: simple, low cost remote backup.
That means for $5 a month, I don't have to care about home backup any more.
Even better, the agent is simple, non-intrusive, and dead easy to use. And it is so unobtrusive, that even when it is backing up data over the net, I don't know it. My computer doesn't slow down, come to a halt, exhibit mysterious behavior, or generally get on my nerves. It just does the job.
And yes, it uses deduplication. Which means that it doesn't matter if you sit behind an ADSL connection or something even slower, it is still easy to protect all your data over a network connection.
Am I a fan? You bet. I signed up the instant I heard about the service. Frankly I think it is almost too good to be true. I think it will be the iTunes of personal data protection, and data protection for mobile workers and home users everywhere.
Remote backup, simple, easy, and effective.