Sunday, 17 July 2011

Cloud Backup Options for Servers, Laptops and Workstations

I am often asked about better ways to backup workstations, laptops and servers. With the Cloud now offering unlimited storage there is some very good options to organise and manage your backup files. Pricing starts as low as US$3.95 per month.

Typically the solutions available replicate or copy your data to the Cloud which provides an off-site backup. Which technically is the best type of backup. No need to use tapes or local USB drives. This also makes it very easy if you have a new computer to simply copy all your files and folders onto that computer without taking hours of work.

Within the backup area solutions generally fall into a couple of areas:
  • replication, synchronisation and backup tools
  • backup and restore only
My advice to customers is to first consider what service you require and then second, what type of computer are you considering, e.g. is it a workstations, laptop or server. The solutions below all have their purposes and each product is a little different.
  • Nomadesk - a replication and synchronisation solution which is recommended for laptops. This supports Cloud backup, daily snapshots and replication to another location. This would allow a laptop to be in sync with your workstation in the office. So when you go on a trip and take your laptop all data on the laptop would be the same as your workstation and vice versa, as well as a backup being available in the Cloud. The Cloud offers the user the ability to also access these files from any browser or iPhone if you did not have access to your own computer. The key feature of Nomadesk for laptops is security. Nomadesk encrypts all data on the laptop in a virtual drive so it cannot be accessed or read by anyone that does not have the password to load the Nomadesk client. This is important if you lost your laptop. The addition of a feature called Theft Guard allows the user to send a remote delete command to the laptop so the next time someone tried to connect to the Internet the data will be wiped. Some of my clients have installed DropBox however I prefer the security features and pricing model of Nomadesk. Pricing is US$35 per month for unlimited users and data storage.
  • - Logmein Backup offers an interesting approach to backup. It allows computers located anywhere in the world to be backed up to a storage server or backup server anywhere. This could be a Cloud based server and storage from say Rackspace or it could be a physical sever in your office. The fact it is now easy to backup a user's PC in your office in China and send the files back to your office in Hong Kong is very useful. This works for servers, workstations and laptops. Pricing starts around US$3.95 per month per computer.

  • Mozy - Mozy is a backup and restore solution, like your traditional backup systems. However no backup tapes are required as the data is sent to the Cloud. Mozy also offers the ability to retain an additional copy locally, e.g. may be to a USB drive attached to your workstation, thus providing a Cloud (off-site) and local (on-site) backup copy. Mozy belongs to the EMC group of companies so their backing is strong. Mozy I recommend for home PC backup and office workstation backup. Mozy allows the user to define what needs to be backed up and does a good job of presenting the key options including Documents, Photos, Music, and Browser Favourites. Cost effective solution at around US$30 per user per year. Android is also supported allowing access to your backup files on-line which is technically the same as accessing your workstation or home PC.
  • Backupify - Backupify is Cloud backup to the Cloud. I strongly recommend Backupify to those companies (like myself) that have embraced the Cloud 100%. Backupify backs up your Cloud data with connectors available for Google Apps plus all your social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Read my earlier Blog posting on Backupify.
  • Syncplicity - Worth a mention. Provides a mix of features however is best suited for file sharing and data sync with the added feature it can sync documents between your hard drive and Google Docs. So all your Cloud stored documents can also have a local copy on your hard drive. This is different to backupify as their solution is backup to the Cloud and not your local drive. The product has features similar to Mozy and provides replication and sync features like Nomadesk. Syncplicity offers an easy ability to share one folder only with a team member without the need to have the complete dataset replicated to that user, something Nomadesk does not provide.