Backups

After working in the storage industry for four years you develop a certain mistrust for hard disk drives and other forms of storage. I’ve been struggling for years to create a backup strategy that ensured I would not loose data and wasn’t inconvenient for me. Initially, I was using CD’s and DVD’s but this method is slow and hasn’t been able to keep pace with the constant increases in drive capacity.

This is why, at the beginning of 2008 I began using the online backup service Mozy.com. The reason mozy was attractive, was because it offered the ability for me to have offsite backups that were encrypted using a key I picked for a reasonable price. Other services in the past didn’t provide encryption and I am in no way about to trust that a company isn’t doing something unexpected with my sensitive data.

So far, this service has worked great and they have a nice native Mac OS client which is an added bonus. However, a few days ago I discovered that the mozy client wasn’t backing up my “hidden” files which includes such important items as my GnuPG encryption keys, and various other configuration files in my home directory. I guess this stems from mozy’s PC heritage? In either case, I discovered an option in the client to show “hidden files”, enabled this and selected the files I wanted to add to my backups.

Unfortunately, the mozy client didn’t like this and after I told it to perform a backup announced that it was unconfigured. Fantastic, all I need is to have my backup client decide it doesn’t remember what it was supposed to backup. Looking at logs I realized there was a problem with the SQLite files mozy uses to keep track of various settings, and sent the log files along with a description of my problem to mozy support.

Now, I know that I can’t expect a whole lot for the measly $49/year I paid for mozy’s services, but you would think the support staff would at least read my email, right? No. I got a response from support that was simply acknowledging that my files were backed up. They didn’t address any of the problems I’m having with the mozy client and hidden files. So, I sent a second email. Guess what? No response… Ugh. Mozy if you are listening, will you please respond?

In the mean time I’ve been looking at SpiderOak which claims to offer “zero-knowledge” encryption which means that not only are your files encrypted, but they don’t even know the names of the files you backup. The only problem? Their Mac OS client is a python/GT app that seems to work, but isn’t designed for the mac. Hopefully a cocoa client is coming soon?

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2 Responses to “Backups”

  1. Matt says:

    I have 2 letters for you that will fix all that ails you:

    PC

    Give up the Mac! Go mainstream! Economies of scale! One big happy family! Come back to the collective!

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