Recovering Data From Online Backup
Online backup services, such as Mozy and Carbonite, may seem like the perfect solution to your data backup needs. But online backup has limitations that may not be apparent until it's time to restore your data. Here are some things to consider about online backup and restore services...
Should You Backup Online?
First, there are limits on how much data you can store on an online backup server. iBackup.com, for example, currently charges $59 a year for up to 30 GB of stored backup data. Mozy charges $72 a year for 50GB. That may seem rather stingy - a full system image backup can easily run hundreds of gigabytes. But actually, it's a very practical limitation.
How long would it take to restore a 300 GB system image over a 6 Mbps cable modem Internet connection? Assuming you actually got a full 6 Mbps (which seldom happens), downloading 300 GB of data would take over 138 hours. So you probably don't want to use online backup for a full system image backup and restore, unless you're willing to wait almost a week to recover your data. And if you're connected via DSL, which typically maxes out at speeds of 1.5 to 3 Mbps, forget about it.
Furthermore, to restore data from an online backup service such as Carbonite or Mozy, you need to have already re-installed your operating system, Web browser, and the backup service's client program. It makes no sense to back up these components to an online backup service.
Application programs that come on disc or in archived packages that can be burned to disc should not be stored online. It's much faster to re-install them from your discs.
Good Candidates for Online Backup
That leaves data files. The ideal candidates for online backup are data files that change daily, such as your email files, browser bookmarks, My Documents folder, and other frequently used files and folders. Online backup services are great at making daily incremental backups with little or no effort required from the user.
Critical data such as your will, wedding photos, financial and business documents, etc., should be stored off-site in case your home or office is destroyed.
Online backup services should be used as a backup to your local backup strategy. When you think of online backup in this way, the amount of data that you commit to an online backup service shrinks dramatically.
Even 30 to 50 GB of data will take a long time to restore from an online backup service. Some of these services will, for a fee, send your backup data to you on a hard drive or optical disc via FedEx or another overnight delivery service. Whether that gets your data restored faster is hard to say, but at least you don't have to tie up your Internet connection with the restore process for a day or more.
My advice is that online backup should not be your primary backup and restore tool. Treat it more like a bank safety deposit box which is safely off-site, well protected, and just big enough to hold the things that really, really matter.
Do you have something to say about online backups? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 26 Apr 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Recovering Data From Online Backup (Posted: 26 Apr 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved