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Why I switched from Mozy to Crashplan for backup

by on May.22, 2010, under Software

crashplan-vs-mozyOn the twitters I really enjoy talking tech. I often tweet with others about online backup software and my experience with Crashplan. I’m writing this blog post to link to in tweets like that in the future.

I want to preface this by saying that Mozy is a great organization, has a great team, stellar tech support and was there for me when I needed them. However, after almost 2 years of using Mozy I switched to Crashplan. Note that I stopped using Mozy at the end of 2009, so Mozy may have fixed or improved upon the issues I had – they may have also been completely unique to me. Now, personally I think the merits of Crashplan make Crashplan a choice over Mozy alone, but I want to share my experience as to why I switched to give context and transparency to why I recommend Crashplan. Also note – this is no way supposed to be a solid, comprehensive review of either product. I just want to relate my experience:

I started using Mozy in March 2008, for my Mac at home. This proceeded months of wanting Carbonite to come out for the Mac and finally something new showed up on the radar, Mozy. Finally! Easy online backup, I was sold. It rocked, it worked, it backed up automatically over night. BUT, it slowed down my Mac – an iMac 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2GB ram. Perhaps my iMac was just never fast enough for it, but it really hogged ram and CPU. I figured this was because it was a beta (at the time). I was a fan enough though that I had Mozy Pro installed on our Windows servers at work to have them backed up online (I don’t believe Carbonite had a ‘pro’ version available then). Though performance wasn’t an ideal, like at home, it was all scheduled to run at night – so realistically performance wasn’t a huge deal.

Mozy released updates over time that sped it up, but it seemed to never go fast enough or be a system hog. Then at work the servers stopped backing up reliably. We had to worry about them every day as a result- “Was the back up running?” It was not fun at all. We went through several tech support calls, remote desktop sessions and trouble tickets to keep it working. It would work for a few weeks, then break. Meanwhile at home Mozy was starting to really crawl and slow things down. Then the home backup often just didn’t happen for whatever reason. Tech support was helpful and gave me things to try and sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I was fully invested in Mozy at this point [I had backed up lots and lots of data with them!], so I worked hard to make it happen every day, reinstalled several times and eventually just gave up on trying to make it work. I made myself a note to find an alternative because at home and at work we just couldn’t hang with it any longer. We limped along with Mozy for a few weeks until finally the todo list item of finding an alternative got priority.

In finding an alternative I looked at several options including Carbonite (finally available for Mac) and Crashplan. I wanted Carbonite to be the one (as it’s what I originally wanted) but unbelievably, Carbonite does not support backing up data from external drives! I looked at Backblaze and one other and their performance wasn’t much better than Mozy’s (and I was beginning to think that it was just my Mac). BUT then I took a look at Crashplan and it blew me away. Like the competition it had tons of features, some that the others don’t even dream of (like local backup and network backup to a local drive). But UNLIKE the competition it was clear that the programmers behind this product had built it in an incredibly efficient manner. Crashplan ran like a dream. It was incredibly smooth, didn’t slow down my computer, even when backups were running. It enabled me to backup in the middle of the day without issue – and when we installed Crashplan Pro at work we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the excellent experience I had at home translated.

So – why Crashplan? It doesn’t hog system resources, the online (web) and offline (app) interfaces are smart and easy to use, the feature set of Crashplan is rich and powerful, it backs up external drives and most importantly it works, and it works well. Oh and by the way, did I mention that it’s one of the cheapest solutions out there? I’ve been using it for several months now without issue on both Mac and PC. For me Crashplan is the clear winner and I can’t recommend it enough – and after a little Googling it appears I’m not alone here.

Both Mozy and Crashplan (as well as the others) offer free trials, I encourage you to try them all. If you are already using online backup or are looking for a solution I’d love to hear what you use, what you’ve tried and why you like it, please share!

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