Photography and Art

Monday, November 10, 2008

Network Back-up with MozyHome

If you're like me, you worry a lot about backing up your photos, but don't really do enough about it. Every year over the Christmas holidays, I make DVD's of the year's photo files, both the RAW images and the final images that I used for printing. This is a time-consuming process and a bit hit-or-miss given a) the rather dodgy lifespan of DVD media and b) the rate of obsolescence of various physical media (do you still own a diskette drive?).

I also do daily back-ups of my files onto an external drive, but that drive is right next to my computer and would perish in a house fire.

My dream would be to have a utility that backed up my files daily to a big disk drive in the cloud. That dream is pretty close to reality, with a bit of a gotcha that I'm working on overcoming.

There is a web site called where for $4.95 a month per computer you can purchase UNLIMITED online back-up for your files. I've signed up, I've downloaded their little back-up utility and it all works as promised. The utility lets you pick the files and directories that you want to back-up and lets you choose the selected frequency. It is smart to only back up the delta each time it runs. In addition, the back-up files are presented as a network drive and you can restore individual files, folders or the complete file system.

HOWEVER, the challenge is to back up your initial file system to so you can have peace of mind and get into a nice space where you are just doing incremental back-ups. My issue (and I think this is true for most ISP's) is that my home cable connection is assymetrical. My download speeds are around 7 Mbps (thousand bits per second), but my upload speed seems throttled at around 500 bits per second. Not only that, but my account is capped at a total of 60 GB (million bytes) of data transfer per month before extra charges come into play.

If you work out the math, running the back up program for two weeks straight (24 hours per day) would copy about 60 GB of data to If you're like me, you have many GB of photos stored on your hard drive. In my case, if I prune dupes and things, I can probably get away with about 500 GB of archival data, with about 20 GB of incremental storage a month.

This means I can do 40 GB of archival back-up per month plus 20 GB of incremental storage. In other words, it will take me about a year to catch up with my archival storage while working away on the new stuff.

Given the importance of backing stuff up, I'm going to do this while I look around for a better way of connecting my computer to the network to see if I can overcome the uploading bottleneck.

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