Friday, June 4, 2010

Mozy :(

I’ve long been an enthusiastic user of the online backup service Mozy. I’ve recommended Mozy to family and friends, and I’ve offered my referral code — get your free megabytes! — to interested readers. In 2008, I wrote a post that told two tales of tech support, contrasting dismal Technorati (since grown only more dismal) and smart, speedy Mozy.

But now Mozy seems to be a mess. A server problem has made it impossible for many users to back up their data — which, after all, is the whole point. I’m on the tenth day without backup. The company now says it has “a fix” and that all users should soon find Mozy working. I hope so. But these two threads from Mozy’s “community” pages suggest a company that’s largely indifferent to the concerns and frustrations of its customers. Moreover, I’ve discovered that I now have no way to e-mail Mozy to report a problem. Here’s what the website says about Mozy’s “My Cases” option: “This tab is not shown to everybody. If you can see this tab, you can click on it and see all of your open Support Tickets.” What’s left unsaid here is that only paying customers can open tickets. As a user of Mozy’s free service (that’s all I need), I’m stuck with the “community.” In other words: discuss among yourselves. Users who have opened tickets report general disappointment anyway.

Worse still: Mozy’s front page and blog make no mention of a general problem or an effort to solve it. The most recent post, from May 18, is about a Twitter contest. Sheesh.

Word up, Mozy: when one has a problem backing up, one immediately assumes that there’s something wrong with one’s computer or connection. If the problem is on your end, and you know that, let your users know and save them some trouble. If you would prefer not to announce the problem on your site, an e-mail would suffice: “Many users are currently experiencing problems,” &c.

If, reader, you’ve read this far, you can guess what the final sentence of this post is about to say: I can no longer recommend Mozy.

[June 6, 2010: As I learned last night, long-time users of Mozy’s free service can open Support Tickets. The trick is to log in here, not here, and then go the Support page. The story continues, and I hope to be able to recommend Mozy again.]

[June 9, 2010: It’s now fifteen days with no backup.]

[June 11, 2010: Happy ending.]

comments: 6

Matt Thomas said...

One word: Dropbox.

Michael Leddy said...

Matt, thanks for the suggestion. if I don’t need to sync, is Dropbox still worth it? And would I then be dealing with files from within a Dropbox folder, rather than from within Documents, Pictures, and so on?

Matt Thomas said...

The two services are indeed a bit different. Dropbox requires you use a static folder, yes, but because I use it to back up only select files (e.g., all my dissertation stuff), for me that's a feature. I use an external HD to back up my entire computer. And though I only have and use one computer, I still find myself accessing my Dropbox files from other computers more often that I originally thought. I've stopped carrying around a USB drive, for instance. I've taken the liberty of sending you an invite. Use it and we'll both get extra space. It really does work like a charm.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Matt, but I think I need something more along the lines of Mozy — everything in one place just in case. I actually like carrying around a USB drive, which I guess might already be old school. :)

Matt Thomas said...

If your “everything in one place just in case” is stored on some private company’s server, as opposed to your own external HD you can boot from, aren’t you flirting with disaster? The above post seem to suggest as much at least. For more on how Dropbox can be part of a comprehensive backup strategy, see John Gruber’s “An Ode to DiskWarrior, SuperDuper, and Dropbox.”

Michael Leddy said...

I’ve worried only about files, which I back up in several ways. Now I’m looking at Backblaze for backup — in the Bay Area, but hardened against disaster.