Why You Should Avoid Mozy Backups

Note: Update from 9/20/07 with resolution to this issue can now be found at the end of this post.

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Ugh. I rarely use my blog to rant, but here it goes.

<rant>
I started using Mozy to backup my MacBook a couple of months ago. In keeping with my sys admin background, I dutifully made my first backup and then did a test restore of a few files – worked beautifully. Simple, online, and free backups for my Mac. I have been doing backups every couple of nights since then. About once a week, I even checked to make sure that the data was being backed up.

Last Thursday, my Mac crashed and refused to reboot. Chris (Jive IT guy extraordinaire) attempted to save the data, but eventually the hard drive had to be reformatted. Total data loss. Oh well, it is a pain to reinstall everything, but I take regular backups, so no problem.

Sigh.

On Monday, I kicked off a full restore on the Mozy web site. This is what I ended up with:

You have 1 restore currently building. In the restore requested about 2 hours ago, 0 out of 11025 files are finished building. You will receive an email when the restore is complete.

At this point, I contact Mozy support to get an idea of how long these typically take. This was prior to 1:00 pm Pacific Time. I received an auto response stating that they would get back to me sometime the following day. Hmmm, maybe a less ambitious approach would be warranted? Yesterday around this time, I decided to try for the 11 files that I wanted right away. Still not working.

I got this email at 9am this morning:

That’s weird your restore is taking so long. Obviously something is wrong and it isn’t restoring correctly. I would try again.

You also have the option to restore from your virtual drive. If you click on your Mozy icon on the menu bar (the four square icon) and choose restore files you’ll be able to view and restore your files from there. This is typically the best option for a smaller amount of files like you are trying to download.

Let us know how it goes.

Sigh, yeah I already tried all of this (and they should have been able to tell that I already tried again), so no help here.

As I was writing this blog entry, I got an email requesting a copy of mozy.log. Interesting, I was performing a web restore, so there won’t be anything in the logs.

My current Mozy status:

You have 1 restore currently building.

In the restore requested 1 day ago, 0 out of 11 files are finished building. You will receive an email when the restore is complete. Click here to view all your restores.

A quick Google of “mozy restore” will show that this is not an isolated issue.

You may be asking yourself, “what kind of moron uses beta backup software?” ahem. OK, I am a bit lucky. The vast majority of my data is stored in other online services (Gmail, Jive’s Zimbra server, Clearspace collaboration platform), so hard drive backups are less critical for me than for most people. However, I still do not like losing data, and other people who rely more heavily on hard drive files could get seriously burned using Mozy.

My advice to you? Run away from Mozy as fast as you can!
</rant>

UPDATE 9/20/07: Woo hoo! I have my data back. Mozy’s COO contacted me yesterday in response to this blog post. After a short email exchange, my backup of 11 files completed fairly quickly. I submitted a restore of the rest of my data ~800MB, which completed and was ready to download in an afternoon. The download went well, and I have verified that the files look good. Despite the rocky start, they were able to get my data to me. I have learned my lesson about using beta software for backups, and I will most likely still switch to a more reliable service (E3 from Amazon most likely); however, I really appreciate the responsiveness that Mozy displayed.

0 thoughts on “Why You Should Avoid Mozy Backups”

  1. Sorry for your pain, but thanks for sharing about Mozy. I had been considering them. No more.

    One thing I’ve been using for backups is Amazon S3 and JungleDisk. With S3, you pay for how much you store and transfer (pennies per gig). JungleDisk is a free crossplatform tool to mount your S3 space as a disk, and it has built in automatic scheduled backups to mirror stuff of your choosing to S3. I’m hosting a few gigs “in the cloud” with S3, and it literally costs a couple bucks per month. Not free, like Mozy, but I guess one could say “you get what you pay for”… πŸ™‚

  2. Well while I never had heard of Mozy before, I was looking for a good backup solution for our server at home and … yeah. You’ve definitely directed me away from that one. ;D I’m pretty interested in the S3 solution as well. Don’t mind paying it they’ve got good service. I haven’t heard of anyone with bad experiences yet. Of course is that because it’s “too new” or what? Any idea how old S3 is?

  3. Daniel,

    Looks like it’s been around for a little over a year. If anyone knows how to store and manage data, it is Amazon. I’ve heard good things about it, and we’re looking at it to see if we can use them for some high bandwidth / bursty stuff (like Spark downloads on the day of a new release, for example) πŸ™‚

  4. oh that really sucks. I have thought about using Mozy, but never got around to it. Like you, I don’t much rely on my hard drive, so if I were to have a crash it would be a serious inconvenience but not a disaster.

    Hope you get it sorted out.

  5. That’s really weird. I’ve been using Mozy on my home computer for over a year. Several restores later…no problems. Are you using the home version or the Pro version (just curious)?

  6. Keen,

    I am using the home version. Like I said, I tested the restore, and it worked fine several months ago, but it isn’t working now. I think they have grown more quickly than what their infrastructure can support, or they have crappy, buggy restore code that works only intermittently. I’m going to get set up on S3 this weekend, and I would encourage you to find another solution. You may find yourself in my situation the next time you try to restore something.

  7. No way. I’ve been super pleased and don’t feel like wasting the time to find something else when this has worked great for me. With it running on two computers total and no problems backing up or restoring (not even recently) I’ll stick with what works.

  8. I looked at both mozy, and S3 over the weekend. S3 is in beta, I didn’t see anywhere that indicated Mozy was beta.

  9. It’s funny that Mozy’s quick response didn’t happen until after they noticed that you blasted their reputation to bits. It’s nice of them to finally get your data back to you, but what this says to me is that I’m only important to them if I have some form of status in the community and the ability to quickly spread word of their shortcomings.

    Before today, I had never heard of Mozy, but I’ll be sure to avoid them like the plague. I guess it’s better to have no reputation than a bad reputation.

  10. Looks like Mozy is still having issues with their restore function. I don’t doubt that I’ll ever be able to get my files, but it takes way too long. Right now I am trying to restore one file that is about 200 kb and it’s been over 20 minutes and I’m still waiting for the restore to “build”, I find it unacceptable.

  11. Seems these concerns about Mozy are more than justified. Most people are quite serious about data backup and as such, I recommend you stay away from Mozy. I have spent over a week simply trying to get Mozy properly setup–without success. I had read positive reviews of their service but they seem to have focused their efforts on marketing and have left customer support in shambles. I sent 4 emails to their support address (their recommended method) without receiving so much as an acknowledgment that they had received my request. So I tried their live chat support. This seemed more promising as the agent seemed to have an interest in helping, but after sending them my log file I didn’t hear anything from them for another 4 days. And after sending them more unanswered emails, I went back to live support today for one last effort at getting this service working. Again they were stumped by the error I was receiving (an ‘Unexpected Error’ at the setup stage of the software install.) While chatting with their support I was able to get CrashPlan installed and up and running. So I asked the Mozy agent to cancel my account and refund my money. To their credit, they did this within seconds–seems they have had some practice with giving refunds.

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