Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Disaster recovery nightmare with mozy.com

Shit happens and usually when you don't expect it, in my case I lost some personal data on my mac (iTunes and iPhoto library). I had signed up with Mozy for automatically backing up my data and easily restoring it, so I thought it just needs a few mouse clicks and everything is fine again. Unfortunately that was not the case. The pictures above show how both restore methods they offer (online restore and download-file-and-restore) failed (even after multiple retries).

Mozy support staff seems to responsive and friendly, but that's all. The copy-pasted text below is from an email they sent me 21 hours ago:
I will continue to do more research on this, and tomorrow our mac specialist will be in the building and from there we can work on a more permanent solution.

Lessons learned:

  • Don't trust your data to a fast growing startup company. In my case it was Mozy. But I believe this can happen with any other of these over-hyped cheap-service companies.
  • Don't test the backup service by just restoring a simple file. Take the time to do a test restore of your real valuable data at its full size.
  • Choose at least two totally independent backup solutions.


Anonymous said...

"Don't trust your data to a fast growing startup company."
I don't think this is a fair point. Your second point is more meaningful, in my opinion. An untested backup is worthless.

Actually, an untested backup is worse than worthless, because people make the assumption that because the backup file is simply there, that it's a valid backup. Unless you test it, you don't know that. What you really want for data safety is a known-good backup, meaning you've performed both a restore and tested the restored data.

Bad stuff can happen anywhere - small startup, Big Blue, and everything in between. Size and growth rate have little to nothing to do with the value of either the service or the backups themselves.

So, in summary, just because a backup process has been performed as appears to have completed successfully, that is no proof that your backup is valid or good.

Alan said...

Test restores are definitely important. However, honestly a fast-growing startup is an environment that changes much more frequently than an established company. So it's more likely that even after test restoring once, it's possible that the rate of change will break something before you actually need it.

Anonymous said...

The key is to test each kind of restore at least annually.