Mozy > Carbonite

Update (February 23, 2008): Please ignore this glowing review. Once I actually tried restoring data using Mozy, I learned that it really, really sucks. Don’t use it. I now recommend CrashPlan, which I’ve tested extensively and which doesn’t suck.

Last week I blogged about an email I had sent to the CEO of Carbonite in which I praised the software and made a few suggestions about things that I thought would make it better. I still haven’t heard anything from Carbonite, but I did get an email from Dave Robinson suggesting that I check out Mozy, one of Carbonite’s main competitors (Dave works for Berkeley Data Systems, the makers of Mozy):

Ryan-

I just stumbled across your blog and think it’s time to switch to Mozy! Mozy will offer Vista support next week, our UI is devoid of all that colorful cartoony fluff, we already offer private key encryption and we have all the power user options I think you’re looking for. Heck, we offer unlimited storage for $4.95 per month and I bet if you email out founder (Josh Coates) you’ll probably hear from him before you hear back from Mr. Friend

I actually tried Mozy when it was first announced way back in early 2006 (shortly after the dinosaurs died out). It was much less refined back then, but I remember being intrigued by the idea. I don’t remember exactly why I stopped using it, but it was probably because they didn’t offer unlimited storage then (which they do now). I also seem to remember the client being a little quirky, but I can’t recall how.

Anyway, I had completely forgotten about Mozy until Dave’s email, but it sounded like it had come a long way, so I downloaded the latest version and have been using it on two machines for the past week.

The verdict? Mozy kicks Carbonite’s pansy ass.

Dave wasn’t lying. Mozy has a simple, intuitive UI without any cartoony fluff, it has excellent support for private key encryption so I can be absolutely certain that I’m the only one with access to my data, and it’s got just the right balance of power user options without overwhelming you with confusing choices. One feature I do miss from Carbonite are the handy colored icon overlays on my files to indicate which ones are and aren’t backed up, but that’s a minor inconvenience.

Mozy doesn’t officially support Windows Vista yet (although it will soon if Dave’s not pulling my leg), but the current client runs just fine on my Vista machine and only seems to choke on a few special directories. I did have a weird issue when I installed Mozy on my Windows XP file server; for some reason it kept saying my username and password were invalid. However, an email to customer support resulted in a quick and friendly response containing a link to a pre-release client that solved the problem.

Also, Mozy gets super huge geek bonus points for briefly displaying a random silly status message while doing some processing at the beginning of a backup. So far I’ve seen “Reticulating splines…” and “Validating proof of the Poincaré conjecture…”

In short, Mozy is everything I wanted Carbonite to be and more. I’m sold.