We’re a little paranoid about backups here in the O’Brien Headquarters. Each of our Macs have an external disk drive. A big one. And each Mac backs up critical files– documents, music, photos, movies– to another Mac on the home network (which, in turn, gets backed up to each external disk; not to mention a couple of Time Machine disk drives).
We’re safe, right? Except for one thing. Those half a dozen copies of each of our important files are stored here at home. If there’s a fire, everything gets destroyed. If there’s a theft, everything is gone. See the problem?
We’ve been looking around at online backup options. That means we take a Mac with all the important files and have them backed up to some online storage service somewhere. There’s at least a dozen that provide such online backups and while it’s easy to setup and use, the price tag is surprisingly not affordable.
The example we’re using now– and there will be more– is DollyDrive, an online backup and storage service with a Mac app that does the backup while you do something else. Call it what you will– cloud backup, online backup, remote sync– whatever.
Your Mac files leave your home or office and get stored somewhere else. Select which files you want backed up and DollyDrive does the rest.
Here’s the problem as the O’Brien Financial Advisors see it. The price. $3 a month gets you 50-gigabytes of storage. That’s not bad for what’s in our Documents folder, but doesn’t come close to the storage volume needed for our movies, music, and photos, which total just over a terabyte (1,000-gigabytes) and growing.
A full terabyte of storage, month-to-month, is a whopping $35 a month (mitigated by signing a multi-year contract, which we’re not ready to do. Yet. We’ve shopped around to a few other services and rates are comparable (with variations). If you have plenty of valuable files to store somewhere else besides the home or office, the monthly price tag can add up.
The other issue we see is bandwidth to the internet. That first backup is a whopper and takes forever, days actually, even on a relatively fast DSL connection (usually 11-megabits download, and less than 3-megabits upload). After the first upload, though, backups are incremental and mostly handled in the background.
DollyDrive works very well and I’m pleased with everything except the growing need for more storage that’s not at home, not in our small office, and must be online– but the monthly price tag starts to add up. This is a strange case which we haven’t solved. Yet.