Saturday, 11 April 2009

Mozy Backup - Getting Lost In the Cloud - A Bad Experience

I've been an enthusiastic supporter of using cloud based backup services, and specifically of Mozy for some time. All of my computers at home are backed up using Mozy, and briefly we used it at work as well.

The service worked pretty well backing up, though it suffered from frequent failures (timeouts, machine in sleep mode, etc) and quite pokey upload performance. But I figured, better backed up than sorry.

One of my computers has a drive which had 900GB of data on it, of which 365GB were backed up by Mozy. This monster drive failed, and nothing I did could get the data back.

I've replaced the drive (a month ago) and have been trying to get my data out of Mozy ever since.

First of all, I have no doubt that my data is in their data center somewhere, eager to be restored, and I have no doubt that someday, I'll have it all back, but the trip from here to there has been long, and is still far from over.

Here is my story (stretched over a month):

  • Drive failed. 
  • Started a restore, but struggled to find which part of the archive was up to date.
  • Picked the wrong part of the archive and started restoring (through the client), which takes forever to get ready (365GB)
  • Realized I picked the wrong part of the archive, and canceled the restore.
  • Started a restore on the correct part of the archive, though this part of the archive was still significantly out of date, so I would be losing some recently saved files. (365GB)
  • Restore kept stopping and not continuing, so I contacted support. (Download speed varied from 400 mega-bits/sec to 1.2 mega-bits/sec on my 24 mega-bit line. Same as the upload speed, even though I have ADSL).
  • Their recommendation was to cancel the client restore (which was now at about 13% done) because a web restore would be much faster. I questioned the support persons reasoning about 20 times, but eventually gave in.
  • So I canceled and requested a web restore. This turned out to require some waiting. Actually, a lot of waiting while the download files were generated. In my case, it required about 3-4 days. Thankfully, they sent me an email when it was done.
  • In the mean time, the client restore which I had canceled, inexplicably started up again, but now listed the restore size as 600GB (with 3-4 weeks to get it all back) and started from the beginning.
  • With the web restore setup completed, I found 145 .exe files to download, named 1 through 145! I started downloading the first file, and the transfer speed was just as slow as client restore. Given the massive amount of work it would require, I gave up on web restore, especially because I couldn't stop the client restores anyway.
  • Backups also were starting up during the restore, which slowed things down. So I disabled scheduled backups.
  • At the same time, my Avira Anti-virus identified some viruses in restore, so that gummed up the works, while a dialog hung open asking for my input. I couldn't sit there for the next 3 weeks, so I disabled the anti-virus.
  • Even after disabling, scheduled backups continued to run for several days, regardless of what I had requested in the interface, much like the phantom restores.
  • Eventually I had to reboot the machine because it had lost network connection, one of many reasons a Vista box seems to need frequent restores. This should not have been a problem. But...
  • After reboot, the client restore had to start from the very beginning again, not remembering where it was (even though most data had apparently been restored)
  • Am now waiting for restore to complete. It's back at about 3% complete after 3 days.

As you can imagine, I am no longer a big fan of Mozy. I think their software quite frankly sucks, and their customer service, though friendly and prompt, led me down a bad path, and hasn't been able to help me whatsoever.

Be curious if anyone else has had a similar experience. Well, at least one person did. Here's some other ideas about how to do this.


Mozy Promotional Code said...

Hey Lukas,

Did support offer to ship you a DVD set of your data? Did you know that was an option? I know they offer this service, although I'm not aware of the cost. Maybe that's something to look into.

John Tucker said...

Sounds like quite the ordeal. That is a large amount of data to restore by download. Like the comment above, why did you not request a DVD restore via FedEx? There is a cost, but you probably would have gotten your data in a few days.

In any case hope you get your data back.

If you have a minute it would be great if you could leave a small review of Mozy for others at my website.

Lukas said...

I know of the DVD option, and I wasn't keen on the cost. But worse, all those 145 chunks I was going to have to download, they were all about 4+GB in size. So basically they would have to ship me 145 DVDs. Imagine the fun!

And right now, I'm at 28% downloaded. Just whatever I do, I need to make sure the computer isn't rebooted.

Jonas said...

I have tried to restore about 45GB of data and it is incredible slow. Just to pick the data to restore is a problem becaus of a user interface which hangs. And when you finaly has choosen data to restore the download process takes for ever.