It’s no secret that cloud computing is rapidly changing the way we work and play. In fact, this technology is moving so fast that it has outpaced the ability of our existing workforce to support it. This has resulted in an alarming shortage of employees to develop, implement and maintain these new cloud related products and services.
The following is a guest post from Bob Burke about uses of cloud computing in higher ed. It’s more an overview, and many of you web developers may find you already know this, but for those that are new to web and IT in higher ed, there’s some good primer information.
Four years ago, I bought an external hard drive to backup my work stuff, freelance projects, music, pictures of my kids and much more. It was great – I felt safe knowing those files were safely off my iMac if it shuffled off the mortal coil.
Then, the unthinkable happened. While my iMac was fine – the external drive died and I lost everything. It sucked.
No more, I promised. It’s online backup for me. So I began my research.
The first company I used was Mozy, who for $5 a month per computer promised unlimited backup. They had a Mac client, and after an initial upload of about two weeks (seriously, I just let it run at night,) I was backed up. Any files I added would automatically get backed up.
Unfortunately, the software was buggy on the Mac when I was a customer, and it seemed they were throttling my uploads. I began my search for a new backup company.
After some research, I settled on BackBlaze (not an affiliate link). I’ve never looked back.
For $5 a month (£4 for my UK friends), you get unlimited backup of 1 computer – be it Mac or PC.
After about a week and a half for my initial backup, I’ve been good ever since. I don’t back up everything – I don’t need all the log files, plists and more that my Mac generates. I could, if I wanted to, just backup my mp3 files. I can also put in my own encryption key so that the data I upload to Backblaze is viewable only by me. That’s nice if you’re worried about security.
In fact, I’ve also installed it on my work Mac so it too is backed up. They’ve got a very nice native Mac app that is controlled from the Control Panel. That’s nice. If you’re a corporate user, they also offer business plans at $50 per computer per year. More here.
Restores are super simple as well – you can restore files at a secure website and download them as needed. If you need a larger amount of data, they’ll burn you a DVD or send you an external hard drive.
I dig BackBlaze because they’re geeky. Sure, they’re easy enough that my Mom can restore files on her Macbook, but I like that they share about their technology and how they accomplish things. They’ve even open-sourced their storage pod enclosure designs, which is pretty neat.
Basically, I’m a big fan, and I bring this up today because I’ve been seeing a lot of blog posts about Mozy and the fact that they’re the first of the all you can eat cloud backup providers (Carbonite, CrashPlan, etc.) to change their pricing structure – making users pay by how much they backup. Whenever your current plan updates (monthly, yearly, 2 years), you’ll be switched to the new pricing plan.
Under the new plan, you can backup 50GB on 1 computer for $6 a month. For $10 a month, you can backup up three computers up to 125GB. You can add $2 per month for an additional 20GB.
I was surprised when I checked Backblaze this morning and saw that I’m backing up 149GB. In the Mozy model, I’d be paying $16 a month, or about $120 more a year.
I get that there are some power users backing up a ton, but there also people like my parents paying $5 each to BackBlaze and backing up very little (a few GB of music and photos.) I would think the average home user doesn’t use 150GB like I do and it would even out.
Would I pay more for BackBlaze? Yes, but only if the tiers were clearly defined. For example – users backing up less than 5Gb would pay one price, and over 5GB would pay a certain amount. I’m sure Backblaze has the data showing a breakdown among users and what percentage of users are “power” users backing up over a certain amount.