IBackup - online backup and online storage

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January 14, 2007

Computer Power User

Way Offsite Backup - A Look At Six Internet Backup Services

IBackup is the leader in IBS (Internet Backup Service) features

There are many reasons why a user may not take the time to back up his personal data files: He may forget to run his backup software or not want to spend a lot of money up front on expensive hardware that might only fail years down the road or get lost. And of course, there’s the issue of “backup rot,” where backed up files are far too hopelessly out of date to be of any real use once they’re restored.

In the face of these problems, the idea of using an Internet-based service to back up your data starts to make sense. Certainly, copying megabytes (or gigabytes) of data to the Internet can take hours, even over broadband, but once the initial copy is made, daily or weekly updates only take a few minutes and usually run in the background or at night. Backup software automatically keeps track of the new files you create, and someone else takes care of maintaining the hardware and making sure all is well with your data.

I tested six IBSes with a set of 5,610 core files (totaling 143.9MB), some of which are highly compressible office files, while others are noncompressible JPEG, ZIP, and multimedia files, representing what a “typical” user may want to back up today. (WinZip 10 compresses them to 119.8MB.) My test computers ranged from a 2.4 to 3GHz Pentium 4, connected via a 6Mb/768Kb DSL connection.

IBackup is the leader in features of this IBS (roundup, and it also takes first place in my speed tests and the IBS software beauty pageant. Consuming 32MB of RAM and 11% of available CPU cycles, IBackup ripped through my first backup of the test file set in 25 minutes. The backup software interface is pleasing to look at and use, with dialog boxes positioned conveniently and well-written on-screen prompts.

IBackup makes it easy to restore files from the archives, though the base plans don’t include file versioning, but there are several other options. You can use an FTP to transfer your files, use IBackup’s IDrive software to map your account to a drive on your PC (to drag-and-drop, edit, open, and save files directly from applications), or you can connect to the storage account as a WebFolder. Of course, there’s a Web-based GUI, as well (arguably the most attractive and intuitive of this roundup), which makes changing advanced settings a snap. IBackup sets schedules and uploads your recently added or changed files every night.

Plans range from 5GB for $9.95 a month all the way up to 200GB for $400 a month (larger plans can accommodate multiple computers and users). For gargantuan backup needs, IBackup will mail you an external hard drive or NAS server to copy your files onto and mail back and then IBackup syncs your files from there.