Home > Software > Mozy (the backup client): damn close, but still no cigar...

Mozy (the backup client): damn close, but still no cigar...

Mozy's got what seems to be a nicely integrated Windows client (not sure how good their Mac client is) - their service seems simple enough, and you can't go wrong with two gigs free or unlimited (I've been questioning how much it takes before it becomes "abuse") for an extremely low $4.95/month.

However, this going back to my blog post a while ago about the end all backup solution, it still is missing one key thing. While the transfer is encrypted and the file contents are encrypted (optionally), the file and directory names are not. When I asked support, the response back was "how would you know what the file is then?" - to me, it's simple. You have an encryption key, why can't the filenames be encrypted as well using the same key, and decrypted on demand? I understand this complicates things then (how do you store junky filenames/etc...) - you'd most likely need a customized filesystem or some virtual layer between the two to do the translation. However, that would basically make Mozy the king in my book for Windows and I assume Macs (read: any level of savvy end-user who wants their data backed up.)

I would still be shopping though for one to use to backup my servers. Duplicity still seems like the best, as it will compress, encrypt, and do differential/incremental backups and due to the nature of how it works, will also mask the file contents so only the user can see them. Rsync.net has recently announced funding and support to help pump some life back into the project, which is promising. It needs native Windows support (which may be tricky... it needs a POSIX compliant backend) and proper S3 integration without patches or external libraries and hacks.

Of course, I was having fun developing my own little PHP interface to S3, which if possible I could then wind up creating my own tools; however, do I really trust my own coding for my critical data and extremely large filesizes? Because it's over HTTP, it's tricky (or maybe impossible) to byte-serve the data in PHP without precaching it into memory first... ah well.

Someone needs to create an efficient C-based one that can be compiled in Windows, OS X, and Linux. Any takers? I'll pay...

Categories: Software
  1. mike
    May 28th, 2007 at 23:35 | #1

    Actually, on hindsight, if Mozy can figure out how to encrypt filenames on the client end, store it in a database that is backed up as well (and encrypted!) and work that into their client, they might have it made for Windows and Mac machines. Still have the Linux segment to deal with though (and headless server/command line clients, cough cough.)

    If I recall I was told they were working on this. But I am trying to figure out where I saw that.

  2. Nomad
    September 16th, 2007 at 22:14 | #2

    Try this. It works great for me.

    You need TrueCrypt, SyncToy, and a Mozy account. Create a TrueCrypt file bigger than what you need for backup. For instance, my critical files are about 250MB, so I created a TrueCrypt file of 400MB. Write a little script, using the command line capabilities of both SyncToy and TrueCrypt to open the encrypted storage, mount it as a drive, do your backup to it, then unmount it. Now use Mozy to backup the encrypted file. Here's the script I used.

    First, I run the SyncToy profile "Dellbert Data" - an unencrypted 'echo' backup
    Then, I mount the encrypted Backup.tc file onto the U: drive
    Then I run the SyncToy profile "Dellbert Encrypted", an 'echo' backup to the encrypted file.
    Then the encrypted file is unmounted.

    All I have to do now is use Mozy to Backup.tc. Since Mozy uses block transfer, only the changed parts of the encrypted file are transferred over.

    @echo off
    echo .Backing up and Encrypting ...
    "C:\Program Files\synctoy\SyncToy.exe" -R"Dellbert Data"
    "C:\Program Files\TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.exe" /v c:\Backup.tc /lu /b /q
    "C:\Program Files\synctoy\SyncToy.exe" -R"Dellbert Encrypted"
    "C:\Program Files\TrueCrypt\TrueCrypt.exe" /q /du

  3. mike
    September 16th, 2007 at 23:08 | #3

    Thanks for the tip. I've used BestCrypt in the past. It isn't as "open" or repurposeful as TrueCrypt. I actually made a script to sync two BestCrypt containers together by mounting and rsyncing. I wasn't a fan though; Windows refused to cleanly unmount the drives sometimes. Putting large amounts of data into single file containers scares me sometimes though... not to mention file size limitations, lack of being able to individually diff the files (it would wind up transferring the entire thing each time)

    I actually have an idea for a local filename obfuscation system with links setup based on file type and metadata (much like an iPod does) - however I don't know filesystem mechanics good enough and trying to get a PHP-driven WebDAV server was a failure. Symlinks off a UNIX-based filesystem works great, but needs proper garbage collection for dead links. That's my most promising idea yet. The hard copies of the files would be named in a generic format and then it doesn't matter if the service encrypts the filenames or not.

  4. veggie monkey
    August 9th, 2009 at 09:44 | #4

    I backed up 120GB on my account. Did so for months. Their tech support said I could do a terabyte if I wanted to. Does that answer your "abuse" question?

  5. mike
    August 9th, 2009 at 10:45 | #5

    @veggie monkey

    Actually, now I use Backblaze - it's kind of the same concept as Mozy, except it's upload and download are -way- faster.

    The biggest thing that bugs me is it backs up everything (besides a select few system areas) by default. You have to make a blacklist of what you don't want. I like Mozy in the sense of you flag what you DO want. I submitted a request for them to make it a feature for a whitelist vs. blacklist approach, but who knows. Their philosophy is "set it and forget it"

    I have successfully downloaded 60+ gigs of content back from their servers too, and it was about as fast (if I recall) as my connection would allow. Everything with Mozy included their upload to their servers seemed slow.

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