While the ‘cloud’ might be a new word, the idea has been around for many years. The difference is that it has managed to make it into mainstream and it has become not only more user friendly, but also more versatile.
Google has really been the first company to make full use of the cloud and has actually managed to take it a step further. Before, the idea of a cloud was simply a ‘remote backup’ – a place to store all of your files and keep them out of harm’s way. Now the cloud has become something entirely different. It has in fact become a way of life.
How the Cloud has Changed Backup
Instead of simply being a storage solution, the cloud is now the end all be all for applications, files, and in some cases, operating systems. Take the new Chromebook as an example. It is a notebook with minimal resources and a bare bones operating system that functions via the cloud. Because it does not have a hard drive, the Chrome Book simply stores files on either Google Docs or Google Drive.
In addition to being a document creation service, Google Drive provides the ability to install a number of different applications, giving cloud-based computers the ability to access a whole host of different software programs. One of the more interesting is the Cloud Convert application, which allows for the conversion of any audio file format. This is an example of software that might have cost hundreds of dollars if it were downloadable, but because it is part of the cloud, it is actually free.
The Backup lowdown
When it comes to backing up software there are two major contenders. From ground to Cloud we now introduce Mozy Pro for Windows and Spanning Backup for Google Apps.
The start, let’s just say that Mozy is a Windows application, meaning it does not require access to the cloud to run but does for cloud storage. Local backups take up space, of course, but that does not necessarily make it a bad thing. What IS a good thing is the fact that you do not have to pay for added space on the cloud. Your space is just as large as your backup machine or server. The following is a list of the items that Mozy is capable of backing up:
The biggest problem with Mozy, that success depends on the installation, management of Windows and connectivity to the web. In other words, it is all in your hands. To something will be outstanding, and others will simply begin to yearn for the cloud.
In direct contrast to Mozy, Spanning is a piece of cloud-based software. It is maintained remotely and is available to anyone (or any business) who can afford it. Spanning covers the following in terms of backup:
The disadvantage of Spanning however is that it does not back up “My Documents” or “Desktop” in Windows, leaving you to find other solutions instead. In spite of these disadvantages, many are choosing Spanning of Mozy simply because they would rather have a managed backup solution.
The managed solution does save time and money. You will not have to spend time installing it, nor will you need to waste time troubleshooting it in the event of an issue. In the end, it will be up to you and your company which you wish to use, but choose wisely and make sure it meets your needs.