Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Online Backup Services - What's Next?

Earlier this month, Jeremiah and I were having debate about prospects of online data storage. At that time, I invited people who may be involved in online data storage services to contact me. I am continuing to receive responses from various industry professionals on this topic.

One of the person responded was Damien Stevens, CEO of Servosity, an On Demand Backup company. Using emails and phone call, we are having a great conversation around online backup services, where it is today and where it needs to be. In my usual direct manner, I started with a very specific question in an email.
AG: How is your approach unique compare to other online backup companies?

DS: Right now we're winning customers over the competition because we've made it easier to understand, we don't charge for backup agents or extra computers, and we are not overpriced like some of the higher end competition (redacted name of competitors).
In last four years, I have heard the same pitch combining ease of use and cost too many times from online backup providers and, I have seen dozens of them come and go in the same time frame. So I wasn't very excited.

Then, he piqued my interest wanting to discuss the technologies that may enhance the value of online backup services. The demand for these technologies is not something that can be delivered on overnight. Customers are not asking the benefits of these technologies right away either. But if customers were to ask for them in 12 - 24 months, it needs to go on the service/product development roadmap soon.

Since then, our conversation has been very lively and wide-ranging. The discussions revolved around potential customer requirements of versioning, lowering network bandwidth utilization, making restores easier, and better backup/restore job management. We also discussed wide variety of technologies like CDP, data de-duplication, snapshots, replication, archiving, monitoring and management.

In the end, I decided to leverage the power of blog by writing this post and putting forward questions to my readers.

What is your opinion and experience with online backup services?

As a customer and user, what would you like to see in an online backup solution in next 12 - 24 months?

As a service provider, storage vendor, or someone familiar with various storage technologies, what technology would you recommend to be included within next 12 - 24 months?

BTW, if you have any experiences with Servosity On Deman Backup service, I would like to hear about them.


  1. Great post Anil!!

    Online backup services need to be seamless. I have not used servosity, but have previously evaluated online backup services. Most of them require thick clients that are installed onto the operating system that are both resource intensive and cumbersome to use.

    If Servosity does not have this type of footprint, they may be in a much better position. Becoming a seamless, light application that "quietly runs in the background" is required here.

    Perhaps you will post deeper analysis of the options?

  2. I'm glad you're furthering this conversation.

    Going back to our discussion: While my full predictions are not fully played out, Did you see the news that Google will pay those who upload video to YouTube or Google Video money?

    I think Google has figured out how to monetize the media, which of course suggests data storage.

    This is going to continue to be an interesting conversation.

  3. For online backup news, information and articles, there is an excellent website:


    This site lists more than 400 online backup companies and ranks the top 25 on a monthly basis.


  4. Josh,

    Interesting comments. Do you really think light application running quietly in the background is what needed for a service provider to stand out?

    I haven't been convinced of this specially when focusing on business segment and server backup market. Lets have further discussion on this.


  5. Jeremiah,

    I am looking forward to how payment to content creators works out for Google. Can advertising revenue overcome the cost of storage and delivery? It becomes more difficult after having to split revenue with third party.

    But if there is someone in the market who can pull this off, it has to be Google. Unlike others, Google considers infrastructure part of their core ops with focus on delivering services most cost effectively.

    I am hoping soon Google will let us have the peek in to their back-end infrastructure.


  6. You need to take a look at this online backup IBackup. IBackup is one of the pioneer online backup and restore services and rated by PC World as the `best all-round backup service’ in a review of similar services.

    With IBackup for Windows the backup and restores of files and folders have 128-bit SSL encryption enabled by default. IBackup has easy-to-use wizards for interactive backups, restores and backup/restore scheduling. For scheduling, there is automatic selection of the most common application data types amd most common user data such as Favorites, My Documents, Music, Photos & Images, Videos, etc.

    A good thing about IBackup is that the online account can be mapped as a local driveIDrive. Then just sit in front of your machine, edit and save files and folders. You can also drag and drop files to the IBackup account from the Windows explorer. It also allows users to open and save files stored in their IBackup online backup/ storage accounts directly from their associated applications like Microsoft Office.

    You can also use Web-Manager create folders, upload, webload files, rename, delete and share files or folders with others for collaborative access. The `Private Share’ feature in Web-Manager allows an IBackup user to instantly share data with another IBackup user. You can also create sharable links and email them to friends and partners with Web-Manager.

  7. Thanks for the great post Anil!

    And I appreciate the comments... we are very interested to know what you're looking for in an Online Backup Provider (and from your perspective).

    Damien Stevens
    Servosity On Demand Backup

  8. Damien,

    Thanks for reading and great conversation. Great question. Someday I will try to write a series of posts on online backup provider requirement.

    First, I wouldn't position online backup service as substitute for onsite backup solution. Basically, I will start with few key benefits of "offsite data" as start of my requirements. I will look for benefits "not" offered by onsite backup, archive, storage solutions.


  9. Anil

    Google's primary cash cow is advertisting. They make billions every year from it. giving a small percentage to data uploads is part of the margin formula that always results in positive cash flow for all parties.

    You're right, Google is probably the first to pull it off.

    Now, can they do this with other media besides video?

  10. online backup and online storage service will eventually replace local storage and local tape backup. There are a few service providers now offer great software, high reliabe and secure service with great features. For a detailed review of online backup services, please visit: