By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 12:50 am
Online backup kingpin Mozy built its business in part on an appealing, cheap-sounding offer: You could back up as much data to the cloud as you wanted for $4.99 a month. On Monday, it announced plans to move to new pricing plans that involve both higher prices and fixed storage limits. But depending on how you use the service, the revised options could cost you a little more or a lot more–or might save you money.
Now there are two MozyHome plans: You can pay $5.99 a month for up to 50GB of backup space for one PC, or $9.99 a month for up to 125GB of space for three PCs. (In both cases, there are discounts if you sign up for a year or two years at a time.) You can add additional computers and/or extra 20GB blocks of storage for $2 a month apiece. For new customers, the pricing takes effect immediately; existing ones get keep the old prices until March 1st, and those who bought service in chunks of a year or more won’t see an increase until their current block of time runs out.
For most Mozy customers, the new pricing works out to a price hike of a buck a month, or twenty percent. For a minority of users who backed up immense amounts of data, it’ll be an increase so huge as to make the service unaffordable, which may be the idea. (Storing a terabyte of data–which some people did–will now cost almost $100 a month.) For anyone who wants to use Mozy with three PCs and can make do with a total of 125GB of space, however, the new pricing is a third cheaper than the old “unlimited” plan, since it would have required three separate $4.99 plans.
Why the change? Mozy says that cheap high-end cameras, smartphones that capture HD video, and other advances have led to average users requiring more and more space and bandwidth, and that a small minority of customers use a lot. The more seriously Mozy subscribers have taken the “unlimited” plan, the less sustainable it’s become.
Doing the math on how this compares to other options is tricky. Symantec’s Norton Online Backup charges $49.99 a year for 25GB of space for up to five computers. That’s less than half of what Mozy charges for its three-PC plan–but Mozy offers five times as much space. In other words, if you own three computers and have a lot of data, Mozy might be your best choice; if you have five computers but don’t need to store all that much, Norton might make more sense.
Then there’s Mozy’s real arch-rival, Carbonite. As of right now, it still charges $54.95 a year for unlimited backups for one computer–versus Mozy’s $65.89 for 50GB. But–as Mozy Chief Marketing Officer Russ Stockdale pointed out to me–Carbonite ratchets down the speed of uploads if you use too much storage. (After 200GB, you can upload only at an excruciating 100-Kbps.) Stockdale told me that Mozy won’t cut the speed of its users’ uploads.
As for syncing services such as Box.net, Dropbox, and SugarSync…well, it’s tough to compare. Their pricing doesn’t bear much resemblance to Mozy’s new offerings, but they’ve got more features, and none of them focus on pure backup. But in making its pricing announcement, Mozy also says that it has plans to help customers “keep files updated between their various computers, enabling them to move fluidly from one computer to another.” That sounds more Dropboxy; Mozy isn’t saying when it’ll roll out such features, though.
So do you use an online storage service? If so, which one–and just how much stuff are you uploading?