Mozy has announced the public beta of its new Stash offering. The public beta is available to existing Mozy Backup customers, as an add-on capability that takes advantage of customers' existing accounts, subscribed storage capacity, etc. In other words, it's a great example of the convergence between backup-as-a-service (BaaS) and Online-File-Storage (OLFS).
ESG recently published our market landscape report on OLFS at www/esg.com/market-landscape-reports/online-file-sharing-and-collaboration-in-the-enterprise/.
Last year, ESG shared its perspectives on BaaS at www.esg.com/market-landscape-reports/data-protection-backup-as-a-service/
BaaS and OLFS have a lot in common, so their convergence is natural, and frankly, almost inevitable.
- They work by installing an agent on the range of consumer devices that you carry. After installation and a usually user-friendly (wizard or push-button) experience, they routinely if not near-continuously transmit changed data to the cloud.
- They rely on a massive cloud-based storage architecture, whether it is self-maintained by the original vendor or leveraging a public cloud's storage platform, e.g. Amazon.
- They're sold usually on a subscription basis, almost always with tiered offerings, based on how much storage you plan to consume
So, what is different between OLFS and BaaS?
- BaaS is focused on multiple recovery points as a key design criteria, often including a definable retention period for past versions
- OLFS is focused on sharing - whether that means across your varied devices, or between you and your friends/coworkers, will vary based on the OLFS offering
Some OLFS offerings do support previous versions, though its usually within the context of restoring that Word document that you just accidently overwrote -- and not preserving your data for a year. And while whole-machine recovery may not be a primary design function of most OLFS, the reality is that if your machine is re-image-able from either it's factory DVDs, a monthly backup to a USB drive, or perhaps your corporate backup solution ... and your data is regularly uploaded to some OLFS cloud -- then whole machine recovery really can be a fairly trivial event.
BaaS-only solutions know that that they are "backup" solutions, so sharing options aren't typically part of the model -- which makes sense.
So, how does Mozy's Stash solution stack up?
I took the opportunity to try out both the Mozy Backup and Stash offerings on one of my home machines. The setup for backup was relatively straight forward and I found it interesting how they pre-define data types and then simply prompt you to either back them up or not. I will look closer at its BaaS capabilities in a later blog post (or ESG Lab validation) but for now, I just wanted to get it installed so that I could be one of the millions of Mozy Backup customers that could now try the Stash feature.
Stash functionality enabled pretty easily, with the standard OLFS concept of defining a root-level folder for data storage. And as exciting as it sounds, I dropped some files into it and watched my drive light and network lights start blinking away. Sure enough, by installing the same Mozy client software on my work laptop, the files were there. Yay! But let's be clear -- it is a beta of a first release in the space. I am actually an avid user of another OLFS service which has a key feature that Mozy doesn't yet offer -- sharing between users. For that reason alone, I can't use it yet. If you don't share data with others, is Mozy viable for you? Maybe.
Although it is 'beta', it isn't fair to call their offering a '1.0' -- because they aren't standing it up from scratch. Mozy has oodles of experience with what it takes to create a lightweight agent technology across a variety of consumer devices. They understand how to build and operate a cloud-based storage platform at scale. They have millions of subscribers. Some of them may be using another OLFS, and if they aren't sharing with others, may be happy to run one less agent and pay one less monthly bill. Other Mozy subscribers may have been thinking about OLFS, and the Stash offering will be what gets them started. And don't forget, it is still only in beta.
So, more functionality will eventually come, and like most cloud-services, incremental features will come months, not years, later. Some of Mozy's backup users will jump on this (likely increasing their storage consumption subscription in the process) -- and Mozy will invariably hear the feedback of what their install base wants vs. needs. And with Mozy's agility, as well as their commitment to cloud-enabled storage, things can only go up.
What excites me the most is seeing examples of the convergence between BaaS and OLFS. And if Stash helps more folks to get their data into the cloud, that is goodness. Beyond the convergence, I'm also looking forward to seeing what happens with Mozy Stash 1.1 ... 1.5 ... 2.0.