Do You Limit What (or How Much) Can Be Backed Up?

Here's What Online Backup Services Told Me When I Asked About Backup Limitations

In part two of my five-part Online Backup Q&A series, I asked a question that is sometimes not-so-clearly outlined on some of these company's websites:

"Are there any limits whatsoever on what, or how much, I can backup with your service?"

I address both parts of this question in my online backup comparison chart but I thought hearing it from the horses' mouths, so to speak, might help with your decision on who to go with.

Note: I've ranked the answers below by how well I personally believe the backup service responded to the question but that doesn't mean you'll agree. You can read more on my thoughts in my Online Backup Services Reviewed list.

Question 1 | Question 2 | Question 3 | Question 4 | Question 5

Backblaze

Yev Pusin
Yev Pusin, Social Marketing Manager at Backblaze. Yev Pusin, Social Marketing Manager at Backblaze

"Backblaze is completely unlimited: Unlimited amount of data. Unlimited file size. Unlimited file type. Unlimited speed. There are no limits to how much you can back up to Backblaze.

We only have one plan: unlimited. For just $5/month. This includes your computer and any external hard drives you select for back up. We do not limit how fast you can upload or download that data and do not throttle."

Backblaze Review

Yev Pusin is Social Marketing Manager at Backblaze

SpiderOak

Ethan Oberman
Ethan Oberman, CEO of SpiderOak, Inc. Ethan Oberman, CEO of SpiderOak, Inc.

"We decided early on at SpiderOak that we would never impose limits to the amount of data or the size of data or the type of data that someone could backup, sync or share. This includes being able to push data on external hard drives and network volumes up to SpiderOak as well. This flexibility was critically important to us as we knew it would be critically important to our users.

And the model is simple - pay for the space you consume in 100 GB increments. Our largest consumer account currently is 3 TBs but there is no upper limit."

SpiderOak Review

Ethan Oberman is CEO of SpiderOak, Inc.

Mozy

Gytis Barzdukas
Gytis Barzdukas, Senior Director of Product Management at Mozy by EMC. Gytis Barzdukas, Senior Director of Product Management at Mozy by EMC

"Mozy does not offer an "unlimited" backup solution. Instead we offer services that enable us to provide the right plan for our customers at the right price.

Rather than claim to offer “unlimited” backup while imposing limitations behind the scenes, we want our users to decide for themselves what they want backed up and in return Mozy will provide the best possible service level, regardless of file types or size. We call that "No Fine Print Backup."

We've seen other backup service providers continue to offer “unlimited” backup, but then devalue the service they provide. Some restrict bandwidth as a customer’s data grows, effectively choking them off. Some exclude files over a certain size or exclude certain file types. And others store customer data on budget hard drives.

We at Mozy think our customers deserve better than that.  We understand that limits on your backup volumes are there for a reason."

Mozy Review

Gytis Barzdukas is Senior Director of Product Management at Mozy by EMC

SOS

Stephen Gold
Stephen Gold, Director of Business Development at SOS Online Backup. Stephen Gold, Director of Business Development at SOS Online Backup

"SOS is sold in plan sizes (100GB, 250GB or 500GB) and we truly enable customers to utilize this storage by providing unlimited versioning and unlimited file-retention.

Don’t be fooled by unlimited cloud storage offers – it’s not a sustainable model so companies that still offer unlimited backup typically use file-retention policies to control cost.

For example, one popular plan available on the market offers unlimited storage for $59/year per computer. First, if you pay for two or more PCs you are already paying more annually than you will for comparable services. Second, this unlimited plan comes with a 30-day retention policy which means that if you delete a file from your computer it will be deleted from your cloud 30 days later. Further, if you fail to back-up your computer or an external drive you’ve protected at least once every 30 days, data is removed in this case as well. So a customer can’t really use this space as a long-term archive or backup, it’s really more of a mirroring service. Since hard-drives aren’t unlimited in space, neither is your backup."

SOS Online Backup Review

Stephen Gold is Director of Business Development at SOS Online Backup

Carbonite

Pete Lamson
Pete Lamson, SVP Cloud Backup at Carbonite. Pete Lamson, SVP Cloud Backup at Carbonite

"A Carbonite Home subscription offers unlimited backup for one computer.

And while Business plans are sold at set storage amounts, businesses can back up an unlimited number of computers, external hard drives and NAS devices.

Additionally, Carbonite’s BusinessPremier plan with Enhanced Server Backup allows users to have 500GBs of storage space to share between an unlimited number of computers, external hard drives, NAS devices, Windows Servers and databases/live applications."

Carbonite Review

Pete Lamson is SVP of Cloud Backup at Carbonite

ElephantDrive

Joti Kang
Joti Kang, Business Development Associate at ElephantDrive, Inc. Joti Kang, Business Development Associate at ElephantDrive, Inc.

"ElephantDrive does not offer any "unlimited" plans for a fix dollar amount, but we have capacity for any storage amount you may need space for.

All ElephantDrive plans have a GB storage limit with the exception of the "On-Demand" plan, which has unlimited capacity. Some other cloud backup providers may offer "unlimited" plans, but they start throttling/limiting your upload speeds drastically after a certain GB threshold is reached (many do this at around 100GB to 250GB). This virtually brings the upload speed to such a crawling pace that you cannot upload any meaningful data in timely manner - effectively limiting the "unlimited" plan that you pay for.

ElephantDrive never limits your plans in any such manner and instead, ElephantDrive let's you choose the bandwidth you want to allow ElephantDrive to use on your machine."

More About ElephantDrive

Joti Kang is a Business Development Associate at ElephantDrive, Inc.

IDrive

Shane Bingham
Shane Bingham, Business Development Associate at IDrive. Shane Bingham, Business Development Associate at IDrive

"We don't have an unlimited plan, but we do think it's important to note that we don't place any restrictions on what or how much can be backed up with our service, excepting that we do have quota limits. We do charge for overuse, but we make every attempt to work with our customers in order to avoid this.

Additionally, we've tested our service with up to 10GB files, but there was an occasion where a customer in the audio industry accidentally uploaded a 200+GB raw audio file that he restored successfully."

More About IDrive

Shane Bingham is a Business Development Associate at IDrive

Where are the responses from the other online backup services you've profiled?

I'm waiting on responses from Livedrive, SugarSync, Acronis, Cyphertite, AVG, Nobadesk, Norton, Trend Micro (SafeSync), KineticD, Jungle Disk, Comodo, MiMedia, ADrive, MyOtherDrive, Total Defense, and JDI (MyPCBackup, ZipCloud, JustCloud, etc.).

As soon as I hear back from them I'll work their answers into this list.