Mozy problem appears resolved

20Jun08

Mozy backup is backing up again! This is most likely the final installment of my four-part miniseries (1, 2, and 3).

At this point after about 11 hours, about 6GB has been backed up. If my calculations are correct — 11 hours is 39600 seconds, and 6G Bytes is 48G bits — that equates to an upload speed of about 1.2Mb/s, which is slightly above the cap of 1Mb/s that Mozy enforces for the Home edition. That’s good. Oddly enough, even though it’s uploading at max speed, most of the time, the MozyHome Remote Backup window shows my current bitrate to be 0.0 b/s. I don’t know what’s up with that.

So it was the lack of temp disk space after all. What I don’t get is why the Mozy tech initially asked me to upgrade my software before providing a solution to the actual cause. I suppose that’s the standard operating procedure — get the user to use the latest software first before actual debugging.

To their credit, one of their managers contacted me and indicated that they didn’t handle the situation as well as they could’ve, and will be ensuring this aspect is improved in the future. Also, he agreed that such problems with low temp disk space could’ve been caught by the software and warn the user accordingly. This latter issue he’ll be bringing up with the software folks. Thank you for your help.

In thinking about customer support — and I’ve been supporting engineering designers and validators, and developing methodologies, tools and flows for them for over 10 years now — here are a few suggestions I have for those who wield the power:

  1. Instrument a policy of getting back to the user within 24 or 48 hours after a reported issue. In fact, the user should get a response that they should hear back within a specific time frame. This ensures that the user knows what to expect.
  2. Provide a support phone number. Sometimes it’s much better to be able to talk to a live person. It’s additional cost, but it improves customer satisfaction if something can be easily resolved. But don’t skim on the first-line support’s technical knowledge. It’s not cool to get back canned responses especially when some of the users are quite technically proficient and have done some legwork in initial troubleshooting.
  3. Have a status page that users can access after they log in. If your system never fails, great, the page will only seek to reinforce how robust the system is. If it does fail, users are aware of where to get information, and can have the latest information at all times. Don’t remove any prior messages either. This gives management a clear picture of the uptime of the system.
  4. Update your error codes to something more meaningful. This might not always be possible, but often the tech folks have an idea of what the codes mean. Translating that understanding into something human readable would help greatly, if only to provide clues on what to look for. In fact, by embarking on this translation, you might realize that some of the issues can be avoided by implementing some basic checks earlier on, like the one for temp disk space.

Much of the suggestions revolve around being transparent to the users when it comes to their important data.

I expect now that my backup is going again, and my temp drive has been relocated, I shouldn’t have any more problems. I should know that in about 3 days or less once this backup completes, based on the above upload speed. However, the “Estimated time to completion” hovers between “1 week, 2 days” and “3 weeks, 3 days” and “unknown”, so who knows how long it’ll actually take.

Tools such as backup software should remain invisible. If you don’t see it or hear it and it quietly hums along on its way, that’s a good thing.

Cheers on a beautiful weekend ahead!

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5 Responses to “Mozy problem appears resolved”

  1. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  2. 2 Osama

    Our conversation about online backup got me seriously thinking about this topic. Just did a quick search and InformationWeek was unequivocal in recommending Mozy in a review conducted in 2007. Glad to see things working out, hiccups in software are to be expected, but the support model clearly leaves much to be desired. Their price and bandwidth are still very compelling. Thanks for sharing!

    Osama

  3. 3 Randy

    I’m wondering if your backups ever finished? I had the exact same problem with Mozy on my computer. After many conversations with their tech support in chat, they finally told me it was a problem on their end (I have plenty of free space on my drive) and that the ConnectionError3 or MozyServerError6 or MozyServerError12 problems were related to an issue they are trying to fix but that they don’t have a timeline for how soon it should be resolved. After a long conversation they finally offered me a prorated refund of my 2 year subscription plus 3 months credit. That seemed very reasonable, but what I really want is for Mozy to work right again. I played with Carbonite but they just don’t have the feature set that Mozy has, plus they throttle you after you’ve uploaded 2GB in 1 day (I need to get about 80GB backed up). Your blog is the only place I’ve really seen this issue discussed and I’m hoping that maybe others will chime in here and tell me what worked for you. I might come back to Mozy if I can get it working. Plus my parents are still active customers and my Dad has started having the exact same problem, but oddly enough, no my mom. They both backup about the same amount of data on both their computers (30GB each).

  4. I, too, have a love/hate relationship with Mozy. When you need the files after some disastrous crash, they are there and easy to get. But their tech support sucks, and there are bugs everywhere. I couldn’t upload for five or six weeks, and they had no idea why. It turned out that it was because my partner and I both had our computers on our wireless network and they were near each other. When I plugged the machines into network cables, uploading was fine. When I contacted tech support about my solution, the guy wrote back and told me that it was a known problem and it hadn’t occurred to him that I was on a wireless network. It hadn’t occurred to him?! If it’s a known problem, the wireless question should be on the list along with “Is your computer on?” Then, everything was fine for a while, until I noticed that there was no backup for nine days. I started one, and I kept getting kicked off in the middle. Now it’s uploaded, but it says the bitrate is 0.0 b/s. Argh.


  1. 1 Mozy backup — not quite the epilogue yet « toplproject

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