Everything on Cloud Backup and Remote Access - The Official IDrive Blog

  • Building the IDrive platform: How we use RAID

    RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks – it is a standard method used to cluster many hard drives together into one unit for the purposes of space, speed and security. At IDrive, we use RAID to configure large amounts of fast storage that is many–many times more reliable than the hard drive in an off-the-shelf computer.

    IDrive Online Backup uses a method of incremental transfers to backup and restore files. Our software automatically breaks up files into half-megabyte sections known as blocks and moves those around instead – it’s much more effective and reliable than attempting to transfer large whole files. RAID arrays use a similar function to break up files into small, manageable pieces.

    Let’s discuss how RAID stores and protects blocks of data.

    Since RAID arrays are made up of more than one disk it is possible to spread blocks out, this technique in knows as striping. Striping leads to a key advantage: blocks can be read from multiple disks at the same time, significantly reducing access times. IDrive Online Backup customers consistently rave about the speed of our network – RAID is one of the ways we are able to provide this kind of performance. Striping blocks across multiple disks introduces a disadvantage however: should one disk in the array fail, the data from the entire RAID is at risk of being lost. We overcome this with an important RAID feature known as parity.

    At IDrive we used advanced storage techniques to safeguard our customers' data.

    This diagram illustrates four physical disks that would appear to a computer as one large disk. Data is striped (blue) across the array and parity information (green) is distributed across the drives to safeguard files in the event of a failure.

    A RAID configured to parity data creates one or more copies of special blocks that are used to reconstruct files that might otherwise be lost if one or more of the disks in the array fail; somewhat like a backup. IDrive RAID setups are very secure! Multiple disks would have to fail at the same time in order to result in files being lost – a highly-rare event. Our advanced storage arrays help us provide impressive performance and enterprise-level reliability to our nearly 700K customers.

    For IDrive Pro and IDrive Basic customers we hold data on one of these sophisticated arrays in one of our SAS 70 certified data-centers. We periodically backup IDrive Pro customers’ data onto a second RAID array as an extra layer of protection in the unlikely event of a failure. The IDrive Pro solution is perfect for businesses interested in regulation compliance.

    IDrive Unlimited customers’ data is also held on one of our RAID servers however we don’t perform a secondary backup to a secondary array.

    Send your online backup, cloud storage and other data questions to publicrelations@idrive.com!

    Have a great Wednesday – S. Gold, Business Dev. Manager

    UPDATE on 3/24/2011

    Brad C. e-mailed regarding the past experiences a few other online backup companies have had trusting RAID: RAID is one of the most powerful and safe methods of storing large amounts of data, however, it is certainly not bulletproof. IDrive’s performance and security measures go far beyond the hard disks that safeguard our clients’ files. The heart of IDrive is our software which was built by us to constantly error-check and verify data – it’s very good at it too. Our storage facilities have always maintained a very high level of reliability.

  • IDrive Tips & Tricks: Automatically find your important files with Automatic Selection

    C:UserUsernameMy MusiciTunesiTunes Media

    That’s the default “path” in Windows 7 for your iTunes library. Now check out the path for your Microsoft Outlook data:

    C:UsersUsernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftOutlook

    Did you know that? If you did, great, but if you didn’t you might be one of those people that are wondering how it would be easy to backup and restore things like your Outlook data when you don’t even know where to start looking in the labyrinth of files on your computer. IDrive has an amazing feature called Automatic Selection. Automatic Selection makes it a no-brainer – simply select all the types of files you’d like to backup; your photos, e-mails, PDFs, Word documents, etc. and IDrive will search your computer for them and back them up.

    Automatic Selection from IDrive

    When IDrive backs up all your automatically-selected files, it does so in a way that makes it easy to restore to the exact same location it came from, even if you don’t know where that might be.

    Or, use our Search & Restore feature to easily search your entire backup for a specific file and restore the latest version of the file – you’ll have access to the last 30 versions of the file as well.

    Don’t just recover from disaster, avoid it all together with IDrive Online Backup!

    Have a great weekend friends – S. Gold, Business Dev. Manager

  • Ask IDrive: Can I backup my portable hard drive to IDrive?

    Can I backup my portable hard drive to IDrive?

    Yes, you can! IDrive allows you to select files from attached storage devices (like USB sticks and external hard drives) and back them up to your IDrive account. If the drive isn’t connected when the scheduled backup occurs – or if you have Continuous Data Protection enabled – IDrive will simply skip those files and return to them once the drive is re-connected.

    Many people use external storage to backup data – the problem is that external hard drives just aren’t reliable – they constantly fail.

    IDrive is one of the few online backup companies that doesn’t use a third-party storage network. We build and maintain our own RAID racks which are millions of times more reliable than a standard computer hard drive and our data-centers and electronic network adhere to SAS 70 certification requirements. Our strict security practices have produced an environment safe enough for government organizations – we have a GSA contract that allows federal and state employees to easily utilize IDrive to protect their mission critical data.

    Use your local drives for current projects and archive your old data on IDrive: save space and give yourself real protection by backing up your important files somewhere truly safe. If you don’t have an account start a free 5GB IDrive Basic account here.

    Have a question about using IDrive, online backup, data storage or anything else related to life in the “cloud?” E-mail yours to publicrelations@idrive.com!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! – S. Gold, Business Dev. Manager

  • Why is IDrive Online Backup so fast?

    We often talk about how IDrive out-performs other services by 25-30% in the area of backup/restore speed and we thought to let you in on a few of the reasons why:

    1. The IDrive platform is built and maintained by us. Why is this important? Well, there are more online backup “companies” out there than there are data storage networks. Many of these online backup “companies” are utilizing third-party storage platforms (i.e. Amazon’s S3) to host their customers’ data for various reasons: they don’t have their own internal infrastructure talent, they don’t have the resources to build and maintain their own racks and they want to reduce costs.

    IDrive customers’ data is held on our privately-owned, developed and secured network – and it’s REALLY FAST. Try it out for yourself: open a free 5GB account, download the software to your Windows or Mac and run a bandwidth test. This will tell you just how quick the connection is between your computer and our data centers. We even have customers backing up their computers on the island of Cyprus in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea!

    2. Custom IDrive file-transfer technology. We have spent years honing our skills when it comes to data. We have become experts in storing and transferring data to and from points across the globe. Our software uses several techniques to speed up the backup/restore process:

    • Incremental/block level backup – only newly updated pieces of files are actually copied
    • Lossless compression during transfer – no risk of corruption to your photos, audio or video
    • Search index for restore – easily search your entire archive of backups and quickly restore a single or multiple files
    • Resource light application – you’ll hardly know the IDrive application is even on your computer, won’t bog you down

    IDrive’s technology for backing up files is intelligent and strong. It actively accounts for network issues during transfer, insuring you don’t have to hover near your computer making sure your backup is still running. Just install and that’s about it!

    3. Rapid Serve for when it’s not fast enough. Imagine you walk in to your office one morning only to find your building had been struck by lightening the night before and all your technology has gone haywire. You have an IDrive account with 250GBs of your photos, invoices and customer records and you won’t have a working computer for a few days because of the disaster. That’s why we have Rapid Serve. Rapid Serve is a program that utilizes IDrive Portable, our 320GB USB-powered backup hard drive. The cost of the drive is $69.95 + tax with free shipping to US customers; the Rapid Serve program is free.
    It could take days to download your whole backup depending on how much data you have and how fast your Internet connection is. With Rapid Serve, our network team will physically download your data to an IDrive Portable and ship it via USPS.

    Now that’s fast disaster recovery – and the price can’t be beat.

    Check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more news and special promotions.

  • Visit the IDrive booth at DEMO Spring 2011 in Palm Desert

    Come visit our booth at DEMO Spring 2011 at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert! We’ll be demonstrating our whole product line, answering questions and checking out the release of all the new products!
    We’ll be showcasing IDrive Photo Backup for iOS! Released on Jan 11, 2011, IDrive Photo Backup is able to backup the contacts and photos from any iDevice running iOS 3.0 or later. It is also geo-location enabled, allowing users to track each other on a map by permission.

    DEMO Spring 2011 will be full of new innovations, looking forward to seeing you there!

    Visit our booth and mention the IDrive Blog to to get an IDrive t-shirt! (while supplies last)

  • They are all different – they all use it differently – they all use IDrive

    Students, dentists, photographers, construction companies, musicians, sales people, programmers, gamers, moms and dads, whole families – they are all using IDrive to backup files that can’t be lost: dissertations, patient records, pictures, blueprints, MP3s, invoices, project files, saved games, the video of baby’s first steps.

    Today we’d like to profile a few of our friends so you can see the kind of benefit they are getting from IDrive’s amazing service!

    •••

    Richard R. – Illustrator and Visual Artist

    Every day Richard creates stunning landscape and character illustrations. His artwork is done almost exclusively on his Mac and he uses IDrive for Mac to protect his art, music and all of his other important files. The feature Richard likes most about IDrive is the ability to backup his USB and Firewire hard drives:

    “Most of my large art files are on my external drives. IDrive backs them up easily and because IDrive truly archives data my work will always be safe and sound no matter what happens to my computer or drives.”

    Richard, thanks for using IDrive and for your amazing work!

    •••

    Candice K. – Box Office Manager

    Candice is the Box Office Manager for a small community playhouse, she is in charge of all the money that comes in as well as insuring her customers get their correct tickets. Her computer is the primary machine used for financial data, customer information and ticket database.

    IDrive Online Backup is installed on the playhouse PC with Continuous Data Protection (CDP) activated. CDP is IDrive’s intelligent and real-time data protection tool that continually monitors the Backup Set for new changes.

    As Candice works IDrive is backing up data quietly in the background. In the event of a disaster, Candice’s work will be minutes old – if not seconds – rather than hours. This is the power of IDrive.

    •••

    Bill D. – Architect

    Bill has owned his own architectural firm for over 15 years now and the amount of data him and his crew have developed over the years has become too big for the backup systems of yesteryear.

    “We decided to start digitizing all of the work we had done on paper over the years so we could back them up as well. All those scanned images added to hundreds and hundreds of new GBs. IDrive backs up everything we’ve ever created for less than $1.40 per day, that’s a fifth of what we were paying per day for physical tape backups, and restoring from IDrive is easy as pie in comparison.”

    Bill’s firm is advancing with the times. Physical backup takes too much time, costs too much money and takes too much effort. With IDrive, small businesses don’t just recover from disaster: they avoid it.

  • IDrive saves Kevin’s ‘bacon’ with Continuous Data Protection

    “IDrive saved my bacon.” – Kevin K., Los Angeles

    Kevin has been using IDrive for a few months now, he’s currently a full-time student at a California Community College. As a film studies major he spends a lot of his time reviewing movies and clips he views in class. Last week he sat down at his PC to begin a 4-6 page paper on Casablanca.

    A few hours rolled by and he had gotten almost three pages out of the way when the power went out. Simple as that. Minutes later the power returned but when Kevin attempted to boot his computer back up, to his dismay, things had gone sour.

    Kevin’s paper, up to the last few sentences he had just typed in were completely safe in his IDrive Online Backup account since he had activated IDrive’s real-time backup feature, Continuous Data Protection.

    What is Continuous Data Protection?

    Continuous Data Protection, or CDP, is a feature built-in to IDrive Online Backup for Windows that enables real-time protection of your files without bogging down your computer. CDP works on files less than 500MB in size that are within your Backup Set within seconds of a change. Handy feature, eh?

    Remember, CDP is not a replacement for your regular daily schedule but is an additional level of protection for your most commonly-used files.

    How do I use Continuous Data Protection?

    Simply click the Enable Continuous Backup button found in the lower right corner of IDrive for Windows:

    24 hour data protection from IDrive

    Recover old versions of your files, even from the same day!

    Not only will you be able to rest easy knowing IDrive is always protecting your files but you will be able to use IDrive to recover old versions of files as well! We store the last 30 versions of each of your protected files forever and for free.

    For more information: IDrive Online BackupContinuous Data Protection; IDrive’s other features and benefits

  • IDrive offers the best price/performance Online Backup service!

    speed

    IDrive is possibly the fastest online backup service. It is not an empty statement. We have done many internal tests, and there have been some third party studies (although only a few) that clearly shows IDrive’s advantages in performance.

    How do we do it?

    For starters, we do not impose artificial bandwidth limits. Whatever your network allows and whatever the connectivity from your point to our data center allows. Second, we have several optimizations, our secret sauce that extends from the client application all the way up to the way we store data that makes our product faster and more efficient than most others.

    We offer the best combination of price and performance. Run a test backup of 100GB of data and compare performance of IDrive vs leading competitors. We guarantee that IDrive will beat all. We throw this challenge to every reviewer from PC Magazine to PC World to the new media including gigaoms and techcrunches, and we offer this industry leading performance at a price of $4.95/month for 150GB!

    It is not just performance and price. IDrive excels in functionality as well. Most of these unlimited services do not archive your data. If you remove your data from your desktop, it will vanish from your online backup account in a few days, typically 30 or 60. With IDrive, you control your data. It is NOT deleted until you remove it or you configure a sync.

    IDrive now offers Web Based backup management. You can manage multiple computer backups (if your account supports it) from anywhere. You can modify your backup-set, or your schedule, or your notification options for all your computers from a remote location.

    IDrive offers the best restore performance as well, via a desktop client or directly from a browser with a java plugin.

    It is a no-brainer that if you are considering adding online backup to your data protection plan for you as a consumer or a small business, IDrive is a great choice.

  • No fine print Backup? We have an App for that!

    mozy-backup-shirt

    One of our leading competitors, Mozy, a division of EMC posted on their website a set of new plans, and closure of their unlimited plans. Here is their reason, picked from their website.

    We’ve seen other backup service providers respond to this industry storage trend in different ways. Some, like AOL’s Xdrive, HP Upline, and Mediamax, closed down their service. Others continue to offer “unlimited” backup, but restrict bandwidth as a customer’s data grows, effectively choking them off. Others exclude files over a certain size or exclude certain file types.

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

    In addition, their pricing now starts at $5.99 for 50GB.

    We saw the downside of offering unlimited long time back, and we restricted our cheapest offer to $4.95/month for 150GB and we have stayed the course. With this, we could offer the best performance with no limits including industry leading features of time-line restore and true archiving.  Many others force a sync operation that results in removing data from your account that is removed from your desktop in x number of days which varies between 30 to 90 days. With IDrive, you control the data that is backed up. It is a true archival service.

    We had the ‘No fine print Backup’ with IDrive since 2007!.

    This is sort of an affirmation of our strategy of offering the best value to our customers without breaking the bank. With over 12 Petabytes of storage, IDrive  continues to be a leading player in the online backup segment, and we continue to be profitable.

    Raghu Kulkarni

    CEO

    We’ve seen other backup service providers respond to this industry storage trend in different ways. Some, like AOL’s Xdrive, HP Upline, and Mediamax, closed down their service. Others continue to offer “unlimited” backup, but restrict bandwidth as a customer’s data grows, effectively choking them off. Others exclude files over a certain size or exclude certain file types.
    Rather than claim to offer an “unlimited” backup while imposing bandwidth or file limitations behind the scenes, we want you, our users, to decide what you want backed up and in return Mozy will provide you the best possible service level, regardless of file types or size. We call that “No Fine Print Backup”.
  • Backup your iPhone Photos with IDrive Photo Backup App

    We have just launched an iPhone App called IDrive Photo Backup that does wireless backup of your pictures on your iPhones, in addition to your contacts.

    The backed up pictures are accessible via web as well, and best of all, the app is FREE!

    IDrive Photo Backup along with IDrive Lite are possibly the most popular contacts and photo online backup applications for the iPhones today.