Issue: 169 Date: Sep 08, 2008
PRICE: Free for 2 GB, USD 4.95 per month/USD 49.95 per year for 150 GB (Personal);
Business: USD 9.95 per month/USD 99.95 per year for 50 GB
Verdict: A flexible, high-speed backup service at a price that's more than reasonable.
IDrive hits a reasonable balance between the consumer-focused simplicity of Carbonite and the aspirational features of Mozy and SOS. The basic interface is a simple pair of Explorer tree views, but IDrive also features a File Selection wizard that covers the user data for a large number of popular applications.
Other great features include a gauge to see how much of your purchased capacity you're taking up and a bandwidth throttle in the backup status window. You can also create scheduled backups or set the service to back up while idle.
Restoring data is easy, whether you choose to restore files and folders from the main Classic view or the Windows Explorer-style IDrive Explorer, which is accessible directly from My Computer.
A web-based restore process helps when moving or restoring files to a second PC. IDrive stores up to 30 versions of each file; restoring a different version is a matter of a simple right-click. Versions aren't counted within your purchased capacity, and the service uploads only the changed portions of altered files or folders, saving time and bandwidth.
Continuous backup is a strength, with IDrive spotting and uploading changed files within ten minutes of alteration (and sometimes within four). Files are protected by 128-bit SSL during transfer and 256-bit AES in storage, held and mirrored at a secure fire- and earthquake-proof UK datacenter. Pro users also have their data mirrored at another location, and a user-defined key can be set.
IDrive provides a 2GB account free, while a Pro account gets you up to 150GB, telephone support and the ability to manage multiple accounts from one central account, along with email notification and status reports.
The icing on the cake is the speed of the service. IDrive was only two seconds slower than Backup Direct when creating the initial backup, and provided the third-fastest full restore, giving it the edge over the similar Mozy service. It isn't as easy to use as Carbonite, but it's a well-featured and highly tweakable product, and the free account will cover many users' needs.