I was late to the launch party for the re-branding of Data Deposit Box, but I caught up with CMO Lee Garrison on July 16th to find out what the fuss was about.
If you go to the old Data Deposit Box website, you’ll be redirected to KineticD.com, where you’ll be presented with a nice AJAX pop-up window announcing the following:
Data Deposit Box is now KineticDTM
While we’re still the same company that over 40,000 business customers around the world trust every day with their data, we thought we’d make some exciting changes to our brand. Our customers are part of a growing movement of successful businesses who need to be active with their data.
Our new name, KineticD reflects significant enhancements to our product we’ve developed over the past year and the momentum we’ve achieved. As an industry leader, we are committed to setting the standard for data protection, mobility and business productivity that our business customers and valued channel partners deserve.
In case you haven’t clued in (it took me a while) the “D” in “KineticD” stands for “Data,” and the idea behind the change is that data is no longer something that sits passively in storage. Where SOHO computer users once wanted “set it and forget it” backups that really were the equivalent of putting their data in a safe deposit box, out of the way, times have changed.
In November 2009, the company surveyed more than 1000 of its customers in North America, Asia, and Europe, and discovered that 57% of them had used the product’s “restore” function. This puzzled them at first—were their customers peculiarly loss-prone? (Earlier statistics I’d read put losses in the 40-50% range.)
Then they realized they’d asked the question the wrong way. What they asked was “Have you used the restore feature?” not “Have you lost data?” It turned out that customers were using the restore function in order to access files from their work computers when they were at home.
At that point, Data Deposit Box started to think it needed to redefine itself and redesign its services to better serve the needs of its customers. Hence the new name and new features for remote access using Microsoft’s Remote Desktop technology.
Given the fact that the Remote Access for Windows tool doesn’t run on home versions, and I have Windows 7 Home Premium on Auset here, I can’t install it. And I still haven’t gotten around to reinstalling Enna (who has XP Pro) and making her into a usable test machine. So for now I’m just going to have to report on the old-fashioned backup features of KineticD.
One of KineticD’s main claims to fame is that it has open file support for Outlook and Quicken/Quickbooks, two programs that have been the bane of backups pretty much since the dawn of software. If I happened to have Quicken on when the backup on my Maxtor Shared Storage II ran, for instance, the entire backup would fail, even though all the other files were okay to copy. I run Karen’s Replicator when my machine boots up because after that, I’m likely to have Outlook on all day, so it’s my only chance until shut-down to back up my PST file, where I store e-mail, appointments, contacts, and now a lot of WordPress database backup file attachments.
And the darn thing really does work. It slows down the function of Outlook a little, but not enormously. And the upload speed for those honking PST files is pretty good: I’m getting almost 800 kbps, which is better than my FTP transfers to my web server last night.
Not, I admit, that I intend to keep my PST files stored online. Or my Quicken files, for that matter. While KineticD emphasizes security and I have no reason to distrust them specifically, it’s just not a thing I feel comfortable with. (No, I don’t use Gmail, except sometimes to forward things.)
There are a few clever options in KineticD, like the “Block Out” tab. KineticD normally runs continuously, backing up as files change, but you can tell it to pause at certain times if you need those system resources. You can save up to 28 versions of each file, with a minimum of 12 hours between versions.
There’s also a “clean up” option to find “orphaned” files that are stored online but no longer exist on your computer. Now, those “orphaned” files might be just the ones you need to retrieve, so you shouldn’t be in too big a hurry to get rid of them, but in some cases you really won’t need them anymore.
What I can’t find in the program interface is a STOP button to interrupt a backup. That means I’m going to have to sit here and wait for the rest of the 1.4 GB of this test run to complete before I can delete the files and wrap up, even though I’ve now determined that the open file support works. That’s annoying.
Oh, and speaking of both security and annoyance, every time you press a button in the user interface, you have to enter your password again. It gets to be like installing software on Vista.
The web interface is actually a bit easier to use than the desktop interface, and it only asks for your password once, when you sign in. (And you can have your browser remember your password for you, if you want.)
Most of what SOHO users care about is under “My Data,” though I got a good laugh out of what Lee Garrison had filled out for me under “Corporate Administration.” That section lets you set up accounts for different employees, and departments, if your business is more than one person.
Any KineticD customer can earn $10 by referring someone else to the service; when they sign up and start paying bills, you’ll see your credit under “Commissions.” Invoices, on the other hand, are bills that KineticD sends to you for your data use. (Billed at $2/GB, regardless of the number of computers you have.) “Today’s Activity” tells you what’s been backed up and/or restored today.
If you click on “My Data,” you see a folder tree not unlike the one in Windows Explorer, if not as pretty. From there you can choose to edit (download or delete) the items in the folder, share the folder (with an option to password protect it) or search its contents.
The sign-in for the shared folder looks like this:
And the photo album looks like this. (Yes, those are my cats.)
That’s a rather nice touch. And—ah ha!—I just discovered how to switch off the password protection on the settings. That should reduce the annoyance factor. But there’s still no STOP button.
It’s possible to restore a file while a backup job is running. The restore utility is bare-bones and simple. You select the file(s) you want to restore and click the “restore” button at the bottom of the window (not shown).
The next screen prompts you for your restore location.
The choices are all of my internal and USB drives, but not my mapped network drives. The software suggests a restore directory. I opted to go with its suggestion for the test restoration, and discovered that I got not one new folder, but several, because KineticD re-created the entire directory tree around the single file I restored. This is valuable when you are restoring whole swathes of data, but irritating when you just want one file.
Overall, I would definitely recommend the service for business users. The cost per GB is higher than consumer services like Mozy, but you save in per-computer license fees if you have multiple machines, and you get some additional tools.
But it really, really needs a CANCEL BACKUP button. I’m not sure even resorting to CTRL-ALT-DEL actually worked.
Scott D. Strader says
To access your mapped network drives, you need to run DDB/KineticD as an application. Here’re the instructions I got from them:
—– BEGIN —–
Shut down the backup client (right click on the icon and choose Shutdown).
Open the Services manager (Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services).
Locate and open “Online Backup Service”.
On the General tab, set the Startup type to Manual.
Click “Apply” and then click “OK”.
Close the Services manager and open up the Data Deposit Box folder inside Program Files.
Locate and double-click “startup.exe”.
The backup client (now running under the current user’s account) will prompt again for a username and password.
You will need to make your folder selections again (Options -> Folders).
The software is now running as an Application.
The software will NOT launch automatically when you start up your computer unless the “startup.exe” is inside the Startup folder. Also, the backup will not continue to run if the user is logged off.
—– END —–