Past couple of days I’ve been consistently churning out reviews on file and video hostin / sharing services and through the comments left on one such post, I came to know about this brand new concept in distributed offsite backup named Zoogmo.
Almost any given file hosting / sharing / backup service operate under the same principles, i.e. you upload the file(s) to their storage servers under your account name and then distribute it as you wish by granting selective access to your friends, family & co-workers. Zoogmo – which is primarily designed as a backup facilitator – follows a completely different approach. With Zoogmo, you decide who and where your backup server is going to be. It could be anyone from a friend, a relative to a colleague – as long as they have a computer and a decent internet link. More than one person is allowed to participate in this venture and become your backup partner.
How it works
What both of you need is to register for free at the Zoogmo site and get hold of their backup client. Once installed and run, this software performs a quick scan of your most used & critical documents and adds them to the pending backup list. Files and folders may be manually added too once the client of done with the configuration part. You also need to allocate some free space on any of your drives (HDD, USB etc.) or partitions. This space is going to act as the backup zone for the partner(s) in your network. The last step is to setup a list of your backup partner(s). If you know their nicknames a simple search will suffice. And that’s it. From then on, Zoogmo takes care of the rest silently in the background.
The very first time, a backup may take a good while for completion as there’s a lot of data to transfer (though the Zoogmo client employs a high degree of compression prior to transmitting your data). From then on only incremental backups occur, transmitting only the changes you’ve made to your files. The amount of data you can backup is only limited by the amount of free space allocated by your partner(s) on their computers.
The backups are performed using the idle CPU cycles – so your actual work shouldn’t be hampered at all. If your executable during the backup process, Zoogmo simply waits for it to be restored and resumes from the pending point.
All you data is encrypted using a combination of Tripple-DES and AES 256 routines – rendering them pretty much useless to the prying eye. In fact, none of your backup partners are able to differentiate between any of the files stored on their computer. The data transmission too occurs through a secure channel between you and your partner(s) thus guaranteeing a high degree of security at all stages.
Chances of Viral Infection
Since all files are encrypted prior to transmission, any kind of file that is prone to a viral infection is rendered useless. Even if your backup partner’s system is infected, logically the infection shouldn’t be able to spread to your files.
Zoogmo recommends that you maintain a list of at least 3 backup partners so that your data is effectively replicated in multiple locations thus providing you with a redundant fall-back mechanism in case one of your partner’s computer goes dead.
Here are a couple of videos that explain the whole process in a lucid manner. Or you can always drop by at their site and go through the FAQs.
While replication servers in themselves aren’t a new concept, the whole idea of a free and open backup network certainly is very innovative.
Am off to find some suitable backup partners. How about you?
Update (15.12.2009): Sadly, Zoogmo is closing down. They will go out of operation end of this year (Dec 31st). I got a mail from them to the effect a couple of days back…
Valued Zoogmo Customer,
We would like to thank you for your loyal support.
Since we launched our backup service in August 2006 we have enjoyed serving you but the time has come for us to close our doors.
We plan to shut down our servers on 31st December 2009 at which point your backed-up data will no longer be available. We suggest that you check out www.mozy.com for unlimited online backup for just US$5/month. If you have any queries about our shutdown, please email us at email@example.com.
Thank you once again for using Zoogmo,
The Zoogmo Management
Another great startup venture that ‘s going down the drain, most likely because of not enough profitability when compared to the extremely high bandwidth and disk space consumption that a service like this requires.