Introduction & Overview
An increasing number of businesses have discovered (or are at least exploring) the benefits of cloud storage. There are cloud options aplenty, from small-potatoes plans designed for a bit of extra storage for a SOHO shop, to massive operations that backup an entire enterprise’s kingdom. It’s an exciting, developing field, and it’s downright fun to see what new tools and services developers are coming up with.
CloudBerry Lab has created an intriguing spate of products designed to make managing cloud storage easier, including file explorers for several cloud storage services; a mobile explorer (for Windows Mobile only); and backup tools for Windows Server 2003 / 2008 (32 and 64-bit), Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, and Windows Home Server.
In this review, however, we’re looking specifically at CloudBerry Backup Desktop.
CloudBerry Backup Desktop looks and feels more or less like any desktop-based cloud backup tool you may have used. It makes use of easy-to-follow wizards for creating backups and restoring files, and you can navigate your backed-up data via a familiar Windows-like file explorer.
However, CloudBerry Backup Desktop is not, in and of itself, a cloud storage service; rather, it acts as a front end client that you can use to manage backups from a variety of cloud storage services. It even lets you manage local backups, so you can use it with external hard drives as well.
CloudBerry Backup Desktop was initially designed to work with Amazon’s S3 service, but to date it’s expanded to include a number of additional services, including Azure, Google Storage, Scality, Dunkel, Tiscali, Host Europe, Seeweb, Connectria, Walrus, and Mezeo. You can also map a cloud storage service as a virtual disk, which is a nice touch.
Note that CloudBerry Backup Desktop supports Windows XP / Vista / 7 currently, so Mac users are out of luck, at least for the time being.
After you run an initial backup, the software will only back up files modified since your last backup, and it features file versioning, so you can roll back to an older version of a file if need be. You can control how many copies of a file CloudBerry Backup Desktop keeps in the Purge Options. Using Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy technology, the software can also back up opened files.
CloudBerry offers both encryption and compression options, too, which we’ll get into below.
In terms of pricing, $29.99 (or $69.99 for the server version) gets you the software and a year of free updates and email support. After the first year, you have to pay 20% of the original fee annually to receive updates and support, although you’ll never be forced to upgrade if you’re happy with what you have.
Do bear in mind that you’re still on the hook for the costs of your cloud storage service, although CloudBerry Backup Desktop actually helps reduce those costs. (More on that in a bit.)
If you want to give the software a spin before you commit, you can download a free 15-day trial, which grants you full functionality. This isn’t one of those deals where they require your credit card information and bill you when (not “if”, am I right?) you forget to cancel at the end of the trial. You don’t have to submit any information up front--just download it, put it through the paces, and buy it if you want it.