During our boring time in Vegas attending CES, we came across a bunch of guys that were surrounded by sheep. Now, if it wasn’t for the fact they were also surrounded by gorgeous Apple computers, Mike and I probably would of just walked on by. They asked us their questions on how we back up, if we use Time Machine and so on and so on. After hearing their talk for a few minutes, it clicked. Mixing a “set it and forget it” service like Time Machine with cloud based storage is ingenious. It makes sense.
I’ve been using Dolly Drive for the past couple weeks, and with their presence this week at MacWorld, I wanted to dive into what I think about the cloud guys with the cute little sheep logo.
Hop on in and find out more about Dolly Drive and online Time Machine back-ups…
If you have been using your Mac for any amount of time, you’ll probably have seen it bug you about backing up your system and data with Time Machine. If you are a n00b in the matter, I’ll tell you a little about it: Time Machine is a simple app that completes scheduled back ups of your entire Mac – the way it should be. The entire system is backed up, and when a new file is added, it will back that up, if an older file is deleted, it’ll take it out of the newest back up. You have every back up stored, until older ones are deleted when space is needed. Okay, so that takes care of Time Machine. Now what about cloud based storage. Well, cloud storage is where you store your shit on someone else’s drive. Via the interwebs, you send all your memories, pirated films, and your terabytes of music to someone else for them to keep look after.
What Dolly Drive did was take these two ideas and marry them together to create a highly useful and much needed addition to everyone’s data safety. Dolly Drive is a small app that you’ll download and then it will integrate into the Time Machine settings to allow for online back ups of your Time Machine. Time Machine has always been a local way of backing your data up. This is helpful, if you can guarantee you’ll always keep that hard drive safe, or that you’ll never be apart from it.
With Dolly Drive running in the background, it’ll send the same back up you are used to up to the fluffy sheep shaped cloud in the sky. So if for some reason the local data is lost, you can rest assured that it’s safe somewhere else. Nothing else but what you’ve already done with setting up Time Machine is needed. It’s actually quite simple the way it works. Instead of loading up Time Machine to schedule your backups, you’ll use Dolly Drive instead. It’ll look incredibly similar, so any pro or novice will be able to catch on.
Of course, since this is an online back up, you’ll need a shit ton of time. Especially if you are backing up TBs of information. I used the service with my MacBook Air, and with only about 20GBs of information on this little guy, I only had 15GBs of data to transfer. I left it overnight, and with my lack of sleep, 4-5 hours later, I still had 2 hours to go. I have a pretty fast upload speed, so for the normal folks out there, be ready to take a vacation and leave your computer running. But the time it takes is nothing compared to the fact that you are doubling up on the safety of your precious information.
Another helpful feature built into Dolly Drive is the ability to clone your hard drive using Dolly Clone. This is a feature that I feel should of been built into Time Machine to begin with. It wasn’t, but luckily Dolly Drive thought to add it to their application. If you aren’t sure what a clone of your drive entails, let’s just say, if you clone your hard drive, and the one inside you computer happens to crash, you can boot from the clone and have an exact replica (read: clone) of your drive and not skip a beat. And as soon as you happen to replace that internal drive, you can then just transfer that clone over to pick up where you left off.
Dolly Clone is horribly simple and is one of the best utilities a person can have access to. What I ended up doing, is backing up my data to Dolly Drive that is local to my MacBook Air. I took the local Time Machine drive and created a clone of my MacBook Air since I no longer needed that drive. I now have the assurance that my information is securely backed up with Dolly Drive while also knowing that I have the local bootable version if it is ever needed.
Just like the rest of the Dolly Drive experience, it is quite simple to create a clone, as well as keep it updated. As with the online backups, you can schedule when the clone is updated.
Pricing and Plans
Dolly Drive is reasonably priced and has a plethora of storage options for you to choose from. You can start your subscription small and run 50GB of back up for $3 a month, or bump way up to 2TB for $40 a month. The are 100GB, 250GB, 500GB as well as 1TB options to fill your needs. A Family bundle has also recently been added starting with 250GB for $7/month, blasting all the way up to 8TB of back up space for only $143.96.
With many of the plans available, Dolly Drive also adds a Get Me To The Cloud Faster option for free. This gives you the ability to FedEx your hard drive content to Dolly Drive to have the set up the online back up. So if you have 2TBs of crap you need backed up, instead of leaving your stuff running for 2 months, this is an extremely helpful option to have.
A worthy mention is the fact that an extra 5GB is added to your account for each month you remain with Dolly Drive.
Dolly Drive is a must have for anyone that currently backs up their data. This easily adds a second layer of protection utilizing online back ups and the Dolly Clone service. It integrates so well with Time Machine and the Settings application, and it works seamlessly, you would think the Mac sitting in front of you came with this software pre-installed. It just works, and it works well. After using the software for 2 weeks, I can say with confidence that the only hiccup I had was the time it took to back up 20GB of data. I know I’ll get this anywhere I take my precious data to, so I really can’t gripe on it too much.
If you back up with Time Machine, I would recommend giving this a go. If you have a smaller SSD drive, I would start there. Use one of the smaller packages and try it out. If you use another service, I would still say because of the ease of use, it’s worth giving it a try. You’ll spend the time doing it, but it is worth the Apple-ish environment.
Dolly Drive is at MacWorld right now. If you are in the area, I would suggest stopping by and seeing them. They are a great bunch of guys with an amazing product on their hands. I can’t recommend the application enough.
Has anyone out there tried Dolly Drive? If so, leave your thoughts in the comments.