CollectionMine

… online data backup solutions and storage

admin2 On March - 9 - 2011

online data backup

The most common complaint of offsite data backup is the amount of time it takes to transfer your computer files from your computer to the backup server.

A lot of people wrongly assume that somehow it is the fault of the backup program that the whole process so slow. Here’s some information that will help you understand the ins and outs of backing up your data remotely.

The first concept to understand is “bandwidth.” What is it? Bandwidth is a measure of the maximum amount of data that can be moved at any given time. It is commonly used to describe what is more accurately called “data transfer.”

A simple way to understand the concept of bandwidth is to think of it as a bridge, and transfer as the number of vehicles on that bridge.

The bridge is designed to handled 5000 vehicles per hour — that is the maximum number of vehicles that can use the bridge at any given time.

During rush hour there may be 5000 vehicles per hour crossing the bridge. At midnight there may be only 5 vehicles per hour.

The transfer is variable depending on how many vehicles are crossing the bridge. Remember, the number can’t exceed 5000 vehicles per hour (the bandwidth).

With this mental image of bandwidth and transfer fresh in our minds, let’s move on to the next concept to understand. What is “data”?

Data is everything on your computer. It is everything on the internet. It is web pages, songs, movies, email and so on.

Data is usually measured in either kilobits or megabits (1 Mb = 1000 Kb). 

Don’t confused bits with bytes. For your information, 8 bits = 1 byte. The reason internet service providers prefer to measure in bits instead of bytes is because it makes the numbers look bigger and more impressive. For instance, 5Mb/second looks much bigger than 0.625MB, but they are equal amounts of data. 

It is important to know what your internet service provider is promising you because they may not live up to their promises. It is much like the gas mileage promised by car manufacturers: the maximum number measured under ideal conditions. Chances are your car will never consistently achieve that mileage, and your internet service provider will never consistently deliver the data transfer they promised.

So what does this mean to you? Internet service providers have limited bandwidth resources. They choose to deploy these resources where their customers most often use them, which is downloading. Downloading is moving data from a remote computer to your computer. Their customers most often download big things like movies, songs and pictures.

Think of downloading as vehicles crossing the bridge to head into downtown. Most of the vehicles on the bridge are going in that direction. 

Uploading is moving data from your computer to a remote computer. It’s like vehicles crossing the bridge to get out of downtown. There’s very few of them compared to the ones going in the opposite direction.

Since far more customers are downloading than uploading, the internet service provider has to make compromises. After all, they have a limit on their bandwidth (remember the maximum 5000 cars per hour on the bridge?).

The compromise they make is with upload speed. They would lose most of their customers if they reduced download speed, but very few customers would be affected by reduced upload speed.

Simply put, backing up your data (which is uploading) is a lot less common than downloading movies and such. Your upload speed will be much, much slower than your download speed. 

If you want to speed up your uploading, talk to your internet service provider about a solution. 

We hope this clears things up for you. Yes, backing up your data offsite may take a long time, but has nothing to do with the backup software. 

CollectionMine strongly suggests that for your initial backups you choose the most important data to back up first. Once everything is finally backed up, all future backups will be much quicker — only new or changed data will have to be uploaded. 

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