Online Backups – Live Mesh and Skydrive


Live Mesh and Skydrive are both offerings from Microsoft.  If you have a hotmail, msn, or live e-mail account, then you already have a Skydrive account as well.  If you have a live space, you do too (for those who don’t use Microsoft’s e-mail but do use Live Spaces).  Also, if you have a domain at Office Live, you have a Skydrive account associated to that.

At first glance, plus from reading the entries in the Skydrive Developers Blog, I have to say that it’s more of a share your files and pictures with your friends site, then an online backup solution.  Most of the features are geared towards making sure that your Live Spaces friends can find the files you’ve uploaded (and you can find out when they upload files).  Although you do have a “Private folder” and you have 25 GB of space, I wouldn’t be too quick to classify this as an online backup solution.

Plus with Skydrive, you must manually select and upload the individual files.  This is definitely not something that would make for a good backup (as most people don’t want to take the time to backup their files now).  If Microsoft opens the API, and someone creates a backup client, then I could see Skydrive taking off.  Especially with 25GB free storage.

As it stands right now, I wouldn’t feel comfortable in backing up any confidential data to Skydrive (and I have a feeling that even the Microsoft team would question the sanity of anyone that would).

How about Live Mesh though?  It’s supposed to be Microsoft’s entry into the “Cloud”.  But is it?  And is it worth it?  LIve Mesh appears to be similar to DropBox—in that it will allow you to synch your files from one PC or Mac to another device that’s capable of running the software.  It can be another PC or Mac, or some portable devices.

You simply install the software on your computer, right click on the folders that you want to synch, and choose the “Synch to Live Mesh” option.  On the other computers, you sign into Live Mesh, and choose the folders that you want to synch to that computer, and select the option “Synch with this computer.”  After you’ve installed the Live Mesh software of course.

If you have a folder or folders that you want to share, you can do that as well.  Simply click on Members on the folder’s options (inside of Mesh) and enter the person'(s) e-mail address.  You are able to send posts through Mesh to the people who are sharing a folder, and if they are on your Windows Live Messenger contact list, you can open a chat window from Mesh.

If you’re away from your computers, you can access your Mesh and do some limited things through Internet Explorer.  You can manage your folders, and even upload files from the computer you’re on into a folder and vice vesa (even if it’s not part of your mesh).  You are also able to connect to the computer remotely from other computers—even computers which aren’t in your Mesh.

Of the two, I have to say that Live Mesh is the closest thing to an online backup solution.  It’s on par with Dropbox—rather than Mozy and iDrive.  You do get 5GB of free space with Live Mesh (where Dropbox, Mozy, and iDrive only give you 2 GB).  I would say that a combination of Skydrive’s space, and Live Mesh’s features would be awesome.

If you’re looking for an online backup solution, I’d suggest one of the other options.  But if you’re looking for a synchronization system, Live Mesh may be a good choice (and a reasonable excuse for an online backup system).

Next time, I’ll look at Amazon S3. I don’t have an Amazon S3 account, and probably won’t have one for the review.  However, I will do my best to review it and one of the clients that are available to help you work with it.

Have a great day:)
Patrick.

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