HP has entered the online backup space with a new product called Upline . It's a decent cloud-based backup product at a good price point, but it has a few frustrating limitations.
The good news first: The software is simple to get started with and the paid plans provide unlimited storage for your documents, photos, music, and video files . The system checks for new files by default every 15 minutes, and uploads your data to the HP-run servers in a quiet background process.
Upline's desktop widget.
There's a free version that gives you 1GB of online storage for a year, but if you're serious about backup you'll want one of the paid versions. The least expensive $59/year Home plan gives you the unlimited storage and allows up to three PCs to share the online storage pool. Family plans and small office plans give you individual storage bins, and the business plans also give you an administrator's dashboard.
The product allows for Web-based access to your backed-up files, which is very nice if you want to grab a something when you're away from your PC. You can also share files via e-mail or publish files for public access.
Upline can also back up files to a local device, such as a second hard drive, a server, or a PC on the local network. I don't know of any other products that handle both local and Web-based backup. It's a very cool feature.
The product is based on Titanize, which HP acquired when it bought the company Opelin last year. I've always thought Titanize was an underappreciated backup application . Perhaps HP was listening.
Now, the flip side. The biggest turn off is that Upline does not backup e-mail files. That's planned for the future, according to HP, but backup users will need it now. Imagine losing your e-mail archive. Enough said.
Another missing piece: System restore. Upline is a document and media backup product. It won't store your programs or system settings. So if your hard disk crashes, you can't use it to rebuild your system.
The application doesn't offer PC-to-PC sync , which to many is an obscure feature, but I think it's one of the most valuable data safety and convenience applications you can have on a personal computer. There's no virtual drive, such as XDrive has, which makes using the service just a little more tedious than it needs to be. Also, it's PC only on the backup side, although any machine with a browser can view Upline archive pages. There's also no mobile client. Finally, the search feature seems to only search file names, not files' contents.
Upline is neither a perfect backup tool nor a complete integrated online storage suite. However, at this price point, given its unlimited backup space and its straightforward sharing options, it's a good deal.
The desktop application is pretty straightforward for a backup product.
See also: Mozy and Carbonite .
This review has been updated from the original: Information was added on backing up data to a local device.
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Oakland Crimespotting is an amazing interactive map that provides comprehensive information about the latest crimes in the Oakland area. The presentation is fluid and seamless -- you can use the sliders to adjust the time span, zoom out to see a larger area, and select the crimes you want to see. You can even click on each crime to find out more information about it, like the date and time it was committed as well as the actual case number. There's also a way for you to set up crime alerts to be delivered to you via RSS or email.
This is a project by the folks over at Stamen Design , the guys who designed the Digg visualizers as well as much of Pownce , the latest social network cum microblogging service to hit the Web 2.0 scene. The crime information is collected via CrimeWatch , the City of Oakland Police Department's community crime mapping web site, and presented in a much more interactive and appealing way. You can read the more detailed technical information on how they did it over on Michal Migurski's blog .
They created the site because they felt the map-first approach is a much more natural way for people to navigate the crime information, and I have to say, I definitely agree. This is a perfect example of using Web 2.0 technologies for public service, and I only wish there were more of these.
My networking-savvy colleague Bob Laliberte and I just got back from Interop in New York City . While at the show, we met with a number of leading networking vendors to discuss trends in the data center. Why the data center focus? Between data center consolidation, server virtualization, Web 2.0 applications, the convergence of storage and data, and power/cooling concerns, data center networks are rapidly changing.
Aside from these macro trends, there is something else going on. In connecting specific applications/services to specific users and groups, high-bandwidth data center networks are actually made up of numerous subsegments that ESG calls Virtual Micro Networks .
The VMN concept goes well beyond Virtual Local Area Networks . Like VLANs or any other network, VMNs transport data from source to destination. But VMNs extend beyond transport to consider security, location, users, and applications. VMNs address:
Who wants the information? VMNs can adjust for device type, network location, and the identity and role of the person on the other end of the pipe.
What is the information? VMNs also must be aware of traffic type. For example, voice, video, and storage traffic is extremely latency-sensitive while HTTP traffic is not. Additionally, some network traffic may contain confidential information that should be encrypted or even blocked.
What are the specific characteristics of the information? Network-based applications may be made up of numerous services that come together at the user browser. How they get there isn't always straightforward, thus the rise of vendors like Citrix NetScaler and F5 Networks. This is also where security comes into play as certain traffic may be especially sensitive, suspicious, or susceptible.
Where is the information? The answer to this question used to be a physical server or storage device but application switching and server/storage virtualization makes this more dynamic and complex.
Yes, I know that these aren't new issues, but a combination of massive latency-sensitive unpredictable traffic, sophisticated security threats, dynamically changing data center hardware, and network-centric applications are driving the creation of VMNs and making things a heck of a lot more complex.
To me, the onset and growing need for VMNs changes the data center networking market. Users will want to work with vendors who understand these requirements and can offer the whole enchilada: fast dense switches, security, application services, etc. This helps the big guys and means that little guys must partner effectively. VMNs also demand extremely flexible management tools that can help users change on a dime, automate manual tasks, and audit everything.
I see the future but am sure glad that all I have to do is understand and write about it rather than develop or implement it.
Jon Oltsik is a senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group .