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BuddyBackup's logo. Click here to visit the BuddyBackup website! DataBarracks offers unusual backup solution
(Monday, April 10, 2006 - 16:47 EDT)

One of the biggest dilemmas faced by anybody who regularly uses computers - photographer or otherwise - is how to ensure that your data remains safe from harm by equipment failures, viruses and the like.

A London, England-based company called DataBarracks has today unveiled a rather unique solution to the problem, relying on the fact that large hard drives and broadband connections are fairly ubiquitous these days. BuddyBackup, a program that can be used free of charge (with some limitations) lets you store copies of your valuable data on computers belonging to friends and colleagues - in return for allowing them to store some of their own data on your machine. Currently it is available for Windows XP only, although the company notes that versions for users of Mac OS and Linux are planned.

The program requires you to register a password-protected account on your first use, which serves as a unique identity in BuddyBackup's network. You then set up which directories you'd like to watch for files to back up, as well as how much data you'd like to backup to your buddies (and in return, how much space on your machine you're willing to devote to the needs of your buddies).

You then add the account names of your friends, or enter their email address to find their account. If their email address isn't recognized, you can send an invitation email suggesting they sign up. Databarracks recommends having somewhere from two to five buddies' accounts added, although more are possible.

Once you've added your buddies, they are asked if they'd like to volunteer space on their computer to store copies of your files, and they can request to backup their own data to your machine if you choose to let them. Whenever the program is running, it will watch the directories you selected for updated files, and upload the data to your buddies when they're next shown as online (and presuming they have space available).

For an extra level of redundancy, you can choose to have copies of your files uploaded to multiple buddies - so that for example, at any one time, there will be two (or more) copies of all your backed up files available, each copy being stored on a separate buddy's computer.

Since you might not feel comfortable sharing the contents of your files with everybody who's volunteered space to you, the files stored on your buddies' computers are obscured using AES 128 bit encryption before they're sent. Files being backed up are also compressed in an attempt to keep size down, although obviously many formats (for example, JPEG images) will already have been compressed when they were saved, so preventing much further space savings from recompression.

The idea is not necessarily without potential difficulties. For example, not everyone will have the space available to donate to buddies, nor necessarily know anybody else who'd be willing to offer backup space to them. Depending on how frequently you see your buddies online, it could also take a while to retrieve copies of your backed-up files if necessary. Still, it seems like quite a useful solution for friends, family or work colleagues to help each other out (and receive help in return).

We wouldn't necessarily recommend using BuddyBackup to back up huge amounts of data, nor as your only backup solution (and we have to note, we've not had an opportunity to try it out for ourselves yet). As an extra way to save copies of your very most important documents or images though, it could just save your goat when your other backup methods had unexpectedly failed you. If you and your buddies already leave your computers running and online much or all of the time, it might be worth giving it a try!

As previously noted, BuddyBackup is currently available for Windows XP only, with Mac OS and Linux versions planned. The free version is limited to three buddies, five gigabytes of backup space, and forum-only support, and contains advertisements to pay for the product. Alternatively, the program can be purchased (removing the ads and limitations, and adding email support) for a cost of US$16 /€16 / £10.

Original Source Press Release:

Databarracks launch BuddyBackup Free Online Backup for Home Users

10th April 2006 - Databarracks today announced the release of BuddyBackup a completely free online backup service. BuddyBackup is free software, which allows computer users to backup data to friends', family or colleagues'
computers securely across the internet. BuddyBackup allows computer users to backup files, photos, music or virtually any computer data to be securely and remotely backed up with no charge at all.

As with normal paid services, BuddyBackup can keep multiple copies of important data securely and remotely on any Windows XP based machine. Data is encrypted and compressed before being sent over the internet and can only be viewed by the user whose data it is. BuddyBackup even keeps multiple versions of data allowing users to retrieve an older version of a file.

"We see this as a revolution in the online backup industry; by using the power of grid storage or basically utilising the amount of free space on computer hard drives, we can offer a service which is completely free"
Peter Groucutt, Databarracks Managing Director commented earlier today.

The software is available to anyone to download and should be particularly popular with home users and students who have important data to backup, but to whom a commercial online backup solution is unaffordable.

"We are bracing ourselves for uptake in pretty large numbers; the service should be incredibly popular. We have added a forum to the BuddyBackup site so that even people who do not know anyone to whom they could backup can meet other Buddies from around the world and share space."

BuddyBackup is a free online backup utility from Databarracks, one of the worlds' leading online backup companies. Databarracks is based in Waterloo in London, and serves customers small and large from New Zealand to New York and throughout the UK.

Databarracks has online backup solutions to suit all budgets and requirements from home users, using our Boomerang Backup Service, home and small office users through DBVault and large corporate customers through our Arxcis and bespoke backup solutions.

Databarracks also runs the SmartBackup service for PC World, the U.K.'s largest PC retailer.

To find out more information about BuddyBackup go to:

To find out more about Databarracks go to: www.databarracks.com

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