Dolly Drive launched in 2010 as a crazy idea: why not back up your Mac with Time Machine over the web?! The firm proved through the years that it wasn’t as odd a concept because it first seemed. It is a rather simple solution that hides the underlying management complexity. Its software simulates a disk that Mac OS X believes is a networked volume available for Time Machine backups. Apple’s backup processes handle transfers and restores.
However, it competes with hosted Internet backup options along with CrashPlan () and Jungle Disk . These services provide their very own backup software interface and back-end handling, as opposed to counting on OS X’s Time Machine, and frequently have substantially more granular settings for which files are backed up and at what frequency. Backup-only services could be far cheaper. CrashPlan’s single-computer unlimited backup price is $5 per thirty days, while Dolly Drive includes just 50GB for a single-user account intended for a single computer. (See Which online backup service is ideal for you? for more information about online backup services.)
Dolly Drive has expanded its basic features, and finally ends up now being a one-stop solution for local and Internet-hosted backups, synchronization, and remote Finder-mountable disk storage, with a disk cloning utility thrown in-if you are the proper fit for its choices. The new 2.2 software update added sync and a mountable volume. This makes its pricing more reasonable if you need an array of services from a single company. As an example, Dropbox charges $10 per 30 days for 50GB of storage. Dolly Drive offers individual plans with as much as 2TB and family plans with as much as 8TB of storage.
While I tested each of Dolly Drive’s features, this newsletter makes a speciality of suitable replacements or alternatives to MobileMe’s Finder-mountable Internet-hosted iDisk storage, 0 which disappears on June 30, 2012 .
Let me start by defining Dolly Drive’s five services to differentiate them. Dolly Drive’s initial service was Cloud Backup, which remains on the top of its offerings. It’s going to also manage local backups using Time Machine, providing scheduling and file inclusion by folder location in a sense that Apple’s built-in feature lacks. This selection works fine in testing, and is indistinguishable from a native Time Machine backup, except within the limits of information transfer over your broadband connection.
Bandwidth Control: Dolly Drive can’t throttle your usage across a month to bypass data usage capping, metering, and throttling, nevertheless it can limit average bandwidth use.
Its Clone feature resembles that of 2 Carbon Copy Cloner 1 or 3 Super Duper! 2 without an identical depth of features, which include scheduling. Clone inexcusably lacks information on its plain progress meter that might tell you the genuine extent of progress, an estimate of time remaining, or other feedback. Clones can take quite some time. And its process for choosing a source and destination volume leaves something to be desired in the case of feedback about making the precise choice and the action to turn up . It might be nice to have a summary that said, rather than Continue and Abort buttons, “Drive could be erased and entirely replaced with a a twin of drive.” It may perform incremental updates to cloned drives, however.
But the true gold is in Dolly Sync and Dolly Space. Within the simplest explanation, Dolly Sync is 4 Dropbox 3 and Dolly Space replaces iDisk. The honour between the 2 in all fairness clear. Sync is confined to a folder to your Desktop. Anything dropped into the Sync folder remains for your local drive, is copied to Dolly Drive’s central servers, and is then replicated to some other computer on that you have Dolly Drive installed and the Sync option enabled. Sync combines local and central storage with replication. Remove something from the Sync folder and it’s removed everywhere. This works exactly like a Dropbox (or 5 SugarSync 4 , 6 Google Drive 5 , 7 SkyDrive 6 , or 8 Box 7 ) sync folder.
Dolly Space is a Finder-mountable remote volume that requires the separate installation of 9 OSX FUSE 8 , which permits non-standard volume types to be mounted. (No restart is needed after installing OSX FUSE.) Space is a web-hosted disk volume, and, unlike sync, a neighborhood copy of the file will not be stored nor cached. You could move (Command-drag) files from local drives to the distance drive, and they’re deleted locally and stored remotely. That you can open files from the remote drive in applications, and the file is first transferred for your machine inside the way that any file on a mounted volume is temporarily copied, after which opened. (iDisk could conflate sync and remote volume if you’d enabled the local caching option, although as it worked so poorly, i am not sure if it was commonplace.)
iDolly: A free iOS app lets you view account details and retrieve files in Dolly Sync and Dolly Space.
Both synchronized and Space-stored files may be accessed through Dolly Drive’s Website if you find yourself logged into your account, in addition to during the free 1 iDolly iOS app 0 . Within the current release, the quantity of storage allocated to Sync in a 50GB account is 6GB and to Space 12GB. However, Cirrus Thinking said users can request those allocations be changed, and plans to permit user-selectable allocations. (Allocations are proportionately larger with larger individual plans, and with per-machine storage allotments in a family plan.)
While Dolly Space can replace iDisk roughly entirely, Dolly Sync has some shortfalls in the event you use Dropbox et al. for anything but simple synchronization. Inside the current release, you can not selectively sync, or choose or omit sub-folders within the sync folders for particular machines. There isn’t a choice to share folders with other Dolly Drive users, and there is no strategy to create a publicly shared item. It also lacks an interface for restoring deleted files or finding older versions. If you want any of those features, you wish to have an entire-featured sync/storage service.
Web Access: Dolly Sync and Dolly Space files could be accessed through an online account, in addition at the Desktop and via iOS.Dolly Drive offers a perhaps too vast array of pricing options. For a single user with a single computer, you could pay from $5 monthly and not using a commitment for as much as 50 GB of storage, your entire strategy to $40 monthly for as much as 2TB of storage. Discounts range from 20 to 40 percent for six-month, 1-year, and a pair of-year prepaid subscriptions.
As with all remote storage and backup systems, you could be afflicted by heartbreak of knowledge caps and overage fees along with your broadband service. You might have considered trying to back up 1TB of knowledge, but your provider limits you to 250GB per 30 days or charges $10 per 50GB above a cap of 100 or 200GB. To work around that problem, Cirrus Thinking offers 3 a seeding service 2 wherein you perform a neighborhood backup using a drive it sends you, and also you return. Subsequent remote backups are then incremental. The choice costs $50 for low-priced plan, and is included with higher-priced offerings.
Macworld’s buying advice
Dolly Drive is a portmanteau of remote storage, backup, and access options, none of which it provides any great depth of dials to curve. But most users likely don’t want lots of the settings available with separately subscribed services. Dolly Drive generally is a simple answer to a complete set of problems multi function package.
[Glenn Fleishman, a senior contributor to Macworld, started backing up his files on paper tape and cassette tapes in 1980, and proceed through floppies, DAT, DLT, and difficult drives. His latest book is 4 Take Control of Your 802.11n AirPort Network 3 for Lion.]