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17 Dec 2010
(4.5 Stars out of Possible 5)
Reviewed on Dec 17, 2010
Note: Our previous review of KineticD (formerly known as DataDepositBox) is found here
KineticD, of Acpana Business Systems, Inc, is the new Avatar of Data Deposit Box. New, added features distinguish it from its earlier version. The fine tuning and release of a newer and more technically elegant version of their software underscores their commitment to providing their customers — small, medium and growing enterprises — with the best of the breed backup solutions.
KineticD, formerly known as DataDepositBox, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, has a second office in New York City.
The Non Executive Director & Chairman of the company, Eric Goodwin has forty years of entrepreneurship and is a member of several boards; advisor to Venture Capitalists and management teams that build software applications for small and medium businesses. Jamie Brenzel, is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the company and Tim Jewell is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer. While Jamie Brenzel, has more than 15 years of experience in investment banking and start-ups; Tim Jewell is the inventor of KineticD. Software design and web interface expert, Rob Schenkel, is co-founder and VP of Technology. The operations of the company are further supported by Neil Selfe, a Non-Executive Director who has years of experience in technology, communications, structured products and financial institutions coverage groups. Another addition to the distinguished group is Peter Carroll; a Non-Executive Director who has successfully established several technology based businesses. Last year, KineticD has added Lee Garrison as Chief Marketing Officer.
The company is democratic enough to offer its customers an option to try its product before they subscribe. A fully functional 14-day trial version of the software can be downloaded and tried out without commitment. Trial users can upload as much data as they think necessary and walk through all the features of the product with varying loads until they are satisfied with the functioning of the offering. At the end of the trial, users can choose to commit their data to the safekeeping of KineticD. All data uploaded during the trial period can be retained if the client so desires. If the client decides to walk away, all data uploaded during the trial will be deleted.
KineticD offers two services: (1) KineticSecure, which is an online data backup and recovery service for SMBs with limited IT resources; and (2) KineticExtend, which is a web based remote desktop access service that lets users securely logon to a remote PC or server to retrieve files, run applications and use network resources such as printers and mapped drives. KineticExtend is also available as a free iPad and iPhone app. Users need to remember that KineticExtend accesses Windows based operating systems that come with enabled RDP (for example: Windows 7 Professional).
The website of the company is extremely user friendly and users can navigate to the subscription forms with ease from the home page. The form itself is simple and requires no extraordinary computing skills at the customer end to register for the service. Users will find it easy to install the lightweight client software and manage their preferences, settings and stored data through the secure web portal without any kind of training whatsoever!
KineticD provides the best quality fast Dell RAID 6 servers that allow for faster backup from all computers. The customer backup is immediately backed up into another RAID 6 server for additional security and redundancy of data. This makes for high availability and instantaneous failovers in the event the online backup server encounters a hardware or software glitch. The hot site takes over seamlessly without the user being aware of the server changeover, however, temporary.
KineticD’s data center is Carrier Grade. Cisco based switched networks are used and redundancy is built into routers, firewalls and Internet providers. BGP and HSRP protocols are used to implement the failover and redundancy.
Once installed on the system, KineticD begins evaluation and automatic backup of data. Even open files can be backed up to the server. The backup continues unobtrusively in the background throttling bandwidth during high usage and using up all available bandwidth during idle system time. This feature gives users the option to schedule continuous backups of data at the point of data generation. Alternate scheduling options are also available.
Limiting or throttling data upload is another feature that is unique to KineticD. Users can opt to stop or slow down data upload as the amount of data backed up reaches a specified limit. The limits can be set on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
KineticD also allows backup from a variety of sources. Users can schedule backups from hard drives, removable media, external hard drives and mapped drives. All data being backed up from the different sources is encrypted with the Blowfish Encryption algorithm, which is higher than a bank grade encryption system– even before it leaves the PC or Mac or Server. Files are also stored in the data repository in the encrypted format, providing an additional layer of security to enterprise data. The encryption key remains with the user and the data can only be accessed if the correct encryption key is input.
The password security system that is enforced on the user is excellent. The security system is modelled on bank grade security systems. The password itself is encrypted and stored in the server database and no one can read or access the password in the database without being authenticated by alternate parameters that are only known to the user.
Every file transferred to the data center from the customer’s computer is verified for integrity and CRC signature. The verification process is repeated when the file is written to disk. Files that fail verification are retransmitted from the source, verified again and then written to disk.
Deletion of data that has been backed up to KineticD backup servers is not automatic. No data will be deleted from the server just because it no longer exists on the user’s hard drive or source. Users will have to use the Cleanup Wizard tool or manually remove or delete any information that they no longer want in their backup repository.
KineticD facilitates online access to backed up data. It allows its customers to share or restore data to any location provided the computing environment is the same or similar. KineticD agents are available for Windows and Mac systems. Multiple files, versions of files and folders can be recovered through KineticD’s web portal. The Web Cart feature allows users to zip all files and download them to the system from any location at all times.
The pricing structure is very attractive. The company charges $2 per GB of storage per month. Users can add as many PCs, Macs and servers to the account without any additional or hidden fees. The best part is that you pay as you go so you only pay for the storage you are actually using.
FAQs and self-help files are extremely detailed and users can find most solutions to most vexing problems. If that does not satisfy users they can write to the support team using the email ids provided or talk to a real customer support personnel over telephone and get their problems solved.
With a count of 40,000 small and medium business customers to their credit and the Best SaaS Business Application Award to distinguish them, the company is all set to grow into a vendor of importance in the online backup space. The backup software can be rated 4.5 stars out of 5.
Pros of Using KineticD
Trial / Interface
Backup / Features
Cons of Using KineticD
· Does not support native Linux client (but does support mapped file systems)
Co-founder and CEO: Jamie Brenzel [Our interview with Jamie is here]
Signing up for a KineticD account (formerly Data Deposit Box) is a two-step process. The subscriber is required to enter some minimum personal details on the form displayed on the website before the account can be created and activated. Once the account is created, the subscriber receives an email with a link for activating the account and downloading the agent that needs to be installed on the client machine that is to be backed up.
The website and client side agents are available for Windows or Mac machines in six different languages — French, English, Danish, German, Spanish and Swedish.
High speed Internet connectivity is recommended for the use, but the backup software works well on slow connections too. Minimum hardware requirements for the installation of the agent, is also prescribed on the download screen. The agent is configured to work on Windows 95b upwards to Windows 7, Vista and 2008 Servers with Pentium 4, 512 GHz, 1 GB RAM and 5GB hard drive space; Mac OS X Leopard 19.5.7 Processor with 1.54 GHz Power PC with 512 MB RAM and 5 GB hard drive space. The backup software is compatible with home and office hardware firewalls as the software appears as a web browser application to the firewall. The software uses port 80 and 443 for the HTTP and HTTPS.
The Installation Process
The .exe file that gets downloaded on to the system is 2.1 MB for Mac machines and 13.1 MB for Windows. The installation process also takes less than ten minutes.
The installation wizard is intuitive and requires very little input from the end user. The Wizard automatically scans the system and identifies the files and folders that may require backup. The user is given the option to modify the backup recommendations that are made by the installation wizard.
Once the installation is complete, the user is asked to enter the user id and password that was set during the activation of the account. If the user is authenticated, the agent immediately begins to backup all the files and folders. As with any online service, the initial backup can take a lot of time, as a large volume of files and folders may have to be backed up. The user may want to avoid backing up large media files (music, movies, pictures) at first to ensure a complete initial backup. The agent, first, automatically estimates the number of files and folders for initial backup; the size of the backup and keeps count of the number of files backed up and the size of the files backed up. There is also a link at the bottom of the screen that provides access to the online storage via a web interface.
The agent continues to work in the background unless suspended by the user. A small icon is deposited in the status bar and can be accessed at any time to check the status of the backup or to initiate other associated activities. The working of the agent does not disturb other applications that are in use and does not take up system resources inordinately.
Resetting the Defaults to Suit your Needs
The graphical user interface that appears when the icon on the status bar is double clicked (single click on Mac) offers access to the different default settings that are active immediately after installation. The user can reset the defaults to suit his specific needs by selecting one of the icons available on the left menu bar on the interface.
The Options button opens an option window that contains various tabs for resetting the defaults.
Suspend refers to suspension of backup. The choices available are Suspend Off and Suspend On (1 minute; 5 minutes). After the time specified for Suspend On lapses, the system automatically activates the backup process again until paused by user activity.
The number of versions that can be saved is by default 3. However, 4, 14 or 28 versions can be saved.
Delay between saving of one version and another can be set to No Delay or anything between 2, 4, 8, 12 and 24 hours.
Log Level can be set to Normal or High.
Under Bandwidth/CPU Allocation section, Update System Clock, Enable Browser Access and Password Protect settings are set to Yes by default. User can choose to set it to No as per their convenience.
Under the Folders tab, users can choose to reset the archive flag on selected folders. Advanced options for use of proxy servers and for location of temporary files are not set by default. Users can choose to set the same.
The block out screen allows users to select specific dates and times on which backups will not occur.
The Exclude tab allows users to specify the files and folders that must be excluded during backup. By default, it is empty.
Open files backup requires the installation of a driver. If users want open files or emails to be backed up continuously, the open file driver can be installed. The Open Files tab gives access to the button that starts the installation of the driver.
The Other Menu Options
The Report option allows the user to view log files of the backup and is extremely useful for troubleshooting. The reports of the preceding day can be viewed by navigating to “C:\Program Files\Data Deposit Box => Logs. The level of detail that is stored in the log file can be changed by accessing Log Level settings under the Options. If the log level is retained at HIGH, the log will be greatly detailed and the log file will be very large. It is best to keep the log level at NORMAL and to archive/delete the log files so that disk space is not taken up by old log files. The default is NORMAL.
The initial backup of files and folders may take some time depending on the speed of the Internet connection and the volume of files and folders to be backed up. Since it runs quietly in the background and does not hog the CPU usage, users do not find the initial backup process disturbing or intrusive.
Subsequent backups are triggered by changes in files and folders. The backup client monitors the selected files and folders continuously and starts the backup of files and folders that have changed. The system intelligently extracts only parts of the files that have changed and then compresses and encrypts them before transmitting the same to the online backup server.
By default, the online backup feature is always on. However, users can suspend backup or block out backup by resetting the defaults. Backup Now overrides all suspend and block out options that may be set and will backup the most current versions of data on the system.
KineticSecure automatically monitors the backup process. In case a backup process fails, an email alert is sent to the user. The backup log also records the success or failure of the backup and other details such as time taken to backup and so on. If no backup activity takes place for some time, an email alert is also sent to the user, reminding them to backup their files.
Accessing Backed up Data
Backed up data can be accessed by logging into the account using the agent on the system and connecting to the database on the backup server over the Internet. Alternately, users can access the data using a web browser and login to the account via the web interface and view the data. Both the agent application and the web-interface access the same database and display the data in similar ways. Users can perform all operations on the web interface that they perform using the agent software, such as, modification, deletion or upload of data.
Additionally, the web-interface permits users to access data anywhere, anytime, from any machine and location since it is platform independent. Users can also share files and folders with third parties via the web using a secure link and setting a password for added security.
Restoring Files and Folders
The restore option provides access to the data stored online for recovery. By default, the restore utility is designed to restore the entire path. To change the path of restore or restore data into a new folder, the same will have to be specified. If the volume of data to be restored is very large, refer to the help files or Support for recommendations.
All backed up systems and all versions of files backed up will be visible to the end user for selection and restore. Users have to merely check mark the files and folders that need to be downloaded and the files/folders and versions selected will be restored. Users also have the option of overwriting existing files and folders with backed up versions. The Unattended Mode will complete the restore even if errors occur. Users will have to verify logs to ensure that the restore operation went through without a hitch.
The drag and drop facility for dragging and dropping files from the online backup server to the system on which the files need to be restored is also available for those who find it easier to do so using this facility.
Clean up and Delete
Clean up is an option that can be used to search for orphaned folders/files that have been deleted from the computer, but still available in the storage. The clean up wizard can be launched to delete files that you no longer want in storage. Users can also manually delete files and folders by selecting them.
The help option gives access to help files on the website of the company. The help files are extremely detailed and are sufficient to guide even the novice, through the process of installing and using the software for backup and restore of files and folders.
This is perhaps the factor that tilts decisions in favour of KineticD. The company offers pay as you go pricing. Users are charged at a nominal rate of $2 per GB of data uploaded to the data center. So, enterprises can upload as much data as they want and only pay for the space that they use on the backup servers. There are no hidden costs and no extra charges for anything.
The Pricing page on the website even provides a comparative costing for the customer’s understanding of what they are getting for the price they are paying. This is strategically a great way to sell.
So, what is the consensus opinion? KineticSecure from KineticD is an excellent online data backup software to go with. The user interface is simple to install and even simpler to use. The user is always in control of the data that is uploaded, modified, accessed or deleted.
KineticD’s data center is in the heart of financial district of Toronto. The service offers global exclusions that allow the user to skip the backup on Temporary Internet Files, System Restore information, Recycle Bin on individual drives, and more. When evaluated against similar backup agent based software, KineticSecure certainly stands out as a robust and sturdy product that users can subscribe to without a second thought.
In our previous review, we pointed out marketing as one of KineticD’s weaknesses. It looks like the company has taken this feedback seriously and strengthened its marketing team by adding Lee Garrison as its CMO.
KineticD provides an ideal online backup solution for SMBs. Formerly known as DataDepositBox, the company has been awarded a patent for its Continuous Backup technology. The company has been growing rapidly, and was selected as the 19th fastest growing technology company in Canada by Deloitte Technology Fast 50.
KineticD has more than 40,000 customers; and it is lean and run efficiently as there are only 15 employees in the company for such huge number of clients. KineticD’s success is largely due to its strong resellers network Partners Program, and its management.
KineticD charges per account, not per computer. The price is nominal. This means that it is an appropriate solution for budget-tight companies with a multiple of computers. The total price payable is based on actual compressed data usage — again a great choice for SMBs and families with many computers.
KineticD conducts periodic surveys. One recent survey revealed that many of the users utilized online backup not just for restoring purposes, but also for mobility — access anywhere anytime reasons. Based on the results of the study, KineticD added the secure remote desktop access feature, KineticExtend, and has recently released free iPhone and iPad apps and is available at Apple’s App Store.
The company has been in business since 2002, and during its existence, to the best of our knowledge, there has not been any server issues or complaints or negative reviews. This is reassuring to know that the company should stay in business for many years to come.
The company has been working harder to brand itself by adding innovative features, working with its partners closely, and building its channel partners. If you are looking for a secure, professionally and efficiently run company, KineticD is your best choice. We highly recommend KineticD.
© December 2010 BackupReview.info
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