Comparing Wuala and Zoolz – Best Backup Tool

zoolzWhen I read that zoolz.com is offering 100 GB for the first one Million new users I just hat to give it a try – and obviously compare with my beloved and constantly used solution wuala.com. Both of them have some very nice features, and as it turns out I probably am going to use both products because there is especially one big distinction between the two: While Wuala.com can be used as a backup tool, it also is a full-grown cloud storage with sync features from the very first byte. On the other hand, zoolz.com in the free version offers a huge 100 GB free of their cold-storage space. As  the name somehow implies these 100GB are stored on Amazon’s Disks running Glacier services. This means, the backup can be offered very cheap because it a restore is less quickly available within 3 – 5 hours – which makes the tool only usable as a backup, but not as a sync service. As zoolz.com confirmed to me they do offer an instant storage for syncing, but only as part of their business pricing plans.

While 100 GB Wuala storage costs about $140 per year for one user, Zoolz.com charges $120 for 100 GB Instant Storage plus 100 GB Cold Storage for 10 users. When setting up the zoolz.com directories, you chose what storage technology this directory should use. A similar storage offer from Wuala for business with 100 GB Storage, 10 users and 10 groups costs about $630 without any dedicated cold storage (Btw, Dropbox for businesses is more expensive). It seems that zoolz.com is cheaper, at least for businesses.  I know this is not directly comparable, especially for me since I basically use Wuala as a network drive with all my data directly stored there. But apart from pricing, what makes the difference?

wuala

To me as somewhat of a security interested person, encryption does make a difference. This is one of the reasons why I don’t use DropBox with any sensible data since it is just not secure enough. Wuala on the other hand offers a complete encryption which happens directly on your computer and uploads the encrypted data. This means the guys at Wuala (or any government) don’t have any chance to look into your folders apart from breaking the encryption. Zoolz.com offers a similar feature called client-side encryption where you chose a password and then can access the data only when using that password.  But since this password also works on their website and thus they need to store your login data somewhere I think it is not as secure as Wuala where there is only an indirect web access using a portable java version of Wuala which works the same way as the desktop version.  And then there is the issue of the location of the servers. Zoolz is an American company running on Amazon (an another American company) AWS Servers, likely in the US. This means they are subject to quite a few legal issues regarding data ownership and protection. And since Wuala is a Swiss company (now owned by Lacie) and servers in Switzerland the Swiss data protection law applies which is similar to the European and a lot more data subject (user) friendly.

Apart from the browser access, both tools offer clients on all well-known desktop and mobile operating systems.  Both tools offer scheduled and event-based (data changed) backup in the paid subscription and bandwidth throttling. Obviously, Zoolz has a nicer design than Wuala, there is no need to further discuss this. A nice feature I found in zoolz was the schedule throttling which allows to tell the program not to back up when in presentation, game or video mode, in order not to interrupt your important business stuff *s*.

So you see these services are not as directly comparable as I first expected them to be. I leave the decision on what program to use up to you, but I can tell you what I am going to do. I will keep my current Wuala setup with the sync to several clients and my main data in the cloud, it just works fine. And I will use zoolz as a very nice and feature-rich front end client to Amazon Glacier with only a small price increase compared to the effective cost of Amazon Glacier (those 100GB free per User cost Zoolz at retail price about $1/month). I will backup large but less important files on Zoolz since I will be able to wait a few hours for their restore in case disaster should happen. However, I will reconsider this setup in the future quite a few times I guess and will blog again in case something changes my mind. How about you, do you have a different opinion or experience?

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