KeepVault is one of the original on-line backup solutions for Windows Home Server.  Proxure, the company behind KeepVault, recently released an updated version of KeepVault for WHS.  It is about time that WGS got around to giving you a detailed run-through on this on-line backup service.

Before installing and using any product, it is always a good idea to know who you are dealing with.  From the KeepVault website:

Proxure is based in San Luis Obispo, CA.

Consumer software experts from Roxio, Sonic, and VERITAS founded Proxure in 2005 with a single goal: to create innovative user-friendly software to better connect today’s digital lifestyles.

Both our products and Software Development Kit (SDK) provide best in class digital media and information synchronization. Our platform enables users to enjoy a converged digital-life across a broad range of devices from personal computers to mobile phones and beyond.

Today, Proxure’s technology enables:

  • Online storage for remote and ubiquitous access
  • Multiple device sync and protection including mobile devices
  • Real time data synchronization between local and remote locations
  • File publishing and collaboration between users
  • Secure delivery and sharing of files with trusted users
  • Delivery of files for consumption on various devices, e.g. re-encoding video for mobile clients

Device OEMs, wireless carriers, broadband providers can all use the Proxure technology to provide valuable user services. Contact us for more information on custom or SDK based development.

In order to use KeepVault, you must sign up for a storage plan from this webpage.  KeepVault offers a “30-day risk free promise” which allows for a full refund within 30 days of purchase if not satisfied with the software.

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INSTALLATION

Once downloaded, simply locate and execute the base program installer

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and proceed through the following installation screens.

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From the WHS console, click on Settings –> Add-ins –> Available.  Locate and click on the KeepVault for Windows Home Server installer.

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Once you have reopened the WHS console, locate and click on the KeepVault tab.  The first time you access this tab, you will be required to enter your subscription information, as seen below.

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PROGRAM USAGE

At this point, it is a rather straight-forward method of highlighting a folder and clicking on the Enable Protection option to tell KeepVault to protect the files in that particular folder.

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KeepVault then takes over and begins to upload files to the Proxure servers.

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By default, KeepVault searches the Shares folder and provides the user with the default folders under this top-level folder.  If desired, you can also add folders outside the Shares folder.  Simply click on the Add option

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find the folder you wish to protect and click on the OK button.

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That is about it as far as setting up the folders to have KeepVault backup.  Moving on to other program options, there are a few options one can play with inside the console tab, as can seen above.  These options are relatively self-explanatory.  A few more options can be configured from Console Settings option, as seen below.  Basically, you can have error/product update notifications sent to your email, mobile phone, and/or Twitter accounts.

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Moving back to the Console Tab, you should now be asking yourself, “OK, I’m protecting those important files.  How do I get to them, if I need them?”  Quite simple.  Looking at the screen shot below, please take notice of several items toward the top middle left portion of the screen.

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Of course, Proxure will want you buy more storage capacity! Just click on the “Buy More Storage” item.

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A more important item we want to look at (at this time), is the “Manage Protected Files” item.  Clicking on that item brings up the following window.

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By “Manage”, this means “delete” files from you backup database.

If you click on “View Protection History”, you will get a file listing of protected files, as can be seen below.  To me, this is way more information than I would ever need to know or care about.  But it is there, if you need it.

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And then we have the really important option, which is the purpose for having this service: the “Recover Files” option.  Clicking on this brings up the following window

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where you can auto-recover any missing files from the KeepVault database, or to selectively recover individual files you need.

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So, what else can you do?  Clicking on the “View Event Log” will bring up the following window

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and clicking on the “Pause Job” will do just that:

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You may have noticed a couple of menu items at the top left.  I have assumed that you have been in the same “My Online Backup Job” screen as I have throughout this review.  If not, click on that item, go to the beginning and come back here when finished.  NOW, click on the “My Local Backup Job” option.  You will find yourself in the following screen.

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Basically, this is a duplication of the existing WHS local backup options.  If you are using KeepVault and desire to have an additional backup, one might as well do both from one location.

Most of the options do the same as the Online alternatives, except “Buy More Storage” will take you to the Hard Drive area of Amazon.

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So what else is there?  Not much in the program itself, but if you do have a question or problem, one of your first stops should the KeepVault Forums.  What is shown below the FAQ section.

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And that is that.  A fairly simple, but effective UI.  A simple, but effective backup solution for your WHS.  As with any online backup solution, however, do not expect to have GB’s of data to be protected “instantly”.  It takes time to upload the amount of data that can be on a WHS.  The better UP/DL connection you have, the quicker this will take.

It is like the first backup of your client machines, however.  Once the first backup has completed, subsequent backups are quick and painless.

COSTS AND CONCLUSIONS

One area of concern that any and all WHS users should have is the security of any data that is uploaded to a service such as this.  I can tell you that you should be concerned.  WGS recently had a request to review a backup service.  The physical location of this service, the lack of contact information, and the misrepresentation of location of one of the “employees” of this service led me to believe that this might have been a phishing site.  So, yes, be concerned.  Proxure/KeepVault is a reputable company.  And, if you feel the need to learn more about their Privacy Policy, please read it.

So how necessary is a service like KeepVault?  One of first axiom’s for a server is that redundancy is one of those universal needs, whether it is a Home server, or a Business server.  Proxure is one company that provides this redundancy.

But at a cost.

The pricing structure for KeepVault, in U.S. dollars, is as follows:

Storage, GB Cost: $/year
40 48
100 99
150 143.50
200 188
300 277
400 366
500 455
600 544
700 633
800 722
900 811
1000 900
2000 1790
3000 2680
4000 3570
5000 4460

It is my understanding that the check-out process will automatically convert to the appropriate currency.

From the Proxure website, the costs outlined above represent a $162 savings over an Amazon S3 account at the 200 GB level.  Which I find rather amusing in that KeepVault sends you to an Amazon website for local storage needs. If one compares the 200 GB level to a couple of WHS alternatives, we come up with:

Jungle Disk: $360/year (U.S.) $432/year (Europe) plus data transfer and request fees.

Tranquil Life Server: £221.88/year plus VAT for 250 GB of storage capacity.

KeepVault would appear to be the most cost effective of these three services.  Whether these costs are worth it to you depends solely on how valuable your data is and how replaceable it needs to be if a catastrophic failure were to occur.  And I will reiterate the statement I made above: “One of first axiom’s for a server is that redundancy is one of those universal needs, whether it is a Home server, or a Business server.”

KeepVault appears to be a viable back-up (redundancy) service from a cost viewpoint.  If one’s needs require the use of an on-line backup service, I would suggest you take a good long look at KeepVault’s offerings.

Company: Proxure, Inc.

Version Reviewed: 3.0

Release Date: 11May2009

Cost: $188/200GB/year

KeepVault links:

Web site: KeepVault

Support: KeepVault Forums

More WGS info: Discuss