Monday, February 4, 2013

Thinking of Cloud Backup?

Without reservation, I recommend Savvis Direct. 

I'm pretty sure this is the first *evah* endorsement of a product on this blog. In any case it is unsolicited. In fact, the company doesn't know about it, although I intend to change that.

My desktop computer is on its last legs. It's about four years old, and suffers various ailments, a sort of electronic arthritis. One symptom is my current inability to write on either the internal or external DVD-RW drives. Now I have little need for that beyond backup, but backup is critical in that I have hundreds of items for sale on different internet sites, and for each item I have a Windows folder containing the listing text or HTML and the associated jpegs. Also, there is my music. As you know, I am within a hair of having every song that hit the top 20 from 1955 to 1969, along with several hundred others. At the moment, this comes to 2,784 mp3's which use just over 6GB.

Most of the listings and songs - the overwhelming majority - are backed up on DVD, but of course "most" is insufficient.I decided it was time to deal with the situation, googled for cloud backup information, and ultimately settled on Savvis Direct as the first company to explore.

For the casual user (yours truly, and many of you), the two options that seemed most appropriate were:

1. $4.99 a month for unlimited storage and automated backup. Most attractive was the idea that if you change anything on your PC that has been backed up by Savvis Direct, then the backup is automatically replaced with your newer version.

2. 10GB of free storage, the *only* charge being fifteen cents for each GB you download.

I entered a live chat with a Savvis Direct employee and we narrowed the options down to the above two. He was knowledgeable, polite, and friendly. I'd *guess* we spent about twenty minutes chatting and I settled on the $4.99 package, mainly for the automatic backup of changed files.


That was the end of the fun, for a brief period at least. Did you ever try to install the uninstallable?

But you can get help from Savvis Direct by calling, live chatting, or scheduling a chat - half hour choices for the next several days. I picked a half hour segment for 9:00 the next morning, at which time my telephone rang and I had my first conversation with one of the support people.

I was a nightmare for them in a minor way, and *seven* of them (I think) talked with me over the next several days - six men, one woman, all thoroughly professional, all friendly, all helpful, none willing to give up.

The problem was with a program that produced a pop-up saying it was installing a specific program. It would run for a few minutes and then the pop-up would disappear, the installer would stop running, and there was no trace of the allegedly forthcoming program.

Cutting to the chase, it got kicked upstairs, techie-wise, and it turned out that my clunky old PC had insufficient resources. The installation required 4GB of RAM and I had 1.5GB. We were never going to make it work on this computer.

(My only criticism: why isn't this information presented to customers when they are looking at options, and why were some of the Savvis Direct techies unaware of it? To be fair, there may be an assumption that "everyone" has at least 4 GB, and that may be close to true at this late date.)

Switching over to the fifteen cent per GB option, we encountered two different problems. The 2,784 files clogged up a queue, and in the aftermath a problem eventually turned out to be caused by a camouflaged typo. In a long key of mixed alpha and numeric characters, an upper case I was mistaken for a lower case L or vice versa. This can happen very easily with some fonts.

Eventually it was discovered and everything was coming up roses, which is the case even today. It's taken a while to get to this point in this monologue, but what I really want to say is this:

I've never encountered customer support so close to perfect. Every single one of the people I spoke to on the phone or chatted with live was a pleasure to deal with. When one went off duty and turned me over to someone else, the replacement was 100% on top of the history - what had transpired and what problems had been encountered. There was no "Have you tried this?" or "What's happened so far?" to deal with.

Things got done on my PC in one of two ways: either I did them in response to direction from the Savvis Direct people or *they* did them while sharing my computer - using a mouse at their end to manipulate things here. And every single time they explained what I was going to do or what they were going to do. There was no click-click-damn-that-didn't-work, or just-do-this, or whatever. I knew (or perhaps in some cases I should say only that I was told) what was supposed to happen.

The successful installation was accomplished by an employee on his day off, calling from home, and just as professional, helpful, and friendly as everyone at the office.

I imagine that much of what Savvis Direct sells isn't substantially different from what its competitors sell, but I'll tell you this: My experience is that this company will not rest easy while you have a problem, and you can't beat the level of customer support.


Misty Faucheux said...

Thank you SO much for the endorsement! I'm so glad that we worked out all the issues, and thank you for the constructive criticism.

Thank you again for being a customer of savvisdirect!

Misty Faucheux
Social Media/Community Manager

Just Another Wannabe said...

Thanks for the cloud backup review. I was going to try Carbonite but I think I'm going to try Saviss Direct.

Knowing your programming background, what's your opinion of cloud billing solutions for a business? I'll be retiring in a couple of years and the custom-designed programs I wrote for my company will be retired too (nobody to maintain them).

BrokenDownProgrammer said...