Mercury Online Backup

I introduced my latest Online Backup project, codenamed “Mercury”, back on June 23. Since then I realized that if I wanted Mercury to be able to beat the likes of Mozy on both price and features, Mercury would have to do more, and do it better. It would also have to use a different business and technical model.

For Service Providers to be able to compete with the likes of Mozy by selling Online Backup services based on Mercury (either hosted with RBS or hosted independently) I needed to know more about the types of customers attracted to those kinds of services. So I did a little (OK, a lot) of digging.

I’ve spent the last few months studying the industry that I created way back in 1986. I have interviewed a lot of people about their computer usage habits, their price points, their needs. I’ve been testing features and business models based on my research. I studied the end users who were likely to buy Mercury, based on price and platform (Mercury runs on both Windows and Mac – and soon Linux) and I think I’ve come up with a paradigm shift in the way Online Backup will be thought about in the future.

I’m positioning Mercury for Workstations, laptops, home computers, and small office computers that don’t need special Server agents like those in my flagship product, RBackup. My team has made it as simple as it can be, with a cool Web interface, a lightening fast Oracle back-end, leading-edge Web Services, and a really light Client (about 6MB), and NATIVE code for Windows, Mac, and Linux. No Java, no PHP, no PERL, I’m talking about native code here. So Mercury is extremely fast and powerful, hooking the operating systems directly.

End users buy Online Backup for security. So why not give them MORE security? At this level consumers have a number of choices, most of which are capable of backing up and restoring files. However, NONE have what Mercury has – a full suite of amazing security gadgets that you may not have heard of (yet). Some of this stuff is just amazing.

Suppose your laptop is stolen. Sure, with other products you can restore your files to another computer. Mercury can do that, too, so what? Your laptop is still missing, and so are all your valuable files with personal information like credit card numbers, company data, and maybe even data covered by government security and privacy regulations like HIPAA, SOX, and GLB. Maybe your competitor took your computer. Your company could be subject to massive fines and loss of business. You could be fired.

Mercury can solve even those problems.

  • Mercury can help locate your stolen laptop without an onboard GPS.
  • Mercury can use your laptop’s onboard camera to snap a picture of the thief and upload it silently as soon as he/she opens it up.
  • Mercury can protect your computer’s files from being opened and the data itself stolen.
  • Mercury can silently and quickly encrypt your files by remote, or shred them with military-grade file erasure technology.
  • Mercury can even format your hard drive by remote as a last resort.
  • Yes, Mercury can even back up and restore your files.

Can any other product of any type do that? I think not.

That’s why Mercury is going to kick other “backup only” products in its class back to 2005 where they came from. All these cool features (and many more) are completely under the control of the user through an innovative web-based interface.

What’s the current state of Mercury? So far Mercury has been deployed to two companies who host their own Mercury servers. RBS will soon be ready to service customers with Mercury using a business model similar to that of our Virtual Hosting service for our flagship product, RBackup. I’m not releasing a date for that just yet.

As an interesting side note – So far the companies using Mercury have signed up thousands of paying customers at about $5/month. A little under half of them are using Macs. That’s a huge percentage of users compared to the normal distribution of Macs in the environment. I think it indicates the lack of any adequate backup service for the Mac, and may be a key driver for Mercury.

End users are going to pay well for Mercury, and Service Providers (even small ones) are going to make money. But, Mercury won’t be as cheap as RBackup. A significant capital investment will be required to host Mercury servers, at least $50,000 for minimal equipment; And the software customization, installation, licensing and maintenance fees as well. Don’t forget hosting fees. I can’t see Mercury licensing going for less than $30,000 for a 10,000 client Server, plus client license fees on top of that.

I don’t have exact pricing for Mercury yet. Contact me for a demo if your company is interested in Mercury technology, and is well qualified to purchase it. Watch the RBS web site at for more information and a release date.

Rob Cosgrove

CEO, Remote Backup Systems, Inc.

Memphis, TN USA

(901) 388-5988


About The Author

Steve Roberts /

Steve Roberts is VP of Engineering at Remote Backup Systems (, developers of the RBackup Online Backup software platform, providing software powering more than 9,500 Service Providers in 65 countries since 1987.