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· 6 min read

We sat down for a chat with Callum Sinclair, our Product Engineering Manager who has been with the company since January 2023. This piece has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What is your role at Comet?

I started at Comet as the Development Team Leader, and was promoted into the Product Engineering Manager role earlier this year.

As the Dev Team Leader, I was looking after the entire development department; scoping and managing work for both dev teams, and promoting a culture of quality and growth so that our team is constantly upskilling to better serve our customers’ needs.

Now my role as Product Engineering Manager has grown to also include setting the direction that Comet takes as a product and laying out our product roadmap.

What does your day-to-day look like?

It changes every week depending on what we’ve got going on. That’s what keeps the job exciting.

A lot of it is communicating with internal and external stakeholders about what we're planning to do. One of the most important parts of my role is speaking directly with our customers, distributors and integration partners to hear their needs and figure out how we can address them.

Then I gather all that information into a cohesive vision and work with the development team to scope and action upcoming work.

What attracted you to work at Comet?

I was looking to take the next step in my career and Comet provided me the opportunity to go from a senior software engineer into a leadership role, which was the opportunity I was looking for. It's been awesome.

What is your favorite thing about working at Comet?

The freedom and autonomy to have an impact and make changes that elevate the team and the way we do things. There isn’t a culture of, “you must do it this way”.

The opportunity to grow is incredible. Sometimes that involves mistakes or missteps, but I’ve learned a lot, and continue to improve. I think that is reflected in the product we make. We're always pushing ourselves to be better, which results in a product that’s constantly improving.

How would you describe the team culture?

It’s awesome – everyone supports each other, which is amazing. You can always speak up, ask questions and ask for help. Everyone's here to support each other. One of the strongest things we have at Comet is how well we work with each other.

It’s a very open culture, so you always feel included, you’re never shut out of decisions and you’re always kept in the loop. We encourage everyone to give input, even if it’s not their department or their project. Anyone can voice an opinion or raise an issue. Which makes for a great work environment.

What is the learning and development like at Comet?

You are learning all the time. I don't think there's ever been a day where I haven't been like, "Oh, that's new." Or, "That's something cool."

We're constantly picking up new tech and have the opportunity to work on new things.

That is also reflected in our development work. You're always getting pushed into new areas, you get to work on your code bases, new products, new features. We also push people to do additional training in areas that we think will be of value to them in the future. So there's plenty of chances to grow and to learn.

What keeps you passionate about moving forward in the industry?

I’m passionate about building a high quality backup product that fits the needs of organizations across many different industries. I’m excited that we have the opportunity to be innovative and refine our ideas.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the tech industry?

There’s a lot of ways to get into the industry, and I think it really just starts with being passionate in anything related to tech.

You can go the traditional ways through university or higher education taking courses like computer science or software engineering. That gives you great exposure to the different fields and domains within the tech industry.

Another way is just getting involved and writing your own code. I think it comes down to what you’re passionate about and following what interests you.

Where did your passion for tech start?

My earliest memory of tech is probably playing Age of Empires II on an old school Windows XP, that got me interest in computers in general.

From there I started doing programming courses in high school and in college, which led to being interested in studying computer science. The more I learned, the more interested I got because there is so much to learn and tech is evolving so quickly. There’s so many areas you can get into.

If you could have any tech superpower, what would it be?

The first that came to mind would be the ability to instantly write code in different languages. I know about four coding languages at this point and I'd love to learn more, but don't have the time. Being able to natively pick it up and jump in between code bases would be awesome.

Also, being able to spot code issues would be another one. But then again some of the fun of coding is spending the hours to find the bug, finally understanding it, and then fixing it. So having that superpower might be cheating the process a little bit.

What do you like about living in Christchurch?

I like biking as my mode of transport, so it’s fantastic that it’s flat in Christchurch. It’s also really convenient to get to most outdoor activities. Christchurch is close to the mountains and also has nice beaches nearby. Being on the South Island, we have easy access to do weekend trips to amazing destinations like Wanaka and Queenstown.

What are some of your interests and hobbies?

I used to swim competitively, and I still spend some time training in the pool. I’m also a big fan of F1 racing now. Another hobby is trying out new foods, cooking different cuisines, and trying the adventurous options at restaurants.

We know everyone at Comet loves food. What are your top three restaurants in Christchurch?

At the moment, I'm a big fan of the barbecue restaurants. There’s Beers down the road from the office, and an all you can eat Brazilian BBQ place in Papanui. And I like El Quincho, the Argentinian BBQ place at Riverside Market.

· 2 min read

Last month we premiered our inaugural Research & Development Week. Previous to this, developers worked on independent projects during Comet’s quarterly Hackathon. We changed up the format in Q1 to instead have a consolidated focus on high impact initiatives. Our developers split into three teams to collaborate on improving your user experience.

The three projects were scoped and designed by our CTO and Product Engineering Manager. Each team presented initial ideas, proof of concept, findings, and next steps. We utilized this collaborative, team-based approach to mix developers with differing specialties, who don’t normally work together, for synergistic problem-solving sessions to improve the software.

The three topics were:

  • Can we make an awesome experience restoring data from the Comet Server web interface?
  • Can we upgrade how Comet uses memory when running backup / restore jobs?
  • Can we improve how we backup / restore data to and from S3 storage vaults?

R&D week was a great success. We made great progress in all three areas. Some of the research and development work is making its way to become production ready code, and others need a bit more time to become features for Comet customers.

It was rewarding to challenge our team in areas outside their traditional expertise and get some wins on the board over the course of a few days to improve Comet.

· 5 min read

March 2024: What's New

"What's New?" is a series of blog posts covering recent changes to Comet in more detail. This article covers the latest changes in Comet Voyager over March 2024.

There were six Comet releases during March - four in the Voyager release series, plus two updates for our Mimas release series.

We've landed a few large and exciting features this March:

New Protected Item Wizard for the Comet Backup Desktop App

We have overhauled our Protected Item Wizard for the Comet Backup desktop app. As part of this refresh we have moved the section where you name your Protected Item to the end, along with a nice summary of what you have configured to back up.

Each step of the Protected Item Wizard has had new styles applied to it, and below are some of the major differences you will see in new versions of the Comet Backup desktop app.

New Layout for Protected Item Types

New Theme for Protected Item Wizard

Summary of Protected Item Settings

Granular Restore Picker Performance Improvements

We have significantly improved the performance of browsing files and folders during a granular restore from Disk Image, Hyper-V, or VMware Protected Items. These improvements have significantly improved the responsiveness of the file browser when selecting files and folders to restore, particularly on slow or high-latency connections. Prior to 24.3.2, the file browser would have to wait for data to be retrieved from the Storage Vault every time a disk or folder was expanded, which could cause multiple second loads on slower connections. In 24.3.2 and newer, Comet has to retrieve new data much less frequently, significantly reducing the time spent waiting for folder contents to load.

SMB Storage Vault

We have added a new Storage Vault type to make use of network file shares using the SMB protocol. This is a fantastic addition to our Storage Vault offerings, as you can now backup to and restore from network file shares inside your infrastructure that use the SMB protocol.

If you are looking to back up data to your local NAS, check out our new SMB Storage Vault offering.

New Restore Option: Overwrite only if files are different

When restoring data with Comet, you will find a new restore option "If the restored file is different". When this option is set, Comet will only restore the file to the location if the file contents are not the same. If the same file already exists in the restore location, Comet will not need to do anything.

This is also useful for times when you want to quickly revert the contents of a folder to a previous snapshot, as Comet will only need to download and restore what changed between the two points in time.

Prevent Admin Accounts from Deleting Storage Vaults

Admin policies and permissions continue to be improved and expanded in our latest releases. You can now lock down admin accounts from being able to delete users storage vaults. This adds an additional layer of security and protection to your Comet accounts.

You can find these settings when editing an admin account on the Comet Server web interface.

Comet Backup now logs to the macOS Console app

The macOS Console app provides crash reports and live log messages of the running processes on your Mac. We have added support for the Comet Backup desktop app to write log message to the Console app. This is a huge improvement to being able to audit what is happening with Comet Backup on macOS, as well as making it easier to troubleshoot issues when they occur.

Server Self-Backups Enabled By Default

Having a Server Self-Backup provides peace of mind that you can recover a Comet Server from a number of disastrous situations. This includes being able to restore a Comet Server in the event critical settings are changed causing outages within your Comet environment.

For new installations of a Comet Server, the Server Self-Backup feature is now enabled by default. Comet strongly recommends moving the backup from the default location (the server installation directory) to somewhere safer, preferably offsite so you can recover from disaster situations.

If you haven't configured Server Self-Backup on your Comet Server yet, you can find the steps to set this up in our documentation

IAM-compatible Storage Template Enhancements

Comet Server supports backing up data to many different storage locations. Comet Server system administrators can configure storage in the client's settings; or server-side with Storage Role; or for supported storage providers, you can configure the Storage Templates feature to provision private, direct-to-cloud credentials for customer backup storage. This provides ease of use and high performance - as long as the storage provider has a compatible integration with Comet Server.

For the long-tail of other providers, we support Custom Remote Bucket and Custom IAM-Compatible as extension points to integrate with the Storage Templates feature. During March, in Comet 24.3.3, we improved the Custom IAM-Compatible Storage Template feature to support many new capabilities, including Object Lock support; the option to create buckets in custom S3 regions; and the option to choose whether the provisioning action creates individual buckets or private subdirectories.

These three new enhancements extend Comet Server's IAM compatibility, and ensure that you can use the Custom IAM-Compatible Storage Template feature with more of the IAM-compatible storage providers on the market.

· 3 min read

World Backup Day serves as a timely reminder to review your backup strategies and to educate your end users and partners on the importance of data backup.

While World Backup Day is observed annually on March 31st, MSPs and IT providers play a critical role in protecting businesses and organisations every day of the year.

History of World Backup Day

World Backup Day was created in 2011 and started with a post on Reddit where a user wrote about losing their hard drive and wished someone had reminded them about how important it is to backup data. World Backup Day highlights the importance of securing and protecting data.

Why is data backup important?

In today’s digital age, data backup and data protection is critical for businesses and organisation to help protect against:

  • Ransomware
  • Cybersecurity attacks
  • Human error
  • Data loss
  • Hardware malfunction
  • Power failure
  • Natural disasters

Having a robust backup solution and solid restore process will help safeguard against these threats and help minimize downtime for your end users and clients.

Reminders for World Backup Day

Here are some top tips:

  • Review your backup strategy and solutions for different data types, backup types, storage solutions and destinations
  • Regularly test your backup and restore processes
  • Check backup schedules to confirm they are running as intended
  • Automate and streamline processes to save time such as email reports and job log alerts
  • Make sure your servers and databases are backed up, not just your endpoints

Comet Backup for MSPs, IT Providers & Businesses

A secure and reliable backup platform is essential to MSPs & IT Providers’ backup and disaster recovery (BDR) strategy to maintain business continuity in the event of a security incident.

Here are some of the core features & benefits of Comet Backup:

  • Easy to use: Comet Backup has an intuitive, easy-to-use web console where you can remotely manage and protect devices. Comet is fast and easy to set up – start running backups and restores in less than 15 minutes.

  • Flexible: Choose Comet Storage powered by Wasabi for an all-in-one storage solution, or utilize your own storage, whether that’s an on-prem solution or a S3 compatible storage provider (including AWS, Backblaze, Wasabi, Azure, and more). You’re in control of where your data sits.

  • Fast, efficient chunking technology: Advanced backup algorithm packages data into small blocks for faster uploads and downloads, saving valuable time.

  • Reliable, Safe & Secure: Data is encrypted during backup, transit, and rest. Comet is also HIPPA and GDPR compliant.

  • Client-side deduplication: Reduces redundant data, ensuring more efficient storage usage and therefore cost savings.

  • Incremental forever without full re-uploads: After the initial backup, only changes are uploaded, conserving bandwidth, and accelerating the backup process.

  • Compression and encryption: Client data is compact for storage efficiency and secured against breaches, ensuring peace of mind.

Protect your data this World Backup Day

World Backup Day is a great time to educate and remind your end users and partners of the importance of data backup. Your goal as IT Providers and MSPs is to provide the best support and solutions to give your partners peace of mind and confidence that their businesses’ data is safe and protected.

Test drive Comet Backup with a 30-day FREE trial, or book a discovery call with our team to learn more about how Comet can help your business.

· 6 min read

This article covers what's new our latest Quarterly release series from December 2023 to February 2024. Read the release notes here.

Comet 24.2.0 Mimas

We're very pleased to announce our latest Quarterly release series - Comet 24.2 Mimas. This is the the latest entry in our quarterly rollup series, that branches off from our main rolling Voyager development into a fixed target for you to qualify and build your service offering upon.

Mimas is named after a moon of Saturn, which in turn takes its name from an ancient Greek mythological giant. Mimas is relatively small compared to Earth's moon, with a diameter of about 396 kilometers (246 miles). Its composition is primarily made up of water ice with a small amount of rocky material. Its most distinguishing feature is a giant impact crater which stretches a third of the way across the face of the moon, making it look like the Death Star from "Star Wars."

For users coming from the previous 23.11 Saturn quarterly release series, Mimas adds 3 features and 15 enhancements, including Dark Mode for the Comet Server web interface and a Debian installer for the Comet Backup desktop app as mentioned below.

The full set of changes can be found in the release notes.

Webinar announcement

If you'd prefer to watch rather than read, we're hosting a webinar to discuss this new quarterly release and all the new changes. Please register before we go live on Tuesday 12 March (4pm ET / 1pm PT) to catch up on all the latest Comet news with Comet's CTO, Mason - and as usual, there will be time for a live question-and-answer session at the end of the presentation.

As well as that, we have many more videos available on our YouTube channel, including guides on getting started with Comet, individual features, demonstrations with our technology partners, and webinars for previous quarterly software releases.

Dark Mode for the Comet Server

To continue our visual improvements to the Comet Server web interface we have added Dark Mode support. This completely overhauls the look and feel of the Comet Server and automatically applies based on the theme you have chosen for your system. Next time you have a chance check it out by logging into your Comet Server and clicking the new toggle button in the top right corner.

Light Mode:

Dark Mode:

Debian Installer for the Comet Backup desktop app

To make it easier to install Comet on your Debian Linux installs, we are pleased to announce our new Debian Installer. Our new installer will walk you through all of the required steps to install Comet. Comet is installed as a systemd service meaning it will now automatically start when your device boots.

Once installed you can still upgrade Comet remotely using the Comet Server web interface meaning you now have multiple options for managing, installing and upgrading Comet on your Linux devices.

Improved S3-compatible Object Lock Performance

Object Lock is a great way to add additional security to your data stored in an S3-compatible Storage Vault. This month we've been hard at work finding ways to optimize Comet's performance when backing up to an S3-compatible Storage Vaults. We have found a way to significantly decrease the time taken to extend the object lock duration on objects stored in the vault. As a result, backup jobs to an S3-compatible Storage Vault now complete up to 16 times faster than before.

Custom Headers added for Custom Remote Buckets

Comet has a great list of S3-compatible storage providers that we have storage templates for. To add better support for other S3-compatible storage providers you can now add Customer Headers to a Custom Remote Bucket in the Comet Server web interface. This greatly expands your options for which provider you would like to use as you can now add additional data such as long lived authentication tokens as part of the request Comet makes when connecting to the storage provider.

Faster Logins between the Comet Account Portal and Comet Hosted

Once Comet Hosted is running our new 24.2.0 Mimas release, we will enable the overhauled login button for Comet Hosted servers from the Comet Account Portal.

The new login button shares credentials between the Comet Account Portal and Comet Hosted meaning you no longer need to remember two sets of passwords. Because of this we have been able to solve all of the failing cases and can provide you with a reliable login experience for your Comet Hosted servers.

Once you've logged in with the new system for the first time, when you log out of your Comet Hosted Server you will see a new Login with Comet Account Portal appear on the login page. This allows you to jump straight back into your Comet Hosted server faster than ever before. This button will only appear on web browser sessions that remember you've clicked the login button from the Comet Account Portal first to ensure we don't show Comet branding to unexpected users of your Comet Hosted Servers.

VM Pricing Adjustments

At Comet, we are committed to continuously improving our products and services to meet your evolving data protection needs. In order to do this, occasionally we find it necessary to make adjustments to our product offerings. We are updating our pricing structure in order to further standardize our virtual machine protected item types – VMware and Hyper-V.

Effective February 28th 2024, we are introducing a new unlimited guest license option for VMware, priced at $39. If you have 8 or more VMware guests backing up, you will automatically get the unlimited pricing; no action needed on your part. This change supports your business growth as you scale and add VM deployments.

Also as of February 28th 2024, we are dropping the $2 base charge for Hyper-V. You will only pay the booster charge for all virtual environment backups (both VMware and Hyper-V) going forward.

To bring our virtual machine licensing into alignment, starting February 28th 2024, Hyper-V licensing will be charged at $3 per guest or $24 for unlimited guests per host.

· 6 min read

We sat down for a chat with Jackson Day, one of our Software Developers who has been with the company since May 2022. This piece has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What is your role at Comet?

I am a software developer on one of Comet’s two development teams. I came up through the junior developer program and have been at Comet for almost two years.

How did you decide you wanted to get into software development?

I've always had an interest in technology, but in high school there weren’t a lot of avenues to learn programming or something in that arena.

So I did a music degree after high school; music degrees aren't the greatest for finding a job. While I was working as a receptionist at a physiotherapist clinic, I did a few free programming courses. I decided it was fun and completed a bachelor’s degree in IT.

What do you love about working at Comet?

There’s millions of reasons, including awesome work colleagues. Comet is an awesome environment to learn and grow my skills in, and is a cool product to work on. I absolutely love it here.

The flexibility is really nice too. It’s awesome being able to work from home a couple days a week; and being able to set my own hours, starting early so I can finish early. I very much enjoy the balance.

How would you describe the team culture at Comet?

Super friendly and super supportive. When you're going through the junior developer role you have a mentor developer and mine, Ben Frengley, has answered a billion questions for me. I sat right next to Ben, so was able to ask questions easily. It's great to have a dedicated person you can go to, especially while you are learning and before you know everyone’s area of expertise. And everyone else is still happy to help you out as well.

You're the second person to complete the junior dev/support to developer pathway. What was it like working for support before becoming a full time developer?

It's definitely a good setup. The idea of going from study to jumping straight into a developer role was actually kind of daunting. Having that year to work on some projects while you're going through the junior dev pathway, then through support, learning how to work with customers, and getting a good understanding of how the Comet software works was really helpful.

How did the role work with splitting between support tickets and developer projects?

Earlier on the role it was mainly working on the support team and understanding what the product is and how it works. I had a development project to work on pretty early because of my study. When support is less busy, you can then work on some developer tickets.

Any tips from working in support when you were a junior dev?

Just to really get stuck into what you’re working on. If you're on a tricky problem try to work it out. But if you're banging your head against the wall for too long, ask for help. You’ll find yourself asking lots of questions and know that it’s okay to ask questions.

What did you like best about the junior dev pathway?

The thing I like best about it is that it eases you into the development role. I feel like you're a lot better equipped for it than if you were just chucked right into the deep end. You get a really good understanding of how the product is used and the use cases for it, which is really helpful.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a developer?

When I was looking for jobs, it was a little daunting as I didn't have much of a portfolio because I was working full time and studying. I would say if you have the time, build up a  portfolio and direct it towards some of your interests. I think that would go a long way in the job hunting process. And if you're building up a portfolio you're also giving yourself more experience at the same time.

What do you like best about your role as a developer?

I love the constant learning and constant challenge. Sometimes the challenge can be tricky, but when you finish a project it’s really rewarding. You constantly feel your knowledge growing, which is cool.

What keeps you interested and inspired moving forward in the field?

For me, it’s seeing how incredible some of our developers are at their jobs. Sometimes I’ll ask someone a question and just watch them power through with so much knowledge. So for me, it’s growing towards that goal of being really knowledgeable.

Do you have any favorite projects that you've worked on?

Emoji support in the tickets – very important. It was a hackathon project.

Tell us more about hackathons at Comet.

For hackathons we have four or five days where we get to work on something in Comet that we just feel like working on, which is really cool to have a bit of freedom there. Then at the end of the week it’s cool to see what everyone built.

Some of the projects that people work on during hackathons do make it into the software, and sometimes they don't because they're more R&D or exploratory projects.

What’s your top backup tip?

Test your recovery process. People like to treat backup as ‘set and go’ and while we do our best here at Comet to make that possible as much as we can, it is important to test your restores and make sure the recovery process works as it should.

What are some of your hobbies?

Outside of work I like to tinker, I love to try new things. This year I've been making an effort to spend at least an hour at the end of each day on some kind of hobby. I've been learning to do some 3D modelling. Then practicing my trombone, working on music composition, trying to do a bit of game development. And then I also just enjoy going for a nice stroll.

You are originally from Christchurch, what do you like about living in Christchurch?

Christchurch is in a great location, there’s a bit of everything close by. You can easily get to the ocean and the mountains, and there’s lots of activities. The city also has good vibes, not too hectic.

We know everyone at Comet loves food. What are some of your favorite (vegan) restaurants?

My top three choices would have to be: Grater Goods Deli, Portershed for breakfast, and there’s Bonobo Cafe in Sumner.

· 2 min read

"What's New?" is a series of blog posts covering recent changes to Comet in more detail. This article covers the latest changes in Comet Voyager between December 2023 and January 2024.

There were nine Comet software releases between December 2023 and January 2024 - five in our 23.12.x Voyager release series and four point releases for our 23.12.x Saturn quarterly series.

Over the past nine releases we have released close to 20 bug fixes based on your feedback and our own internal quality standards. We are proud of the hard work the team has put in to make our latest versions of Saturn and Voyager our best releases yet.

Easier user creation in the Comet Server web interface

We've enhanced the way admins can create new users from the Comet Server web interface by allowing users to be created in any tenant. Previously this functionality was only available using the Comet Server API so it is great to be able to provide this functionality for all users.

It is also easier to add multiple users at once in the Comet Server as we've made the add multiple users workflow always visible. Previously this was hidden behind our advanced options settings system which made it harder to discover.

Tenant Visibility on the Users Page

On Comet Servers with more than one tenant configured, it was hard to see what user belonged to what tenant from the Users page. You could see that the user belonged to a tenant, but you could not tell which one.

Now on the users page you can see what tenant a user belongs to right from the page. This is a massive quality of life improvement for admin users.

Along with this improvement we have also made it possible to search for users by tenant name.

VMware Improvements

In November we launched our VMware Protected Item and over the past two months we've been hard at work to improve it based on your feedback, including improved performance, compatibility, and correctness.

The latest versions of Saturn and Voyager are up to date with our latest improvements and we've seen great uptake of the new feature.

Java SDK

You can now natively integrate with a Comet Server from a Java application with our new SDK. You can check it out at our public GitHub here.

· 6 min read

We sat down for a chat with Peter Ashford, one of our Senior Software Engineers and remote team members, who has been with the company since July 2022. This piece has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

How did your passion for tech start?

When I was a kid, computers seemed like these really serious business things. It always tickled my imagination that people would subvert computers to make trivial things like games. That really appealed to me. One of my childhood goals was to create games, and I did eventually work in the gaming industry for a few years; I worked with some truly excellent people and I had a lot of fun but I also came to realise that it's a difficult industry to have a long career in.

What attracted you to work here at Comet?

I told the recruiter I was working with that I was looking to find my tribe – people who were interested in technology and motivated and excited about software engineering.

I have definitely found the right place. I couldn't be happier with the kind of people that I'm working with, not just the software developers, but the whole company exceeded my expectations for working together collaboratively.

What is your favorite thing about working at Comet?

The people are the greatest thing about working at Comet. I genuinely like everybody that I work with. And there's nobody here I don't feel comfortable talking to and asking a question.

That's a big deal because we’re working on a complex product. So having an environment where everybody feels comfortable and free to ask questions is a big deal. Comet is an extremely collegial kind of place to work. Everyone is genuinely interested in helping everybody else out.

You are one of the full time remote team members, how do you keep connected with the team?

I live in Dunedin, so I’m one of a handful of remote team members at Comet. I knew that being remote full time was going to be a different kind of challenge. But Comet has been really proactive with that right from the outset.

We have events like CometCon, our company-wide conference, where twice a year everyone is flown in for a week to ensure we get some face to face time as an entire team.

The other thing that Comet does, which is really cool, is that we have a virtual coffee break over Slack where we just get together and chat on a video call. All of our team meetings happen over Slack as well, so our normal way of working effectively works for people who work remotely.

Inevitably there's always going to be the occasional discussions you miss out on because you're not in the office, but there's lots of opportunities to catch up with people outside of physically having to be in the office. So it works out pretty well.

Tell us more about CometCon and what you enjoy about it.

CometCon is a fantastic initiative. They’re awesome and I hugely value them for two reasons:

One, sitting down and getting a chance to hash through issues or hear talks about how things work on the technical side is really valuable. Comet is a big and complex piece of software, so it's always great to learn more about how things work and have cross functional training in different areas of the product to disseminate knowledge throughout the team.

But also for me, because I'm working remotely, that chance to catch up with everybody and just have a bit of fun and focus on those sort of human relationships. I can't overstate how much I value that in terms of having time to catch up and chat to people in other departments.

What do you think of Christchurch?

I’m super enthusiastic about the Riverside Market, it’s a fantastic jewel in the crown for the city. There are a lot of eateries with different options, I’ve made a habit of eating there every time I travel to Christchurch for CometCon. I also love seeing the Southern Alps in the distance on a clear day, it gives you an emotional boost to see the mountains from the office windows.

What keeps you passionate about moving forward in the field and what keeps you inspired within the industry?

I really like the fact that I can learn new skills. I really value that. It's important for people who want to stay in the industry to keep learning. That's been great for me because I've picked up Golang programming, which I didn't know at all before working at Comet. I really like coding and making stuff and learning new ways to make stuff, that’s where it gets to be fun. That’s the joy of software engineering.

You’ve also had the opportunity to mentor one of the junior developers, what has that experience entailed?

During my interview process, we discussed various ways I could contribute to the team and the idea of mentorship came up. I absolutely love working with people and talking about code, so mentoring a junior dev is an awesome fit for me.

Each person approaches problem solving differently. It’s cool to see what someone else comes up with. I love the whole process of imparting knowledge and discussing various ways to solve a problem.

When Rhane (Junior Developer) came on board last year, I was paired up to mentor her. At Comet we have a pathway for junior developers to join our Support Team. They work on dev tickets between support tickets. With guidance from other team members, they graduate into a full developer after a year. It’s been a fantastic initiative.

What are some of your other hobbies?

I'm very much a family man. I've got a bunch of kids. We are currently doing tons of work in our garden. Because I'm working at home, I'm quite careful about making sure that I take breaks. So it's really nice to have a space in my backyard to wander around my garden and see what's growing and how it changes over the years. It has become quite a nice little zen environment to spend some time sitting in the sun, listening to birds.

· 3 min read

Another year has flown by. Thank you to all our partners for your support over the year and our best wishes for 2024.

At Comet, we've had a busy year full of new product features, fixes and enhancements, new marketing initiatives, support, onboarding, sales, and company conferences. During this holiday season at the end of the year and the start of the next, let's take a short look back at some of the big Comet news from 2023.

New feature highlights in 2023

In October, Comet added support for backing up VMware virtual machines. Our new Protected Item type was a major highlight of the year. It supports both single ESXi hosts and vSphere clusters, and uses Changed Block Tracking for excellent performance - on both paid and free ESXi licenses. All VMs are compressed and deduplicated inside Comet's Storage Vault system. Comet supports granular restore of individual files from within the VM, and also physical to virtual (P2V) migration from Disk Image backups into VMware format.

This big feature release deserved a big new planet, and we bumped our version codename to 23.11.0 Saturn after many versions spent in Jupiter's moons.

In November we also took the wraps off our Comet Storage product. We now offer an integrated, S3-compatible cloud storage solution, with great performance and with datacenters in multiple regions around the globe. This service is powered by our friends at Wasabi Cloud Storage, and we pass on Wasabi's own list pricing with no additional markup, giving you the convenience of a single bill.

Object Lock is an S3 feature for immutable storage. This provides a layer of defense against ransomware attacks, by preventing leaked credentials from damaging the backup storage location. In 2023 Comet gained support for using Object Lock on some S3-compatible destinations including AWS S3, Wasabi Cloud Storage, and Comet Storage, alongside our pre-existing support for immutable storage on Backblaze B2.

Over the course of the year, we also undertook a major project to refresh and modernize many parts of our user interface. Starting with the Comet Server web interface in April, we continued to update the Comet Backup desktop app in August, and the Comet Account Portal in November. The new designs look great, are easier to use, and should serve us well for many years to come.

We've had many more successful features over the course of the year, such as WebDAV support; single-sign-on with OIDC; improvements to Audit Logging; our official Docker container; new Recent Activity email reports; granular restore for Hyper-V; a new system for live-connected devices; Azure Key Vault integration; and many performance improvements.

Looking forwards into 2024

As always, please take a look at our Feature Voting page and raise your ideas, or upvote any existing ideas. We look at this system often to help prioritize our development.

We're keeping our plans under wraps for the moment - but as always, you can expect to see many of your requests ticked off this list!

· 2 min read

Comet partners with AreteK for distribution in Italy

Christchurch / Rome – December 22, 2023 – AreteK has partnered with Comet Backup to provide fast, secure backup to the Channel and IT teams in Italy.

“We are excited to be partnering with AreteK,” said Josh Flores, Comet’s General Manager. “This brings our solution to a regional distributor who Italian customers already know and trust.”

Comet Backup:

  • Offers an all-in-one platform to centralize your backup strategy for endpoints, servers, virtual environments, Microsoft Office 365, files and folders.
  • Offers a secure, encrypted backup solution that allows you to back up to your choice of either local or cloud storage destinations.
  • Integrates with technologies and storage providers such as: Amazon AWS, Google Cloud Storage, Microsoft Azure, Backblaze B2, Wasabi, Let's Encrypt, OpenStack and more.
  • Is available in Italian and 12 other languages and is used in more than 120 countries
  • Can be rebranded and personalized with your company name and logo

AreteK has chosen to distribute Comet Backup with the aim to expand the range of products dedicated to backup services, and in particular to satisfy the market needs of managed service providers (MSPs).

About Comet Backup

Comet provides fast, secure backup software for IT professionals and businesses worldwide, localizing to 13 languages. It enables organizations to secure their data, deliver business continuity and disaster preparedness. Trusted by customers across 120 countries, Comet has been recognized as a momentum leader by G2 and awarded “Best Software” and “Most Affordable” by Software Suggest. Founded by the same team who built MyClient and Nexus (now a J2 Global company), Comet is a privately held company based in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Comet PR Contact

About AreteK

AreteK is a company founded in 2015 and headquartered in Rome with the aim of identifying and promoting IT solutions suitable for SMEs. Our name, AreteK, is inspired by the Greek word aretè, which originally meant the ability of any thing, animal or person to perform its task well: we at Aretek operate every day trying to perform our tasks to the best of our ability and with the modus operandi necessary to respond with excellence to the IT needs of SMEs.

Follow and connect with AreteK: | LinkedIn | Facebook | YouTube | X