jeudi, février 27, 2014

Why CrashPlan Kicks Ass

CrashPlan is righteously presenting itself as
"The most comprehensive backup solution".
Commenting on Mauricio Prinzlau's article, How Crashplan Online Backup Service Trumps Competition, I felt I needed to give some complementary indications on why Code 42's CrashPlan software is such an efficient and flexible backup solution. In the end, I felt the comment itself would make a great blog post! So here it is.

One thing that is pretty cool with CrashPlan is that you can backup your files accross your different local or remote computers, and you are even allowed to share backup storage space with friends. It actually allows you to do that with the free version.

To save some bandwidth, you can backup large data sets on a local drive, copy it on a portable drive and import it on any other computer with CrashPlan running (yours or your friends'), and CrashPlan will automatically identify the backup and start syncing it right away across the network.

It's also easier when you need to restore a lot of data: just copy and import the backup set back to the original computer, and you won't need to rely on the network or CrashPlan to send you a hard drive to restore your data [yes, they can].

As the data is compressed and encrypted, the owner remains the only person to have access to the actual backed-up data, so privacy-wise it is bullet-proof, too. Just keep your password strong, and to yourself.

Using a combination of paid licensing (where you need to split a lot of data in multiple "backup sets") and free licensing for computers with simpler needs, you can manage your own off-site backup cloud for the entire office, as well as all your family members and your friends, while keeping the overall backup budget to the lowest and maximizing your storage and bandwidth cost.

CrashPlan is very good software, however there are a few issues that can show up once in a while. In particular, one should be aware that when backuping data located on a removable drive, make sure the drive remains connected to the computer. If it remains disconnected for a few days and CrashPlan keeps running, it might silently sweep off the backed-up data from the backup destinations (local, off-site and CrashPlan cloud as well). It happened to me once after a source hard drive had a fault, and it remained offline for a certain time while I was running an interminable chkdsk on it, using another computer. Since some files where corrupted after the fault and CrashPlan swept away the backups -- exactly at the moment I would have needed them -- CrashPlan ended up being useless. But if I knew this beforehand, I would immediately have made a copy of the backup set and saved the day. So you better know this.

It can also become a headache when, for some obscure reason, one computer is suddenly unable to reach any backup destination, even though they are online. CrashPlan do it's best to establish the connections without needing to reconfigure your firewalls and routers, but you can encounter situations that require you to read through the manuals and forums to fix them.

But overall, I agree that CrashPlan is, as far as I know, the most innovative, complete, painless and affordable backup solution on the market nowadays.

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