Denise Goldberg's blog

Saturday, July 13, 2013

product review :: CrashPlan+

After upgrading my Internet connection to Verizon FiOS back in April I decided to (finally) switch my offsite backup to a more price sensible choice than the backup I'd been using for many years, Amazon S3. A while back I thought about switching to Glacier but the provider I was using for the S3 backups decided not to provide Glacier support. I then looked at other vendors that provided Glacier support thinking I would migrate my backups from S3 to Glacier using Amazon's management console. Unfortunately my initial provider hadn't used a sensible folder structure for the S3 backups; switching to Glacier using a different provider means I wouldn't have a reasonable structure to peruse my backups. That was a non-starter for me; it meant that I would need to re-upload all of my backups, yikes!

When I looked at current cloud backup solutions I discovered that many products available, and of those there were many that didn't meet my needs. I don't have all of my photos on my computer's hard drive; the files live on an external drive. Many of the cloud backup products will back up files from an external drive but if that drive is unplugged from your computer for a long period of time they delete the files from the backup. I would call that more of a mirrored solution than a backup, definitely something that won't work for me.

I did some web searches for cloud backup solutions that were true backups, not deleting files if an external drive was no longer attached to my computer. My choice? CrashPlan+.

I chose CrashPlan+ Unlimited which allows backup of an unlimited number of files from a single computer. Before I jumped in I checked that I would be able to transfer my license (and my backed up files) to a new computer. A simple search on the CrashPlan site gave me the instructions from transferring the license to a new computer, no need to re-upload.

I had a little under a terabyte of data to upload. Yup, that's a lot of data, mainly photos. There is an option to pay for CrashPlan to send a hard drive that you then ship back to be used as a seed for the initial upload. I thought about paying for that service, but then I decided to just let the backup run.

My FiOS service gives me 75 Mbps down and 35 Mbps up which is a very good speed for home access. The upload to CrashPlan was gated by more than my line speed though; server load on the vendor's side played into the upload speed as well. Because of that my CrashPlan+ upload speed (when I checked it periodically) seemed to be running at about 5 to 6 Mbps. My upload took just under 3 weeks running continuously. All things considered I don't think that's too bad.

The backups are automatic with the product checking for changed files on a periodic basis that is controlled by me. Since I like to sort through my photos and select the keepers before I create a backup I chose to point CrashPlan at an external drive as the source for my photos. I do the sorting and updating on my computer's hard drive, then copy the files to the external drive when I have decided on the keepers.

If you're looking for a cloud backup solution I'm very happy with my choice of CrashPlan+.

Click for product information from the vendor or for a review by an outside consultant, Tim Fisher.