Backups with CrashPlan

Twenty years ago, a power outage brought down a Novell server I was the sys-admin for… When the power came back, the  data volume was corrupt… And the backup was three weeks old… And 50 folks or so lost 3 weeks of email…  That’s when I learned the lesson that backups were important!!

In the last twenty years, I have successfully recovered from a number of hard drive failures, scripts gone wrong, and even the occasional stupid user error…  All because backups are pretty much the first thing I do once I build a new machine – whether for work or for home…

My current home solution for backups includes CrashPlan… Specifically, their “CrashPlan+ Family Unlimited” offering.CrashPlan

My main box is backed up in full to the Crash Plan cloud – and also through their software- to a local hard disk . The local copy is not because I don’t trust the cloud (I do), but simply to speed up a restore in the event of a major failure. My less critical (and smaller)  boxes are sent just to the cloud. There are even options to backup to your friends computers. Although I’ve not ventured down that path yet…

The initial seed is a bit of a nuisance… My experience shows that I can do it at about 100 GB/ day… So, it would take a while to do an initial backup… But the good news is of course  – you only need to do that full backup once… After that, only changed data gets sent to the cloud.

The backup is only as good as a restore…. So, you need to test that out. In my case, doing a full restore is impractical. But I will routinely bring back a few  GB’s just to prove that it works, and to get a feel for the rate to expect. (I brought back 5 GB’s in 3 minutes while writing this paragraph).

And as an added bonus – CrashPlan gets me remote access to my data… If I’m looking for a file, all I need is their App installed on my iPad, or any old web browser… And I can magically bring up that file… Even if I am not at home…

I would recommend Crash Plan to any home user looking for a backup solution…

(Before CrashPlan, I was a user of  EMC’s Mozy backup solution. And that too was great!  But their pricing model made it prohibitive with the amount of data that I have…)