A Plan for CrashPlan

Photo by Mike Birkenshaw, CC-BY-SA 2.0

I’ve been a very long-time CrashPlan user at home. In fact, I will have been backing up my data there for five years next month. I’ve also recommended it to many friends and family since it’s been consistently cheap and unlimited. Unfortunately, they have decided that they will no longer be serving home users and have given me 3 months to figure out how I plan to deal with that.

This isn’t to say there aren’t a lot of decent alternatives out there. Backblaze offers rock-bottom pricing on unlimited backup, around $50 per year per system. Carbonite (a perennial favorite) is a good deal if you have a lot of systems (4+) but not much data (<250GB). But all of these systems fall completely flat on a key feature for me: no Linux support.

While backing up my desktops and laptops is very important, backing up my NAS is mission-critical. All of my DVDs, Blu-rays, and CDs (as well as those from basically every single extended family member) are ripped to a FreeNAS sever with Plex. Needless to say, it would be a lot of work to recreate a media library that now totals 8.1TB. CrashPlan is the only unlimited storage provider offering a native Linux client. Even with the price increases, $10/mo isn’t bad at all.

The biggest downside, though, is that the migration process from Home to Small Business can only migrate up to 5TB. Now I have to do a complete backup of everything I already have, a process that took literally a year to complete. I’m fortunate enough to have a friend willing to let me leech his 200Mbps fiber connection, but that requires transporting two systems 45 minutes away and leaving them there for a week. Woof.

So what do you need to do if you’re using CrashPlan? Here’s the TL;DR.

  • If you have four or more devices and not a lot of data: Give Carbonite a shot. Unlimited devices with 250GB of data. Mac and Windows only.
  • If you have a lot of data or 3 or fewer devices: Backblaze is unlimited data but they charge per device. Mac and Windows only, but they sound open to adding Linux in the future.
  • If you have a lot of data and need to back up Linux devices: CrashPlan Small Business is the only game in town worth looking at here. There’s software you can use to back up to “cold” storage like Amazon Glacier or Backblaze B2, but it’s more expensive once you get past a few terabytes of data. WAY more expensive. The only sucky part of upgrading is any backup over 5TB goes into the trash and you have to upload it all again, a very painful process.

For me, I’m going to be using CrashPlan Small Business for my NAS and Backblaze on my desktops and laptops.

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3 Responses

  1. Stephen says:

    I am another unhappy customer of CrashPlan, who is trying to decide how to replace it. That’s for another time, though – and looking on the bright side, I will no longer have software that crashes without obvious reason and sometimes fails to start up but does not notify me (says the guy who just realised that he is 400+ gb behind in online backup, on a line that only does !).

    Regarding your data, I seem to recall that CrashPlan offered to ship a drive to customers that needed to rebuild and couldn’t wait months for their data to come back. Unfortunately I can’t find a link off-hand.

    Oops – I just found out why not, in a January 2016 article about Backblaze (http://www.eweek.com/storage/backblaze-launches-beta-of-restore-return-refund-by-mail):

    “Crashplan [sic] completely removed its Restore to Door feature for CrashPlan for Home users.”

    Great – thanks CrashPlan. I think it needs to reconsider this move, given the number of ex-customers it has already annoyed enormously.

  2. Greg says:

    So what did you decide on for a replacement? I have a little over 7.5TB backed up with them, and as of today, 6.1 months remaining on my license.

    • Jesse says:

      Since they were offering 75% off for the first year I decided to switch over to CrashPlan Pro. I had to trim back my largest backup to under 5TB (which means re-sending almost 3TB of previously backed up data) and it takes a while for that shrink to register on their side. So far it’s working better than Home did, though I’m not sure if the post-promo price of $10 a system is going to be worth it. I might try to rig the system by having some other method of backing up to my NAS from my various endpoints and then having CrashPlan backup the backups.

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