Henrik Sommerfeld

Switching from CrashPlan and other Backup Services

A week before my annual subscription of CrashPlan would expire I got an e-mail informing me that the CrashPlan for Home service was discontinued. My subscription was extended by 60 days to give me enough time to find another service. I’ve used it for a couple of years and have been quite happy with it, except maybe for the micro stuttering I experienced. It had the possibility to back up to a local external drive as well as online (offsite) with plenty of configurable options.

No compelling alternatives

Obviously CrashPlan found that the consumer market isn’t an attractive business and having looked at the competing services, this seems to be a general truth. The generous storage offerings from Amazon, Google and Microsoft seems to be difficult to compete with. It turns out that most (well, all I have found) true online backup services have some of these drawbacks:

  • File size upload limitations
  • Limited file versioning
  • Bandwidth throttling
  • Refusing to back up some file extensions
  • Only allows backing up one drive
  • Prehistoric GUI
  • Enterprise pricing
  • Dishonest marketing

If you want to go for any online backup service, you really need to read through the fine print to find the limitations. I found Cloudwards' Best Cloud Backup Services 2017 to be a good comparison of the different backup offerings available.

What are my real backup needs?

The machine I’m looking for a backup solution for, is a traditional computer standing on the floor under my desk with a bunch of drives in it. Rethinking my needs, I realised that what I actually need are two things, a backup of most of my files to a local backup so I can restore fairly quick (1) and an archival solution for self-created content that is irreplaceable (2). The latter mostly consists of raw files from my camera.

Chosen solution

Since I already use OneDrive, I chose to extend that storage and move everything important into it. Unfortunately OneDrive doesn’t allow files to be stored on different drives, so I uploaded my photos from previous years through the web interface and set them not to sync locally. In addition to this I enabled File History in Windows and made sure all important files were included (many more than I have in OneDrive). This way I can restore any file from my external drive quickly, and in case something really bad happens I will have to download them from OneDrive. This is good enough for me the and still adheres to the 3-2-1 principal. Everything I have in OneDrive I also have on my computer and on my external backup drive. Anything not in OneDrive I can live without, it will just be a bit time-consuming to reinstall and redownload some stuff.

Update 2017-08-27: Having uploaded an additional 278 GB to OneDrive through the web interface I have to say it worked great, pretty much maxing out my 100 MBit/second upload connection. However, two files didn’t upload and the tab I used to upload completely hang in Google Chrome, occupying 2.5 GB of RAM and 100% of one CPU core. Uploading those two files again (which were listed as errors) worked without problem.

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