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Crashplan Evaluation Update

08/31/11

  06:16:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 964 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Storage

Crashplan Evaluation Update

In the continuing evaluation of CrashPlan, I hit a snag last weekend. The servers were down...and everything stopped... not only could I test the online functionality that morning, local backups between my home computers also stopped. And, many of them required me to give the service a kick a time or two, before everything would work again. My laptop, the only computer I'm currently backing up to Crashplan hadn't backed up in nearly 48 hours....kept saying it was offline, but restarting the service finally got it to see that it wasn't. I had to reboot some of my Windows computers due to software upgrades, so I hadn't noticed this problem at first.

Wonder what the availability of the service is...does this thing happen often? Is there a notice somewhere, explanations, etc....or is my Enterprise IT background affecting my expectations?

Then last night I hit a new snag. In redoing the RAID5 on Zen, I went and recreated the old partition as a full 3TB...and its used for Windows Image Backups and Oops!backup. And, the remaining space ~1.1TB got made into a new partition that I set aside just for CrashPlan. Its a bit more than what they offer for their seed option.

I have a lot of media files that I've accumulated over the years...some organized, some not....but duplicated on different systems. And, some of those systems are getting old, and lately...I seem to spend more time/money on backups and maintaining... than replacing or migrating those systems. But, the main problem is the duplication of files among my different home computers.

Now I had originally looked at Crashplan (and other in the cloud solutions) as something to do backups of my laptop data, and not be tied to my home network, etc. And, then grew to being offsite backup for my important media collection, especially all those pictures and videos I've taken over the years (most of my traditional format is lost, water damage...someday I should sort through that)...and everything else as I become more and more digital. IE: when I did the closing on my mortgage....I signed lots and lots of papers for mortgage company, but my copy was just a CD-R. Seemed all the SA people I spoke to, said Crashplan was the one...though when I first raised the idea around the local IT crowd, Carbonite was mentioned. But, Crashplan supports Linux, and that's important...since I'm running a Linux laptop.... though cloud backup and my laptop was original more of an issue when I was thinking of getting a Windows 7 laptop (at the time Windows 7 had changed something that broke smbclient from talking to it, but smbclient has since updated to work again....so I can still do backuppc on my home network....)

So, initially I pointed Zen and 4 other computers to the 1.1TB Crashplan volume. Zen is just backing up my profile directory (default), which is less than what I have Oops!Backup protecting (since not everything crams into the My Documents/My Pictures/My Videos/My Music...and even those that do...aren't organized much and dumping them in with other unorganized data would just make things worse....but I had intended to get everything off of TARDIS onto Zen....though I don't know where I left off, and don't know how to get back.) So, obviously all of TARDIS is one of the other 4 computers. Figure I want lots of backups of that system for when it finally packs it in....plus I'm strongly considering a Mac to replace it. And, it likely won't have the kind of storage (initially) that TARDIS has now. I also pointed Gumby to it, it has a couple external drives...where I know there's duplicate files between them (I treat one drive as archive and the other as active media...and I haven't cleaned up the active drive in some time. And, I still make copies to a couple network shares....one of which is still from TARDIS. (one of the things that didn't make it to Zen, because the DVD media center app doesn't work beyond XP....even though the service part is Java) Someday I'll upgrade to Blu-Ray and retire the old DVD player....

And, then I pointed box to it (because it happened to throw up a SMART warning the other day, and I'm not ready to do anything about it) and a local for my laptop.

Well, last night I was checking the laptop's backup progress....it does take a long time to push out my home directory on the laptop to CrashPlan central. And, saw that the local backup had stopped because the destination was full. Hmmm. Didn't expected it. Thought the service did data deduplication? But, I stopped it. Only I clicked the button next to the destination, rather than the button much lower down on the dialog (which required me to expand the dialog to see it). This resulted in ~1.1TB of data going poof, and all the other computers to lose it as a destination. I only wanted my laptop to stop going to it. So, slowly...Zen, TARDIS, and Gumby are working on backing up to it again.

I then got to wondering that the data deduplication feature I thought Crashplan offered. I found out that its only deduplicating per computer, not per account. That's going to be a problem now....since I'm pretty sure given that my backuppc pool is ~4.1TB (of 5.5TB) right now..that a 1TB seed disk is going to help much...and its even worse since it hardly does any dedup...the kind that I need.

While I would backup less to Crashplan than backuppc, with the duplication of data between different home computers not getting deduped....I could end up needing more than 5.5TB to backup all my home computers to the cloud.

Guess I'm going to have to go back and figure out what I want in cloud backup....

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Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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