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About a year ago, I jumped into a 4-year digital marriage with CrashPlan+ Unlimited. Since then, CrashPlan has been quite instrumental in my backup ecosystem.

First of all, I signed up for a 4-year CrashPlan Unlimited account for ~$190.

This comes to about ~$4 per month.

I do not recommend jumping into a 4-year commitment with any service before trying them out first.

Don’t be impulsive like me. (In my defense however, CrashPlan offers a risk-free money back guarantee)

Here are the main selling points that convinced me to choose CrashPlan over other providers:

  • Linux/OS X compatibility
  • 448-bit encryption with the optional ability to upgrade security
  • Ability to restore individual file(s) over the web
  • Remote backups to other drive(s) or friends/family computers for free of charge
  • Forever retention of deleted files
  • Unlimited storage space with no limit on individual file size
  • Easy/set-it and forget-it interface on Mac OS X
  • Priority customer service with paid plans
  • Data de-duplication & sound technical backup process
  • The “single computer” plan allows you to attach external storage
  • Most recent file(s) get’s priority when backup engine is running over older files

Not too shabby. Especially for ~$4 per month.

At the time of this post, I have backed up around 700GB+ to CrashPlan’s servers and likely will have backed up several Terabytes of data by the time my 4-year subscription comes to an end.

Most of my data consists of irreplaceable audio, video and images. Generally it is recommended that one keeps 3 copies of backups in 3 different locations:

1.) With YOU

2.) In the Cloud (i.e. CrashPlan)

3.) Offsite (i.e. Grandma’s house etc..)

Unfortunately, I have not setup a (#3) offsite solution just yet. I am debating whether I should use CrashPlan to have encrypted backups in my offsite location as well but I am a bit hesitant of depending on the same provider for both my primary and secondary backup(s).

Anyway…

Here are some annoyances of using CrashPlan:

File Analysis & Scanning Too SlowIf I plug in my 1TB external drive, CrashPlan will take several hours just to analyze, scan and index all the files contained within the drive. This is expected, but, if I remove the drive and plug it back in, this process re-starts all over again and I am forced to wait several more hours for the analysis/scanning process to end before even backing anything up! An easy solution to this annoyance escapes me right now, but it would certainly be helpful if this process was dramatically faster in the future.

Initial backup takes foreverAgain, other than CrashPlan’s seeded drive solution, an easy answer escapes me. It took me about 3 weeks of continuous uploading to backup about 400GB of data.

The backup engine runs in Java – for fucks sake, this is annoying. If I plug in my 1TB drive, java swallows up so much RAM from my machine that sometimes I contemplate stabbing my eyes with a spork.

While I have restored a couple of dozen individual file(s) from CrashPlan, I must note that I have not done a full restoration of my data using CrashPlan’s mirror of my data. I wish there was a easy way to test data integrity without doing a full restore over the internet.

Overall, I recommend CrashPlan, especially for the Power User.

A better backup solution might come to market in the near future, but as of now, CrashPlan is certainly a strong choice.

When my data tops over 10TB+, I might have to look for another solution…perhaps something along the lines of Amazon Glacier. Until then, I will be using CrashPlan.

If you have any alternative recommendation(s) in any capacity, let me know.