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Diary of a cloud backup – part 4 – Crashplan

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Diary of a cloud backup – part 4 – Crashplan

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Apologies for posting yet another backup page.  There are a few people interested in the outcome, although I suspect even they are bored!

After my terrible experience with memopal, I decided to look at crashplan.  Manung Han at Lab49 had a good experience.  Crashplan was the next best offer price when I evaluated the first time around.  This time I don’t need to go over the ADSL issues etc.  If your interested in what happened last time I attempted an offline backup read on.  I am going to keep this article short and to the point for fear of overloading syndicated websites like Lab49 with backup pages.  I will post updates to this final page as I go.


After the last attempt I re-thought my strategy.  The new idea is to find a service that is free for the first month.  Then attempt backups with Linux, Mac and Windows.  These will not be full backups but big enough to test the system.

Crashplan feature summary

Crashplan Features

Crashplan is feature rich when compared to memopal.  For me these are the imporant ones:

  • Supports Mac, Linux and Windows.
  • Supports backups to Folders, Offline Disks, Other machines, Friends Machines and finally at crashplans own secure server.
  • Bandwidth throttling.
  • Encryption and good remote facilities.

Day 0 – Linux backup home folder 1.9Gb

Install: Very simple to install using the shell script provided.  One small gotcha.  If you do not have a version of java in the places it searches you can let it download one.  The script picked a version that would not run on my machine.  I have had the same issue myself in the past so I can not blame crashplan for this.  The solution is simple.  Remove the one provided and link to one of your own.  i.e as root or using sudo.

cd /usr/local/crashplan/
rm -Rf jre
ln -s /storage/dev/tools/java/jdk/jdk1.6.0_17/jre/ jre

After this start the backup service:

/etc/init.d/crashplan restart

Finally there should be an icon on your desktop for the gui but if not you can run this: /usr/local/crashplan/bin/CrashPlanDesktop
Once installed I had my folder backed up to crashplans server in a few hours. Job done!

Day 0 – Mac backup home folder 7.6Gb

Install: The mac install comes as a dmg file. Very easy and no problems at all. I ran a 7.6Gb backup onto the Linux machine over a 1Gbps network in less than two hours.  Then kicked off a backup to the online service at crashplan.  This will take around a day capped at 1mbps.

Day 2 – Mac backup home folder 7.6Gb

0.98 Mbps – It was throttled to 1Mbps max
The Mac backup has finished. Its now in two locations, and continues to detect changes and backup those too. Very impressed.

Day 0 – Windows backup Gb 42.2

Installed very easily. Backup started.

Day 7 – Windows backup Gb 46.4

0.66 Mbps – It was throttled to 1Mbps max and includes any pauses

152 hours later the backup is finished.  Some additional images were added during the time and crashplan picked them up too.  My verdict is Crashplan rocks.  It knocks memopal right out of the water.  The backups I have done completed smoothly with no outages.  The extra functionality is very useful and makes for an excellent product.  I will sign up once the free trial finishes.  Not only do they provide the unlimited storage, but there is quite a bit of extra functionality and refinement with the paid up version.

Excellent work, great job crashplan!

Graph of the uplink speeds during the backup.

Restoring files

The backup is finally complete several days later.  There are some final steps to go but nothing important.  For instance, I might employ crashplan to backup local offline storage, replacing my current systems.  Its time to test the restore system.

Test Steps

  1. Restore files to seperate folder.
  2. Compare them with the original folder.
  3. The only differences should be on regularly changed files or known differences since the last backup.

This test was conducted on Linux restoring about 1.3Gb.  The restore ran for about 30 mins at around 600mbps which is reasonable for my connection over such a large distance.  There were only expected differences so the test passes.


I will be signing up for the online backup.  I have yet to decide if I need crashplan plus for the extra options and flexibility.  Given that its a one off cost I will probably make the purchase at some point.

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