Online backup services keep your data safe

By , Computerworld |  Storage, cloud storage, online backup

The unlimited family package gives you backup for up to 10 computers for $120 a year. The company offers a full-featured trial for 30 days.

CrashPlan has a central interface that shows the status of your backups and how many files are queued up; it also has places to click for restoring files, for determining where the backups will be stored and for making configuration changes. CrashPlan doesn't visually mark files for backing up as Mozy and Carbonite do. The software does have an excellent log that shows all tasks performed.

By default, the software gathers up key personal files like music, video and desktop files for backing up, but ignores Windows and system files. However, you can manually add any file type to the backup, including system files.

After its initial backup, CrashPlan continually looks for changes in your system's files and adds those that it finds to its next backup. CrashPlan does this behind the scenes as you use your computer; I didn't notice any slowdown of my system as a result. By default, the system will send backups every 15 minutes, but that interval can be changed; you can do an incremental backup at any time as well.

CrashPlan has a screen that shows a progress bar with an estimate of how long it will take to finish (except, of course, when it is working in the background). The service can also back up the contents of an external hard drive.

CrashPlan uses 448-bit key Blowfish encryption (the free version uses 128-bit Blowfish encryption). Unlike the other applications reviewed here, which have deadlines after which deleted files are removed, files backed up to CrashPlan and then deleted from your hard drive are never removed unless you do it manually, according to the company.

CrashPlan colocates its servers at several data centers throughout the U.S., but doesn't mirror backups.

Test results

Uploading backup data to CrashPlan's servers was slow -- it stopped several times during the process, once for a little over an hour. As a result, it took 4 hours and 7 minutes to save 321MB during the initial backup.

At a Glance

CrashPlan

Codefortytwo Software

Price: Free (backup to other computers only); $25/year (CrashPlan+ w/10GB online storage); $50/year (CrashPlan+ w/unlimited online storage); $120/year (CrashPlan+ Family w/unlimited online storage for 2-10 computers)

Works with: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, iOS, Android, Windows Phone

Pros: Can back up entire computer; compatible with a variety of operating systems; service never deletes data

Cons: Slow transfers; doesn't visually mark files ready for back up

Archiving the entire C: drive took four days, 20 hours and five minutes, four times longer than the next closest service, Norton Online Backup.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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