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Last post Author Topic: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software  (Read 49026 times)

JavaJones

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Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software
« Reply #50 on: February 27, 2016, 10:29:35 PM »
What a stroke of luck that I saw this. I didn't have notification turned on, I haven't logged-in for months, and just randomly decided to. :D

Anyway, iDrive. Well... unfortunately I can't recommend it wholeheartedly, but maybe with some caveats/reservations.

It's a tremendously ambitious product and I think that's where they're falling down. It tries to do local and cloud backup, sync, mobile backup, disk imaging, cloud file sharing, and more, across multiple platforms (including, as I said, mobile). And their prices are generally competitive. Which means they're trying to do more stuff within the same revenue envelope/profit margins, which generally means corners will be cut. In this case I think the corners are cut in both Support and Development/QA.

What you end up with is a product that, when it works, works decently but not exceptionally. It is programmed (seemingly) in a functional but not clever or elegant way. Functions like deduplication are simplistic or outright missing/not working, for example. If you move a file to a new location it has to re-upload it (last I checked, admittedly it's been a few months since I did, I just stopped worrying about it). When it does a backup it has to scan all your files again and it takes ages with large file sets, even though the app is running all the time and theoretically should *know* what has changed already. The realtime backup is a separate function from the normal backup.

Perhaps one of the most important things is that the notification system for failed backups is *part of the application itself*. This means if the application fails to start for some reason (as happened to my mother for many months recently), then you may never realize it and your data could be not backed up without your knowledge! This contrasts with Crashplan (and presumably many other providers, though I don't know for sure) which have the cloud platform itself, i.e. your backup account, notify you if no data comes in for x days. I still get notifications from Crashplan that I haven't backed up in like 9 months. ;) Other than that silliness (I stopped paying ages ago, why hasn't my account been deleted?), the idea of notifying from the cloud account makes tons more sense because then you know if your local application is not doing its job! If you rely on the application to notify you, your likelihood of failure is much higher.

The big problem though is that while these issues are generally fixable (in some cases it seems it should be fairly simple to fix something, like the notifications for example), when you report them to their support you generally get nowhere. Support is bad in my experience, and that's a problem. I am really just hoping that their dev team is actually working and improving things and that with time it will get better enough.

In the end for me there are just very few real options. I have a very large amount of data, over 3TB with millions of files, and I don't have a bidirectional gigabit connection nor $100s of dollars to spend every month for backup. If price were not a concern I might use some kind of AWS-backed setup since they have an option to mail physical disks for initial data seed. But given price sensitivity, iDrive is one of the very few options that offers data seeding (for free no less!) and that also does local+cloud backup. The fact they do a lot of other things is interesting and sometimes helpful too. I've actually used the cloud file sharing a few times and been happy it existed, even if it's a little clunky. But I'd happily sacrifice that and some other functions for a more reliable and well coded core app.

That being said, Crashplan - one of the few other options - was just consuming way too much memory, and had its own reliability issues at times as well. iDrive works *most* of the time and does its job adequately, as far as I can tell. If I had less data or more money, I'd probably recommend something else (not sure specifically what). But given my needs I'm still sticking with iDrive for a while longer to see how it develops. If they can deliver on the promise of their app+service it could actually be incredible. Having all these features in one app *could* be great if they were all well developed and reliable. Let's hope they get there...

- Oshyan

dr_andus

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Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software
« Reply #51 on: February 28, 2016, 07:44:51 AM »
Oshyan,

Thanks so much for getting back to me and for the detailed review!  :Thmbsup:

I've decided to take the plunge. BTW, your 75% off link is still working, so doubly thanks for that!

My data needs aren't huge (below 1TB). I've been with Mozy since their early days, but their prices have crept up so ridiculously over the years (without delivering any noticeable improvements on my side, in fact degrading the service options), that I'm being pushed to jump ship. In comparison IDrive seems very reasonable.

The problem is the whole lock-in and switching-cost thing. Once you've got your stuff up there, inertia sets in and they think they can just milk you forever. But at least IDrive allows you to easily get your data back out in one go, so you can move somewhere else.

JavaJones

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Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software
« Reply #52 on: February 29, 2016, 01:26:46 AM »
I'm glad to hear the discount link is still working. Let us know what you think of iDrive once you have it up and running!

- Oshyan

mwb1100

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Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software
« Reply #53 on: February 29, 2016, 03:15:14 PM »
PC Magazine has recently posted a comparative review of online backup services:

  - http://www.pcmag.com...,2817,2288745,00.asp

I haven't read it, but I did look at it enough to know that iDrive, Crashplan, and SpiderOak are all included.

dr_andus

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Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software
« Reply #54 on: February 29, 2016, 03:29:24 PM »
Thanks for the link. Looks like IDrive is the top recommended service by the editors, but in the comments some beg to disagree...

IDrive Review & Rating | PCMag.com

Quote
Editors' Note: As you can see in the comments below, not everyone who uses IDrive has a flawless experience with the service. In fact, many of IDrive's competitors' reviews also have multiple negative comments. We're happy to see that IDrive staff is responsive enough to jump into our comments section to address some of these concerns. We've been testing and rating online backup services, including IDrive, for more than eight years now. In our latest round of testing, we had no significant problems with IDrive's customer service, and features have worked as advertised. And when they haven't, we've noted that, and adjusted the score accordingly, as we do for every product we review. 

dr_andus

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Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software
« Reply #55 on: May 02, 2016, 05:33:16 AM »
I'm glad to hear the discount link is still working. Let us know what you think of iDrive once you have it up and running!

Hi Oshyan and all,

Having used it for a couple of months now, IDrive is proving to be perfect for my needs and wins hands-down over my previous service, Mozy Home, both on price and convenience.

My needs are fairly modest (backing up around 300GB once a day), and I don't restructure my folder hierarchy often, so repeated backups of my moved files is not a problem.

It takes about an hour for IDrive to scan through my internal and external hard drive (when it's plugged in), and it's gentle with the resources and the bandwidth, so I don't even notice when it's backing up stuff.

I like it that you don't have to have your external drive plugged in every time, IDrive just backs it up the next time it finds it. Mozy Home just used to delete the external drive backup when it couldn't find it!

Non-US first-time users of IDrive Express may want to keep in mind that there is an extra shipping cost for receiving and returning the Express drive for seeding the account with your data, and there may also be an extra import duty or VAT on it, which is silly, as you're not buying the drive, just borrowing it and then returning it, but, oh, well... It was still a good deal compared to other options.

All in all I'm very happy with the experience.

4wd

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Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software
« Reply #56 on: May 02, 2016, 09:28:06 PM »
Non-US first-time users of IDrive Express may want to keep in mind that there is an extra shipping cost for receiving and returning the Express drive for seeding the account with your data, and there may also be an extra import duty or VAT on it, which is silly, as you're not buying the drive, just borrowing it and then returning it, but, oh, well... It was still a good deal compared to other options.

Looks like they changed their terms since I mentioned them back here.

However, under item 7 of their current Hard Drive Shipment Agreement, (available on the iDrive Express order page in your account), you can ask for reimbursement:
Quote
7. You will be responsible for arranging shipping, handling, tracking and insuring the temporary storage device back to IDrive. Return shipping payment is available via a pre-paid shipping label for US customers. Non-US customers may need to pay return shipping fees, but can request reimbursement from IDrive. Reimbursement is not guaranteed. IDrive assumes no liability for a lost or damaged drive or for loss or breach of data during the return shipment process. You acknowledge that if you don't use the current version of IDrive application to backup your data to the device, it is possible that the data is possibly stored unencrypted on the hard drive and that no sensitive data is included.

Can't hurt to ask.

dr_andus

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Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software
« Reply #57 on: May 03, 2016, 06:15:19 AM »
However, under item 7 of their current Hard Drive Shipment Agreement, (available on the iDrive Express order page in your account), you can ask for reimbursement:

Thanks, I did.  :) Unfortunately, they no longer do that for international customers. But for some reason they haven't updated the Agreement. Either an oversight, or they're managing it on a case-by-case basis (i.e. they might refund it to Canadians who are nearby, but not to others farther afield).