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Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software

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fyi: Crashplan having a sale currently:


It's still at a very good discount (59%), but I wish I learned about this a couple days ago:

How the Sale works -

On Friday, Nov. 23 at 6:00AM CST, CrashPlan 1-year plans will be FREE. Every two hours after that, the price will steadily increase until Monday Nov. 26, 2:00PM CST, when your purchase will be discounted 42%. The discount will remain at 42% until the sale ends, 11:59PM CST Monday.
--- End quote ---

Well, I thought I should report here that I finally stopped using CrashPlan. The memory use stayed around 1.5-2GB permanently, never improving over the years I continued using it! This is just a really bad sign IMO. But I couldn't be sure if there was something wrong until I tried another service, and as outlined in my original review, my needs were somewhat specific: affordable for large data sets (I'm now backing up nearly 3TB, up from just under 2TB when I wrote the review), a "seeded" backup option, and a local backup option in the same client, primarily.

I finally found iDrive and to my surprise it seems to meet all my needs. It has also been running on my full nearly-3TB data set for a few weeks now and memory use has hovered around 150MB! So clearly CrashPlan is doing something wrong, wrong, wrong.

Not only does iDrive do online and local backup - like CrashPlan - it *also* has a sync option and a full-disk image function (you can't schedule it though), it supports mobile devices too, it can backup Facebook and some other social media (many people here probably don't care, but it's an interesting feature), *and* it has online file sharing, which Crashplan and many other backup-oriented online storage systems don't support (so I don't have to keep using the free and highly space-limited Dropbox). It may be a security risk, and I would guess that in general CrashPlan's security is superior to iDrives, but for my needs iDrive is sufficient. Oh yeah, and they have a "seeded" backup and restore option too (called iDrive Express). It's kind of a Swiss Army Knife of features, which might be good or bad depending on your perspective, but I can say that at lesat memory use doesn't suffer because of it!

There are two caveats to the iDrive services that I should point out. First is that it's more expensive than CrashPlan. The amount of data I have necessitated the "10TB" plan, with is $375yr (holy crap, what!?). So actually iDrive would not have been an option for me at all had it not been for the fact that they have all kinds of deals out there. This is the one I took advantage of:
It has been set to expire "within a few days" for months now, it seems to be perpetually on sale essentially.

This is an odd one, $97 gets you both an iDrive Wifi (a local hard drive for backup that you can connect to wirelessly, great for people who only have laptops in their homes), *and* a 1 year subscription to the 10TB plan at iDrive. What's odd about it is it would be a huge discount - and worthwhile for me and probably many others - if it were *just* the 10TB plan, but it also includes the wifi device. Mine is actually sitting unused on my desk, it was the 10TB of online data I was after.

The other thing that's odd to me about this deal is I contacted them before finding this deal saying I would happily pay for a 3 or 5TB plan that was priced in-between the 1TB and 10TB plans they already have, and that the 10TB option was way too expensive for me and much more space than I needed anyway. A sales rep got back to me but even after repeated back-and-forth and knowing I was a potential CrashPlan convert, he didn't offer me a price that was even remotely appealing. I had written iDrive off and was just going to stick with CrashPlan until I found this deal. It's quite strange to me then that the sales rep wouldn't offer me even a *decent* deal, let alone this frankly kind of crazy discount (80% off).

So you pay $97 the first year basically, and then it's a discounted $59 rate for the 2nd year. After that it's the full price, which I don't think I'll be willing to pay. But it gives me 2 years to decide if I like the service and to find something better if it doesn't justify the price when that 3rd year renewal comes due. In that time they'll hopefully realize a 3 or 5TB mid-tier plan also makes sense, or bring down the cost of their 10TB as competition from others continues. 2 years from now storage costs could be a fair bit less, or at least that's my hope. :D

Anyway, the other issue with their service is that in order to get the iDrive Express you have to fill out an online form. It's not something you can do from within your online account, for some reason, so you have to fill out some details including your address. For some odd reason the form on their site never worked for me, it always told me that I had to fill in the "State" field, which of course I had filled in every time to no avail; it kept giving me that error. I tried on multiple browsers, then multiple computers, and it never worked. I contacted their support several times about it and they said to try again and couldn't understand why it didn't work, but I'm honestly not confident they even tried it themselves, so it may well be legitimately broken. I finally called in to resolve the issue, which they insisted on (they wouldn't do it over email), and while the support rep and overall experience was not particularly good, I did finally get everything resolved. The iDrive "express" shipment took quite a while to arrive, but it's free (I think they have faster shipping options, but I was still using CrashPlan and not in a hurry at this point).

iDrive itself is fine. Its interface is a bit quirky, but no worse than CrashPlan, and according to their support the client is native, not Java. It certainly seems to respond and perform better than CrashPlan's did, particularly in the area of memory use. Bandwidth usage has been fine, in fact it saturated my upstream cable bandwidth until I throttled it (the throttle percentage is relative to your LAN connection speed, it seems, and not in some specific unit of measure unfortunately, e.g. Kb/s, so I had to set it to 10% or something of my 100mb LAN port; not sure if this also affects actual LAN transfer or just WAN). I don't use the social media backup yet, nor have I tried online file sharing or file sync. I just started using local backup, but have been using the online since my "Express" transfer finished a week or so ago. I haven't tried a restore yet, I know I should test that and I will soon.

Overall I'm fairly happy with iDrive and plan to stick with it for at least 2 years at this point. For those with 1TB of data or less, their standard plan is competitively priced and the breadth of features combined with reasonable resource use is, IMO, unmatched. Even if you do have "only" 1TB of data, iDrive Express ("seeded backup and restore) is still very worthwhile, and many other services don't offer it despite offering "unlimited" space, a fact which seems quite inconsistent, even disingenuous, to me.

So has anyone else had experience with iDrive? Anyone still using CrashPlan?

- Oshyan

I also recently started using iDrive, I still have an account with Backblaze which I'll let expire when it comes up, (the Backblaze "we'll delete your data if your computer doesn't log in within 6 months" policy is a real killer since I've been OS for 6 months or more at a time every two or three years).

Installed the iDrive program a few weeks ago, I'm only backing up ~270GB (which is still uploading) so memory usage of the three components is ~30-40MB.  It also means I'm only on their standard plan, (1TB), but it only cost US$14.95 for the first year which I got by registering for a free account and installing the software.  Less than 24 hours later I get an email offering the discount so I thought I'd try it until I find something better/else.

Accessing my files is pretty easy using their Android app or via a browser, plus I can back up all my devices to the one account without paying any extra: 3 computers; 2 tablets; 1 phone - (the total is still well under 1TB).

The big plus compared to Backblaze is that I choose which files I want to backup, not some idiot sitting in another country.

Have you tried Roll Your Own solutions with S3 or Glacier backing it up?  That's what I'm starting to look into now.

I might do a mini-review roundup when I've solidified... but that's a bit away.  Some that I'm looking at:

Cloudberry Backup
CloudBerry Box
Jungle Disk -  Not sure if they still have the desktop version publicly available.
S3 Backup

These last items are command-line tools.  The command line option, while more than I wanted to get into, is becoming appealing since I can link it to my current backup solutions:

S3Sync.rb - The author isn't maintaining it anymore, so not sure I want to get into this.
S3 Sync
S3 Tools

A couple of articles: (Of course, s3fs is in an uncertain state, so I'm going to have to deal with alternatives... maybe)

Of Course, there's also Tarsnap- but I'm not going that hardcore:


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