back to article CrashPlan crashes out of cloudy consumer backup caper

Code42 Software, operator of the Crashplan cloud backup service, has decided it's had enough of providing its services to consumers. The company, based in Minnesota, US, has not said why other than it's reached a decision to “focus all our efforts on the business and organisation market” and to “shift our business strategy to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Although it's a bit crap....

    ...at least its not the usual, you have 30 days* to download those 10,000 photos, MP3's and videos.

    *If you're lucky to get that long.

    1. CraPo

      Re: Although it's a bit crap....

      I'm 4 days short of my renewal date...so I have 64 days to find a new provider and resync 2.5TB of data, so not that lucky.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Although it's a bit crap....

        That probably gives some idea of why they're exiting the market. You'll be costing them $25/month plus bandwidth and paying $6.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Although it's a bit crap....@CraPo

        I'm 4 days short of my renewal date...so I have 64 days to find a new provider and resync 2.5TB of data, so not that lucky.

        64 days? That should give you ample time to buy a couple of 3 TB drives from well, anywhere. And then you'd not be dependent upon dodgy cloud backup providers. Or, if you don't want the hassle, and are prepared to take certain risks, Google Drive is cheap, and provides some limited backup against hardware failures. And if you encrypt files of the Drive-linked folder, there's little chance Google can either scan them or leak them.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: Although it's a bit crap....@CraPo

          Google Drive is £80/month for that amount of storage.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Although it's a bit crap....

        "...so I have 64 days..."

        Err, 64 + 365 = 429 days.

    2. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: Although it's a bit crap....

      Nuance customers who were using PaperPort Anywhere got all of two weeks notice, when their cloud provider changed hands. Imagine coming back to that after a fortnight's holiday !

    3. Richocet

      Re: Although it's a bit crap....

      If it's being used for backup, wouldn't the process be to find a new provider and re-upload all files to be backed up starting with the most important ones? For the cautious, upload the files to the new provider before the old CrashPlan cuts off the service.

      No need to download the files and re-upload them somewhere else. Unless the service was being used to extend storage, not back it up...

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: Although it's a bit crap....

        Alternatively just pay the $10/device/month. Yes it is around $50/yr more expensive than the home plan for a single source but you either value the data or you don't. I started using it as an extra level (3 copies, 2 formats, 2 locations) of backup just this year. I liked it because of the in-built encryption from the client side, a facility most others did not offer. The per device pricing aspect is easily side-stepped by aggregating your data client-side first, something I'd advise you to do anyhow. That just leaves you with $50/yr extra to find and if that's what I need to pay so that they can continue to offer me the service then I'm ok with that.

  2. Peter 26

    Alternatives

    I am almost 30 days into their trial and really impressed with the software, it just works. Select the folders you want anywhere, with versions, it sits in the background and doesn't annoy you. I was going to quite happily carry on paying for the comfort of knowing if the worst happens I'm covered. All the alternatives mentioned like dropbox and google drive kind of suck. You have to move your files to the correct folders and I don't really trust their version control if hit by some sort of crypto malware.

    I'll probably just stump up the higher price.

    1. TReko

      Re: Alternatives

      You can use a better sync client like SyncDocs which will sync to Google Drive from any folders, not just a specific folder. However, you're still going to pay Google for storage.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real reason ?

    I suspect too many home users defaulted to the use your own storage option - thus no revenue from the installed user base.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The real reason ?

      Or too many people doing their utmost to store the entire internet for a few dollars a month on it: https://www.reddit.com/r/DataHoarder

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The real reason ?

        "too many people doing their utmost to store the entire internet"

        It can't be that, it's just not possible. I've tried, but "wget -r https://google.com" simply doesn't work, and I can't believe anyone has the time to work through all the domains one by one.

        1. Graham Cobb

          Re: The real reason ?

          "wget -r https://google.com" simply doesn't work

          That is obviously because you forgot the span-hosts option. Try "wget -rH https://google.com" instead.

    2. James12345

      Re: The real reason ?

      Like me!

      Does anybody have any recommendations for an alternative? I backup the home PCs to my home server and to a PC at a friend's place, and the home server gets backed up to a USB drive and the remote PC. Data sync to their cloud was way too slow (I'm in the UK, their system is in the US) - by the end of the 30 day free trial, it had only done a small percentage of a full sync. I would have paid, but the paid service didn't work for me.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: The real reason ?

        It's not as consumer friendly, but if you're a Linux guy you should take a look at tarsnap. It's the first one of these cloudy backups I've found that does exactly what I'm after - it looks a bit amateurish, but google the guy who runs it before you write it off.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Alternative

        Here is an alternative and you can host your own server in your LAN or Internet facing

        https://www.restoresure.com/

      3. BigAndos

        Re: The real reason ?

        I used to use CrashPlan but found the upload painfully slow from the UK. After a month it still hadn't backed up all of my measley 200GB of data. I jumped ship to LiveDrive instead. The software seems to be just as good and upload speeds are decent.

    3. philthane

      Re: The real reason ?

      Yup that's me, an old PC in the shed running LAMP plus Crashplan. Looks like I'll have to go back to Rsync...

  4. simpfeld

    Darn it

    I was looking at them as a further backup of a home server. Sadly lots of people are unhappy as their recommended replacement (Carbonite) doesn't have a Linux client (which I believe lots of users used to backup a home NAS). Neither does Backblaze.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Darn it

      Hmm nice of them to compare Carbonite

      https://www.crashplan.com/en-us/business/compare/

      1. psychonaut

        Re: Darn it

        you can use carbonite to back up network drives, but you cant do that with the home version, you have to use one of the more expensive business grade tariffs. its a bit clunky having to assign mapped drives but it does work.

  5. Vince

    This statement that you have until October 2018 is not true in the majority of cases - it all depends when your subscription currently ends. Some people will have just over 60 days and that's it.

    Moving to the CrashPlan Business option isn't that great if you use other functionality such as Friend or Other Computer backup as well - because that's not in that version, nor if you have over 5TB of storage as you'll have to send the data again.

    Moving to Backblaze also doesn't work for quite a few use cases that crop up - that'd include me as Backblaze doesn't offer very long retention times for previous versions, does not allow computer to computer backup, does not allow install on a Server OS (which is great if you happen to have one personally), and many other things.

  6. CT

    Same here, home-based user using it for daily partial backups of current work to local removable drive, no cloud involved.

    Bit annoying, as I only migrated to it a month ago.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Surely you could use rsnapshot or some other variant if you are using a local drive only.

  7. Matt Collins

    Their logo is a house... just sayin'

  8. eightiescalling

    No mention of Family plan...

    It's fine quoting single user/machine prices but CrashPlan are busy sticking their head in the sand for the family plan users.

    4 machines in different bits of the country based on where family live all backing up - and less than 150GB of data in total so not exactly a "hoard the internet" scenario.

    I've yet to find any alternative provider that comes close on functionality, price and OS support. Their options are certainly no use - Carbonite want $270 and CrashPlan will want $480...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No mention of Family plan...

      Lots of people are saying things like, "there's no comparative plan elsewhere", while sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring the ironic fact that maybe it's because it's not cost effective.

      1. idiot

        Re: No mention of Family plan...

        I'm in much the same boat. I'm looking at Cloudberry (one off $30) and arc (one off $50), then paying for the storage separately. Both can do local backups too but arc won't run on linux, cloudberry will, but doesn't appear to run on a rpi. Amazon Cloud Drive is 1TB for $60 a year. Or you can use the usual cloud storage suspects, might prove cheaper if you don't store much.

        More faff to setup, unpleasant initial costs, more difficult pc to pc backup, but at least the ongoing costs are OK. The restore speeds and the restore gui can hardly be worse than crashplan! Perhaps not worth it for one or two machines (backblaze would be cheaper for instance) but makes more sense for lots. One things for sure crashplan aren't getting any more of my money. Can't trust them.

        1. Christopher Lane

          Re: No mention of Family plan...

          + 1 for Arq Backup & Amazon Cloud Drive

          Having said that Amazon Cloud Drive isn't unlimited any more --> https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/08/amazon-ends-its-unlimited-cloud-storage-plan/

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No mention of Family plan...

          > "One things for sure crashplan aren't getting any more of my money. Can't trust them"

          Because they made a business decision to stop a service? Why does everyone feel such entitlement to this service, and CrashPlan are under some obligation to keep it going forever, regardless of any other public or private factors?

          1. idiot

            Re: No mention of Family plan...

            Because they sold me a backup service, for money. The essence of a backup service is that it is unconditionally reliable. Pulling the service for whatever reason rather undermines this. They have unambiguously let me down. I can't see why this shouldn't put them on my shit list along with google chat clients. It's not like I'm demanding compensation. I'm just making an informed decision to not do business with them in future based on their past behaviour. How long till they get bored with small businesses?

            Also keep in mind I was paying them more than double the cost of storing the data on s3 i/a (or b2). What they allowed others to do is nothing to do with me or my contract with them.

            I am also looking at https://www.duplicati.com/ which is free and opensource and uses the usual storage suspects, but the block level version is beta...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: No mention of Family plan...

              > "Because they sold me a backup service, for money"

              They sold you a years-worth of backup service, for money. And they are providing that.

              Look, I get that this is annoying and/or frustrating, but I really don't get the ire directed towards them, or the expectation that somehow because this is a backup service, they should provide it forever and never change.

              It's not like they're pulling the plug immediately with little notice, they're even providing an additional 2 months service for free to provide more time, on-top of honoring the remaining existing subscription. On-top of that, they're offering a seamless migration path to an alternative service of theirs (yes, a bit more expensive, but heavily discounted for the first year). Or there's a discounted path to an alternative provider should you desire that.

              1. idiot

                Re: No mention of Family plan...

                I really don't know what your point is. Yes, they could have been *significantly* more unreasonable about this. They're still asking for $100 a month for something I used to pay something like $150 a year for, that backblaze b2+duplicacy will more or less will give me for $30 a year. If you aren't allowed to get annoyed about price rises close to 10x I'm not really sure when you are. I'm still not going to do business with them in future. Remember they were the dumb asses who offered (and still offer) unlimited storage. Everyone knows you can't do that.

                1. Mark 65 Silver badge

                  Re: No mention of Family plan...

                  If the new cost to you is $100/mth then you should probably think about trying to aggregate data to a centralised server before uploading. If you feel you need to have 10 separate machines all syncing independently to the cloud then guess what, you need to pay for that privilege.

                  1. idiot

                    Re: No mention of Family plan...

                    I shouldn't think about doing that. These are home users. What you are suggesting is at best, daft. As I said I'm just going to use a different system and pay for the storage directly.

                    Also I *was* paying for that privilege. I paid what they asked for a service they offered. They had room to make a profit from my usage. If you aren't silly enough to give people unlimited storage it should be fairly straightforward to not charge $120 per year per machine. They could always have charged me a bit more rather than a lot more (I didn't set their prices). Unfortunately they were naive and dug themselves a hole. That's *still* not a characteristic I want from a backup service. There is no way to spin this that makes them look good. How long until they say that the needs of small businesses are very different to enterprises and pull out of that market too.

      2. eightiescalling

        Re: No mention of Family plan...

        @AC - I'd agree that the current price model is unsustainable - offering all you can eat and being surprised when some people can eat a huge amount only ends one way. That doesn't stop them revising the pricing to a get what you pay for. Or are you suggesting that >$1/GB, taking Carbonites pricing model, is a reasonable rate for a home user considering certain economies of scale if they have their supply chain right?

        Unfortunately for now the market seems to be split between unsustainable all you can eat packages and highly priced, under capable packages (the continuous file tracking is a must as I can't guarantee when PC illiterate family members will be using their computers or how long for) as the comparison. Suspect I'll end up using the Crashplan discount offer on their business plan and seeing if anything changes over the year before a final decision (or decisions as it'll probably take multiple providers to cater for different use cases across the family).

    2. Aitor 1

      Re: No mention of Family plan...

      I suggest you go to Backblaze.... they have no linux support and you have to tweak the client to have 2 threads if you dont live in the us, but appart from that it is decent, and now it also allows you to manage other peoples backups, so quite similar to your current setup I guess.

      Beware that versioning retention is worse as many have pointed out.

      I use it with both my main computer and the missus and it works quite well (using means having had to recover stuff).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternative peer-to-peer backup?

    I'm one of the few who took advantage of the ability to back up to remote servers/friends using Crashplan - having a relatively local but remote backup set via logins and without having to worry about tunnels or NAT traversal was of big value.

    Are there any alternatives providing the above or similar? Or will I have to roll my own high maintenance, not-worth-the-hassle solution?

    1. Old Shoes

      Re: Alternative peer-to-peer backup?

      You can buy a NAS such as Synology or WDMyCloud or QNAP and their software will allow you to sync NAS to NAS. So back up your files to your local Synology, and then N minutes later, your files are also available on the remote Synology.

      https://www.synology.com/en-global/dsm/feature/desktop_backup

      Sorry if I sound like a shill. I'm an ex-CrashPlan user (R.I.P.) and I've recently made the shift to Synology. The WDMyCloud is a bit bare bones, Haven't used QNAP.

      1. idiot

        Re: Alternative peer-to-peer backup?

        If you are just interested in sync, resilio sync is interesting (it can encrypt the remote storage). It's based on bittorrent so multiple nodes work well. It doesn't do versions though if that is important to you.

      2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: N minutes later, your files are also available on the remote Synology.

        Where N can be a rather large number if there's a WAN in between the two*. ...and this is it, a good product should tell you that though you have commanded it to transmit 1Tb of files across a WAN, these are the ones that have made it across the link so far. This is not a criticism of the hardware, but a fact of life concerning the speed of light through a typical broadband connection.

        *Which could be a life-saver if you've just been hit with Ransomware, but it is prudent to ensure versioning is available on your chosen product, and that the versions are easily accessible. All very well having the pre-ransomware version of the 1000 files so far encrypted in there, but not if you have to restore them individually.

      3. Morten Bjoernsvik

        Re: Alternative peer-to-peer backup?

        <quote>You can buy a NAS such as Synology or WDMyCloud or QNAP and their software will allow you to |sync NAS to NAS. So back up your files to your local Synology, and then N minutes later, your files |are also available on the remote Synology.</quote>

        Synology is great, but invest in an UPS. I've lost 3 Synologies (of the value and J series) due to lighting. Fortunately my DS416play only needs around 120W with 4 drives, so a £60 500W ups is enough. All 3 times my linux server using the same outlet and not on ups have had no problem, but it has a top of the line 850W power.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: Alternative peer-to-peer backup?

          The OP did comment about not having to concern themselves with tunnels or NAT traversal. QNAP remote sync definitely requires port forwarding. Unless Synology uses a centralised middle-man thus creating a "removal of service" issue then you'll need port forwarding there too. Not to mention that you also need fixed IP / dynamic dns provision.

          Regarding UPS's I'd say you always need one anywhere you have data you value, especially on a RAID array.

      4. Old Coot

        Re: Alternative peer-to-peer backup?

        Thanks for the tip. I looked at the other alternatives suggested here, but settled on yours.

        I'm amazed at the breadth of features offered by the product as well as its low cost, so much so that I looked into buying their shares. Too bad, they're privately held.

        Probably smart, that way they're less vulnerable to being gobbled up.

  10. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Stop

    Unlimited Storage

    Although I am going by the Business page, comments appear to shows it might be unlimited, this should have been a major red flag to anyone and I can't see why they also do this on their Business Plans.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Unlimited Storage

      Likely because unlimited data on one machine does not typically end up like unlimited data on many machines, as is the case for the home plan.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crashplan alternative

    I read the news last night but not received an email unless its gone to SPAM.

    I run Crashplan on 3 machines, 2 Windows machines and an Ubuntu Server which I had to use the "unsupported" documented method on the Crashplan site to setup, it was a nightmare. I have stored about 500GB which took a long time with the connection I had when I initially signed up. I'm guessing I have 60 days not over a year before I lose my backups.

    I have spent the last day looking at options and in my opinion Backblaze B2 using Duplicacy maybe my best option. B2 is different to the $5 a month option and more like S3/Glacier. Using Duplicacy to dedupe, compress and encrypt it. They have Mac and windows clients and a cross platform CLI version which is free for personal use. So anyone with Linux computers especially headless, this could be a good option.

    One of the many things that appeals to me though is that you copy a backup between backends so if Backblaze decided to cut the option I use or I didn't like them, I could transfer the backups to another backend S3/Google Drive/etc...

    Highlight of this option for me:

    Linux & Windows CLI version (Mac too)

    de-dupe

    encrypted

    copy to different backend storage providers

    Similar price to Crashplan for the amount I store

    No retention limit like regular Backblaze

    Negatives:

    More involved to setup (easier than my current headless Ubuntu setup though)

    Not the best best documentation, example scripts would be good.

    To be clear though I have not tested this yet, its just the conclusions I have come to and will be testing over the next couple of weeks before settling on this or something else. Just wanted to highlight that you can use a Backblaze service to backup for than 30 day retention and from a Linux machine just not with their $5 option.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crashplan alternative

      You could of course just centralise your storage on the server and backup from the server to crashplan business in which case there will be an element of your data that can just migrate.

      I'm sure there is a use case but, other than disparate locations, I cannot think of a reason why you wouldn't backup data from multiple machines to one and then that one single machine to the cloud. The use of the central machine then makes "backup to an internal in a dock then store the internal off-site" far easier to accomplish.

      My personal way of doing this is to store all important data on a NAS which replicates vital data to another NAS (just the old one it replaced as it still works - slowly). I then use an off-site 3.5" drive (pair rotated) to back the NAS up using rsnapshot as well as a straight copy of vitals onto a portable. This gives me my bulk copy quick access data. The NAS runs an Ubuntu VM likely setup as your server is to run crashplan. The VM just connects to a shared folder that aggregates the underlying data I wish to backup to the cloud. Using this I am able to straight migrate to the SMB offering for an initial discount and subsequent year increase should I stick with them.

      Your mileage may vary but I do advise centralising your own backups first.

    2. James R Grinter

      Re: Crashplan alternative

      Ah, useful. I hadn't come across Duplicacy in my reading since the big CrashPlan announcement.

      They could be just what I need, for some Linux systems I have, and using one product across Linux and Mac would be easier (Arq was the leading contender, for the latter)

  12. Bob Camp

    SOS backup has unlimited version retention, but can get a little pricey.

    iDrive is fast and has decent pricing, but not unlimited version retention.

    Backblaze is soooooo slow.

  13. ZenCoder

    I'm only on their free plan.

    My laptop syncs specific folders once a day to my desktop and vice versa. And that's in addition to important files being stored in dropbox, and photo's being synced automatically to google photo's and amazon photo's.

    All of which is really just a fail safe in case fails before I connect and sync changes to an external hard drive.

    Yeah I got hardware/software trust issues. I want at least 3 things to go very wrong before I lose anything I care about.

    I guess I'll have to revisit software that will let me backup files between two computers for free. Any suggestions?

    1. psychonaut

      Re: I'm only on their free plan.

      beyond compare is pretty good at synching things. i havent used it for the purpose you want o use it for though. trial version is free to use for ages (and you can just reinstall it when trial period ends, apparently your honour )

  14. psychonaut

    if you are really paranoid, you could use macrium reflect to make images of the disk. get it to do grandfather / father /son or similar, and then use carbonite to back those up.

    good thing about macrium is that it will email you on success / failure. workstaion version is about £50. v7 also has a crypto guard feature that allegedly only allows macrium to write over / to the backup destination. havent tried that bit yet, but you can just remove authenticated users and your own account from ntfs permissions of the backup disk, this'll further reduce the attack surface

  15. Fonant
    Unhappy

    Crashplan did it all...

    Crashplan had a pretty unique product, and could probably have made more money out of it if they wanted to.

    Crashplan gave me:

    * Windows, Linux, Apple clients.

    * Backup peer-to-peer (excellent for family members, laptop, backing up to my desktop).

    * Backup to cloud (belt and braces copy).

    * Backup to local disk (quick-to-restore copy).

    * Versioned file changes.

    * Long-term retention of deleted files.

    * Reasonable pricing for multiple machines (e.g. family group).

    * Unlimited or very cheap storage.

    The well-known ones like Backblaze, SpiderOak, Carbonite all tend to be OK for a single computer, but get very expensive backing up multiple machines (e.g. for a family).

    * Duplicati, perhaps?

    * Arq looks like a possible alternative, but doesn't work on Linux

    * Goodsync, perhaps, but it doesn't keep history.

    1. Morten Bjoernsvik

      Re: Crashplan did it all...

      <quote>

      The well-known ones like Backblaze, SpiderOak, Carbonite all tend to be OK for a single computer, but get very expensive backing up multiple machines (e.g. for a family).

      </quote>

      Years ago I had Carbonite, but they started trottle if you had more than 100GB, When I switched to crashplan it only took me 2 days to sync my 200GB. My only complain with Crashplan is that often my storage pool has not been online when I needed to restore a file. I had to wait up to an hour.

  16. hellwig Silver badge

    Corporate bailing too?

    My employer just dropped CrashPlan in favor of "everyone for themselves, f*ck your data!" Apparently the cost was going to increase from something like $4/user to $10/user (per month). Guess corporate just thinks it's cheaper to pay employees to manually upload files to a cloud host DAILY instead of $10/mo to do it automatically.

    Considering how many people were too lazy to even bother installing CrashPlan, I'm not really sure data retention is a priority for us.

  17. To Mars in Man Bras!
    Alert

    Real Men Use the Command Line

    I use Duplicity and back up to an Amazon S3 bucket, with the archive files automatically moving into Amazon Glacier after 30 days. I'm quite selective about what I back up, so my archive is just under 90GB. But my last monthly bill was something like 47 yankee cents.

    The downside is that; retrieving stuff would require unfreezing it from Glacier and back into the S3 bucket again, which is quite slow and a lot more costly. But, since this backup is only the supplemental 'braces' to the 'belt' of my local NAS backup, I'll only have to call on it in the direst of emergencies.

    In the meantime, I have the security of knowing that backup is there, for a few pennies a month.

  18. Daline40

    Irony.

    I left Carbonite as I was not happy with its reliability and now I am offered it as a replacement! At least there is OneDrive.

  19. Daline40

    irony!

    As I was fed up with problems encountered with Carbonite it is somewhat ironic that it is now suggested I use Carbonite as the preferred alternative. At least there is still OneDrive as an alternative.

  20. naughtyrich

    I've been using Livedrive briefcase for several years. 2TB for about £80 a year.

    Reliable and you treat like a local drive. Works for me.

  21. ~chrisw

    Suck it up datahoarders

    I did, bit the bullet and use Arq backup with Google Cloud Storage coldline level for data backups.

    Its billed monthly based on storage used and costs when generating egress traffic (i.e., downloading backups if you need them). My bill for storing a few TB of system backups with incrementals is between $3 and $6 a month. Varies based on what new files I upload, but it's easy to calculate. The client is easy to use and works without interaction.

    I think the only reason more people don't use GCS is because its pricing and configuration with supported backup clients is slightly opaque, but after the company I'd backed up a dozen systems to went out of business I'd had enough. I'm happy to pay $10 or $15 a month to ensure guaranteed backup storage with the world's largest data barn...

    For smaller quantities of live backups at an all in cost, Spideroak is still excellent though comparatively expensive. For your random crap like videos, photos and so on, just buy a 4TV NAS with a UPS and DIY.

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