A Change of Backup…

September 23, 2019 3:51pm
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This past weekend I finally made the decision to switch backup providers from CrashPlan to Backblaze.

I think.

It seems like I’ve been using CrashPlan forever at this point – at least 5 years now – and it’s honestly something that I just setup a long time ago and left alone … like you’re supposed to with any good backup! 😉

The problem is, and it’s one that I’ve admittedly been ignoring for a while now, is that over the last couple of years CrashPlan’s price has crept up while at the same time its feature set crept down, so I honestly haven’t been getting the value out of it that I once was oh so long ago…

I believe the cost was $5/month/computer when I first started using CrashPlan, and I used it for both my laptop as well as critical files on my home server (which was cool because they had a Linux client that was really easy to use!). Then a few years later, they unexpectedly dropped home support, which was going to double the price in the long term … though in their defense, they offered a 50% discount off home pricing for one year to ease in the transition.

So basically my pricing went from $10 -> $5 -> $20 per month over a few years time!

The bigger hit was that this summer they added a special exclusion for Plex files, which was a big part of what I backed up off my server. I didn’t try to send them my entire library of dozens of TB, mind you, but it seemed reasonable to send them 20 GB of config and metadata so that I could restore Plex easily if the server bit the big one.

In total, I had something like 400 GB backed up with CrashPlan – roughly 200 GB of personal photos and writing and everything else from my laptop, and another 200 GB of Plex config data and some music and other hard to replace archived stuff from my server.

So anyways…

It’s been eating at me for a while that I needed to make a change.

I’ve actually followed Backblaze for a long time because I love how open they are with how they store massive amounts of data. I guess I always just thought that their usage-based plan was too expensive for my needs because I didn’t want to go with another $5/month plan and their unlimited plan doesn’t support Linux anyways.

The funny thing is, apparently when you’re already spending $20/month on backups, that’s enough to store about 4 TB of data using Backblaze’s B2 system!

I think part of the problem has been that whenever I looked at their pricing in the past, I always equated it to backing up my entire data collection – including what’s now 60+ TB of TV shows and movies for Plex – which in turn ends up being something like $300/month and is completely unreasonable for a simple backup strategy!

Yet after now having endured a couple of hard drive failures across my collection, I’m starting to realize that there are certainly subsets of my data that are easier to replace than others. And so instead of B2 being this out of reach backup strategy for all of my data, it suddenly became a new opportunity to go from 400 GB backed up with CrashPlan to nearly 4 TB backed up with Backblaze for about the same monthly cost.

😯

Maybe I’ll do a separate post that’s a little more technical when I finally pull the plug … CrashPlan renews again on 10/10, so I’ve got a couple of weeks to test the waters to make sure I’m truly happy with Backblaze before I cancel one account and fully commit to the other. But so far, I’m pretty satisfied.

I found this free, open source software called Duplicati to manage the backups themselves, and it was super easy to install on both MacOS and CentOS. Within about 36 hours time this past weekend, I had 220 GB from three separate machines backed up to B2, which according to their calculator will run me about $1.10/month, so that’s cool! 🙂

I still need to do some testing on restores to see how that works, but it seems fairly straightforward via Duplicati.

I think in all of my years of using CrashPlan, I had to do one restore and it was 100 GB of music when a drive failed in my server. Their client made it just about seamless, so here’s to hoping for a similar experience with the new guard as well…

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