Originally Posted by ayresm
I use CrashPlan and think it is fantastic and great value for money. Surprised it isn't mentioned here.
Agree. It is worth your money to buy CrashPlan+ and have access to features like multiple backup sets (e.g. only a local convenience backup for stuff I could restore otherwise and local & off site for more vulnerable material), more fine-grained time options, etc.
I have a setup with a Mac OS X Server that has CP+ installed. I backup to a friend, he backs up to me. That gives us both a free off site backup. A few more friends/family are backing up to me. It is available for multiple platforms (Mac, Windows) which means it is much easier to make deals with friends and family to do peer-to-peer backup. Of course, the backups are encrypted (even the local ones), so it is has the basic security you need.
Inside my network, the computers all have 'mobile' accounts, which means that the accounts are synchronised with the server. So, every 20 minutes or so, the logged in user's stuff is backed up to Mac OS X server using Portable Home Directory synchronisation (HomeSync/FileSyncAgent). Then every hour or so, CP+ backs this up from the server locally and off-site. This way, every user in our home can take any available computer and just work on it and have his/her own files available.
CP is very good at data de-duplication in my experience, so, a minimum of storage/bandwidth is consumed. It is also ver solid. It is absolutely the best solution I have come across so far. There are two main disadvantages for me:
• First: with very large sets (as I have) CP is written in java and may use quite a bit of memory. There are ways to minimise this, the best one (running CP as a 32bit program) is not officially supported, but it does work. You can limit CP's memory use in settings (e.g. max it out on 512MB) but if it hits that limit, some actions (like purging old versions, compacting, etc. all stuff it does automatically) may end up never completing because it runs against its set memory maximum. I upgraded my OS X Server system's memory to make sure I could rive CP enough memory to work with. So,if you have really large sets: make sure you have plenty of memory for CP to work with.
• Second: Code42 is very slow at implementing new features. Now, I understand that something important as backup software must be rigorously designed, developed and tested, but even taking that into account they are slow. This holds for instance for one very important missing feature: the ability to search for (space wasting or otherwise undesirable) entries in your backup and purge them. This has been on the wish list of users for a very long time and when after years and years it got to the to do list, still 4 years have passed and it hasn't been implemented yet. The result is too much storage required for your backup and no option to fully remove data from your setup other than changing your backup set and losing everything that has been deleted from your system.
The internal setup with multiple systems (desktops, laptops) HomeSyncing to the server (Apple's HomeSync/FileSync) is not very robust. Apple has set this up in the past, but the system is flakey and not really on Apple's maintenance/improvement radar it seems. The new 'versioning' system that Apple has introduced seems sometimes to trip up FileSync. Server-side file tracking is still possible, but seems not to be supported anymore. Without it, syncing of a large home directory may take forever. Since Lion, it is even capable of locking you completely out of your system, when the syncing throws up a panel and your screen saver with screen lock kicks in. The panel behind the screen server still has focus, so you cannot unlock your screen. Remote login or a hard reboot is then your only option. And Apple's new ideas on keeping devices in sync mean that you can have two conflicting syncing options running in parallel. E.g. use iCloud for Safari syncing and the HomeSync should be aware that it should not sync that too, but HomeSync exclusion rules and mechanism are completely unaware. So, I have changed the HomeSync setup form the standard opt-out setup to an opt-in, and now it works again properly at the cost of not syncing preferences etc. across OS X machines.
Back to CP: great solution: robust, reliable. But I really, really would like them to finally delver the searching/pruning feature.