For our home backups I’ve primarily been using the free version of Mozy for three and half years now (first look). It works great for us and the few times I’ve needed to recover files there have been no issues. In fact, the only issue I’ve had is not having enough backup space with the free version. (that’s a link straight to the free version – it is a little bit more hidden than it used to be…)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not whining about not having enough free stuff. That would be shamefully crass. I’m just mumbling about it a little… *grin* But long story short, we finally outgrew our space, even with my affiliate link bonuses.
Enter CrashPlan. While CrashPlan has Pro/Business option I’m using their Home and Office flavor. There’s a pay option to backup to their servers for under $4 a month (free for the first 30 days) but there are additional destination options that are free. You can backup to local drives, USB drives, your other computers running CrashPlan, or friends’ computers running CrashPlan. Or combinations of the above.
Now, most of the computers I and family members own tend to have way more hard drive space than we need, so now we’re all hosting each other’s backups.
Here’s what I’ve got setup so far:
- My laptop backs up to my home machine. The backups are fast when both are on at home on the local network. Normally I wouldn’t want backups to be so close to where the machine is at night, but the “key” data on the laptop is also in DropBox so this is acceptable for now (until my little web of backups grows).
- My Home machine backs up to my mother’s machine – 700 miles away.
- Mother backs up to my home machine.
- Father backs up to my home machine.
- Wife is still on Mozy.
As I work on other family member machines I’ll be adding them to the “mesh” as well and continue to aim for geographically diverse options.
Some things I’ve learned after a couple weeks:
The first backup can take a really long time over the ‘net. If you have a big USB drive, backup to that first. Transport the drive to where the destination PC is, copy the backup directory to that one and then tell CrashPlan on that PC about the backup. This is how I got my home PC backups to my Mom’s PC the first time. Probably saved a week of data transfer…
For flexibility, you can setup your machine to backup to multiple destinations (other PCs, local drives, USB drives, etc.). However, a key thing to be aware of is that they all get the same backup set. In other words, you can’t backup the MP3 directory to one machine and the docs to another. You’ll have to backup MP3’s and docs to both machines. Not a deal-breaker, but it would’ve been nice to have a bit more flexibility.
I’ve had the setup described above running for a couple weeks so far and have had no issues. The backups are chugging away every evening when the right machines are online. I’m pleased and confident that this is a solid solution.
If you’re looking for a free (or inexpensive cloud) backup option I definitely think CrashPlan is worth a look. Supports Windows, Linux and Mac and even Open Solaris. Good stuff.
Anyone else used it – or other/similar options?
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