- Flexibility of backup targets with full reporting, regardless of the target.
- Locally back up system to on-site storage, backup to their hosted cloud, backup to your third-party cloud or any combination of that, all with global reporting.
- File-retention settings for version control.
- Security is you having control of the encryption keys for your backup. Trust no one.
- Unlimited cloud backup.
- Zero-impact client.
- Configurable and lockable settings that you can push to a single machine, group or globally.
Improvements to My Organization
My company works in the developing world. Cloud backup is not always an option. Most other solutions that have an option for local backup require connectivity to local LAN to handle reporting or configuration changes.
CrashPlan allows us to bridge that over the internet so that we can have full reporting on what that office's backup situation is without heavily impacting their connectivity which can be as low as 256K down 128K up to 10 users. Our cloud backup and our local office backup with CrashPlan now works seamlessly from a single control panel.
CrashPlan has allowed us to back up smaller field offices not on our VPN locally, but still retain global reporting on backup status, as well as backing up our high-bandwidth offices to the cloud. It has increased our version retention from daily to every 15 min. Restoration of files from the admin console has allowed us to do no-user interaction restoration of files across vast distances.
Room for Improvement
Reporting could be stronger. With the API you can do a lot of reporting, but it is not built in very robustly.
License management could be improved; currently in hybrid format, you can get a total license count but not how many of those licenses are cloud vs local or how many cloud licenses are left.
They are using a federated model for storage servers and I would love to see that carry over to client upgrades so that they do not all come back to my central server for the update files, which could easily be stored on the storage server for distribution locally.
Use of Solution
I have used it for 16 months.
AD integration script took some time for us to develop in a way that would work with our environment. Subsequent platform upgrades have been a challenge for us due to the unique environment we work in (very low bandwidth settings).
We had to tweak settings for storage servers always reporting offline due to slow responses to ping requests by the central server. Version upgrades have been a challenge for us due to our environment.
We had no issues with scalability and it was one of the main features that lead us to CrashPlan to begin with. Our deployment has been able to grow with us with no problems.
Customer Service and Technical Support
They have excellent documentation on their platform but their site search is challenged. They actually recommend using Google to search their site to find the support documentation. Their live support has been excellent with fast response times and quick accurate answers to issues. Technical Support
They get high marks from me on support; 9 out of 10 (no one gets a 10 out of me for support). They are fast and responsive to problems, especially those where it is mostly my fault to begin with. They keep on top of their issues with frequent requests for updates on the issues and their solutions to them.
We switched from a fragmented hodge podge of different systems for different offices based on availability and suitability for that office. Moving to a single endpoint solution greatly reduced our management time and weekly reports keep us on top of any changes or problems.
Setup was mostly straightforward. We did have some issues with AD integration, but were able to get those resolved quickly. It took some time for us to understand the order of file inclusion and exclusion getting applied. The rule of thumb is exclusions run last so whatever you have in exclusions will never be backed up. We were trying to include a folder inside of a folder that we had excluded and could never get it to back up. We had to very carefully tailor the rules to get exactly what we wanted.
We deployed using an in-house team although a vendor team was available. We had done extensive work during our trial phase, so going live with that was relatively easy. Converting from the trial to live was so easy for us that it really was just a matter of applying the license key and then installing the clients on computers and storage servers.
We have saved $1000s and a whole lot of time recovering from cryptoware infections and data recovery that, with the old system, would have resulted in data loss or having to pay the ransom.
Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing
Know your environment. Budget extra licenses to cover cold storage of inactive users to cover your data retention policies. We keep data for six months to a year after an employee has left the organization; this consumes a license.
Other Solutions Considered
Before choosing this product, we evaluated several: Retrospect, Carbonite, Baraccudaware, and Data Protection Manager. None were as flexible in architecture or pricing. CrashPlan's flexibility was the main selling point for us as we have some unique requirements.
This is an endpoint backup solution. Do not look to them for server or database backup; that is not what they excel at. Laptops and desktops where you need user files only is what this product is designed for. We have trialed them for file servers but found that larger amounts of files or archive sizes (multi-terabyte and millions of files) cause problems with their system.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Oct 04 2016