Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 5 Tech Purchases for 2010–#5



CrashPlan.

If you watch FNC or other cable programming, you’ve likely seen ads for Carbonite. I think they advertise on Rush, too.

Well, no offense to El Rushbo, but Crashplan is better and cheaper than Carbonite. They offer a similar service, an online backup mechanism.

One advantage Crashplan offers over Carbonite is that you don’t have to use Crashplan’s servers. You can back up to any machine that has Crashplan installed. So, if you have several computers at home, you can have them all back up to each other. This gives you some reliability, but you’re still in trouble if your house burns down. But Crashplan allows keycodes to be exchanged between its users, and you can backup to anywhere if you have the appropriate keycodes. Thus, if your friend or relative has Crashplan, you can exchange backups there, as well, thus giving you the offsite security necessary for a true backup system.

The cost of all this? $0. Crashplan is completely free as long as you don’t use their servers. But even if you do, it’s cheaper than Carbonite. Carbonite costs $55/yr. per computer. Crashplan’s per computer price is $50/yr., and $120/yr. gets you every computer in your house. Multi-year discounts are available cutting the price even more. This cost is for unlimited data. That’s important when comparing Crashplan and Carbonite with other online storage. Many companies charge you based upon data size. Also, the non-free version of the app has a few more features, such as continuous backups, which can be nice.

In a nutshell:

Pros:

  • Price. It’s hard to beat free, and even their $$ offerings are cheaper than the competition.
  • Offsite storage
  • Version archives. Crashplan allows you to keep as many versions of a file as you want. You also can recover deleted files, and set a time frame for how long deleted files are kept in the archive.
  • Paid version can be set to run continuously or to exclude certain times of the day
  • CPU/Bandwidth throttles

Cons:

  • Crashplan is a file backup, not a system backup. You can’t use it to backup your applications and system settings.
  • Crashplan works by doing an initial seed of everything in your backup folders, and then looking for differences. If your initial seed is large (mine was several hundred GB), this may take a while. And by a while, I mean weeks. It ain’t incredibly speedy on restores, either. Plan on spending at least a day or two restoring your data, longer if the data is offsite or very large.

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