I have a little storage array that I store my life on. Music, movies, photographs, projects, school work—I’d be devastated if I lost any of it. And yet, I don’t have any sort of backup for it. Last year I evaluated various online backup services but concluded that my 5 Mbps (~600 KB/s) upload bandwidth was just too slow to feasibly backup all of my data. Now I have a 25 Mbps (~3 MB/s) symmetric connection, so last week when I got a promotional email from CrashPlan announcing their new version and prices, I decided to give it another try.
CrashPlan is, as far as I know, the only online backup solution that officially supports Solaris, and it’s not half-assed either. The software is delivered as a standard SVR4 package which installs to /opt/sfw/crashplan and includes an SMF manifest. Normally I’d never trust consumer-oriented proprietary software like this, but their Solaris support instills confidence in me. I can only hope that they continue to maintain it, despite the uncertainty surrounding Solaris’s future.
Like I said, installation was a breeze. Looking back at my shell history, it was as easy as:
# cd /tmp
# wget http://download.crashplan.com/installs/solaris/install/CrashPlan/CrashPlan_3.0_Solaris.tar.gz
# tar -xvzf CrashPlan_3.0_Solaris.tar.gz
# pkgadd -d . CrashPlan
# svccfg import /opt/sfw/crashplan/bin/crashplan.xml
# svcadm enable crashplan
From there the GUI can be launched as a regular user by running /opt/sfw/crashplan/bin/CrashPlanDesktop. The user interface is clean and simple. On the first run, it walks you through setting up an account. New users get a 30-day free trial to CrashPlan+, which includes unlimited online backups. I’m still on my trial, but as long as it continues to work for me, I expect I’ll purchase a subscription for $5/month.
First thing I did after registering was to go into the security settings and change the archive encryption key type to use a private password. This encrypts the key which encrypts my data with a separate password so even if someone hijacks my CrashPlan account, they will not be able to restore any of my files. The other advanced option, supplying your own private data key, I would argue is less secure since the key is stored in-the-clear on the local system and it cannot be changed without invalidating all of your backups. Security is very important to me, so I am happy to see that they give control over these settings to the user, though I wish the backup agent were open-source to enable more public scrutiny. At the very least, I’d like for CrashPlan to provide more details about their encryption methods similar to SpiderOak.
Next I directed the software to backup my storage array mounted at /nest to CrashPlan Central and off it went. I’m currently seeing speeds around 6 Mbps (750 KB/s) which is slightly disappointing on my fast connection, but not unacceptable. They claim that they do not cap or throttle connections, though from what I’ve read, speed is largely dependent on which of CrashPlan’s many datacenters you are provisioned to. They’ve been experiencing much higher volume than normal with last week’s release of CrashPlan 3, so I hope to see increased speed when that activity subsides.
I do like that the backup actually takes place in the background, so the GUI is only ever necessary for changing settings and performing restores. I tested a restore and saw much better speeds around 16 Mbps (2 MB/s), though still not even close to saturating my internet connection.
My backup should hopefully be done by the new year and then it’ll just be a matter of performing small nightly incrementals.