CrashPlan is a popular cloud-based backup solution that many (myself included) use to backup their computers and external drives. But the company's announcement this morning to focus on business-to-business services leaves consumer customers hanging, despite their promise not to do so. Those of us with particularly large backups on CrashPlan's consumer service have a problem that raises a greater question about cloud-based backups in general.
If you're like me, you have a small RAID backup drive at home for your local backup needs. You also have some additional drives in other locations should your house burn down or suffer a break-in. And, you also spent the better part of a year waiting for all of those files to back up to CrashPlan's servers at the amazing pace of roughly 1 mbps. Finally, you're there. CrashPlan's weekly reports regularly tell you you're 99.9-percent backed up. And what happens? CrashPlan decides you're not worth it.
The company will let you finish out your current subscription. They'll even add two months of free service on top of your current plan. But that two months won't be enough for those with large backups whose plans expire soon, and not sometime next year. As people may begin backing up to CrashPlan's "preferred partner" for the transition and longtime consumer-side competition, Carbonite, many photographers with large backups are bound to have nothing in the cloud for some time during the overlap of CrashPlan's subscription running out and the catch-up work that needs to happen to get all those files onto another cloud service.
So is it worth it? The $60-per-year plan provided unlimited backup for one computer and any hard drives connected to it. That was a good deal, even for the relatively slow backups and restore speeds you could expect. For a doomsday scenario, it's not a bad price to pay to ensure you'll always have your data somewhere, no matter what. But now that we see how quickly a company can start the clock on a countdown to erase all that data that we waited so long to get online, we have to ask ourselves if something like this is even worth it to us?
For me, this is it. I won't be paying an additional $15 per month for the discounted but roughly equivalent Carbonite service just to start the seasons-long backup process all over again, nor will I be paying double what I've been paying to switch to CrashPlan's small business solution. I'm just going to invest in even a few more drives and place them around in a few more locations. What will you do?
Background of lead image courtesy of Jorge Gonzalez.