In a shocking announcement making its way across the tech world, Code42, the company behind the CrashPlan backup service stated earlier this week that they will be discontinuing their Home backup service. The reasoning the company gave behind the move away from the residential market was to “focus on business customers”, which they claim have different needs that “have diverged from the needs of the consumer”. While this may seem like a normal move for a company, it has left many in the industry scratching their heads, specifically because the CrashPlan backup service is NOT designed to be run on a server or a centralized location on your network. While this is not clearly laid out in black and white, based on years of experience and various official statements from Code42, it is obvious that the software seems to be best suited as a workstation backup solution. The problem with this is that most companies already store their important data on a centralized location on their network, and typically need only to have that data set backed up to the cloud. Having each workstation backing up individually becomes a nightmare during disaster recovery and also costs the company a lot more in backup costs. Ideally the dropping of the Home support from their product catalog will mean Code42 focuses on things like quality server support, native support for backing up mapped drives, and headless device support, though at the moment there is no clear road map for the future of the company and so only time will tell.
According to their website, Code42 says “We will honor your existing CrashPlan for Home subscription, keeping your data safe, as always.” and “To allow you time to transition to a new backup solution, we’ve extended your subscription (at no cost to you) by 60 days.” This gives customers at most 425 days to find a new backup solution, and at least, 61 days to find a new solution. For many Home users the pain of switching backup providers will come in the form of cost. The “$5.99 for Unlimited backup” Home plan they offered was one of, if not the cheapest and best value backup services on the market and Home users will have a hard time finding a replacement at the same or similar price point. Another problem some users will face will be a race to backup their data to a new location prior to their subscription expiring, thus ensuring the safety of their data. For the users with 400+ days left this shouldn’t be an issue, but those unfortunate customers towards their end of their current subscription will be rushed to find a new home for their data.
What Now? Who can I trust with my data?
Let me first say that this section is in NO WAY a paid endorsement, and I have NOT received any incentive from any company discussed in this article.
Following Code42’s announcement its competitors were quick to fill in the vacuum left behind, and some companies took different approaches. One company, SpiderOak, offered a 30% discount across all their plans, and companies like Backblaze or Carbonite (to my knowledge) only commented on the issue, leaving their prices and plans in tact. The pros and cons for each plan will likely dictate the best option for you. The SpiderOak ONE service they offer lacks an unlimited plan (though they do offer one around the $19 price point during certain promotional periods) but has one of the better user interfaces (in my opinion) and, thanks to their “No Knowledge” is widely regarded as the most secure backup (of the 3 mentioned). Backblaze offers the least expensive way to get an unlimited backup replacement but has some less than stellar reviews by users on some IT related forums. My personal experience with Backblaze was not the most pleasant one, however I cannot say that I have had any issues with their actual backup service, the issues are generally customer service related (something many home users will never need given their easy to use interface). Unfortunately I do not have much experience with Carbonite and thus cannot weigh in on its Pros and Cons. Ultimately, this article should not be a substitute for quality research into the best backup plan for your needs. If needing assistance choosing a backup plan, please contact your preferred IT company.
Sources && Further Reading
Carbonite has partnered with Code42 to offer a 50% discount to former CrashPlan Home customers and promises a “seamless transition path”. A link is provided below with more information.