I am a bit of a backup freak. I have a time machine backup on a RAID 5. I have a backup on external hard drives which I leave off-site (at work). I have a mirror of important content between my Mac Pro and Macbook Pro and finally I have my data backed up in the cloud.

I must note that I have a LOT to back up. The time machine backups are about 16TB. My primary work is videography, photography and teaching. I haven’t bothered backing up my video to a cloud service as it’s simply too big when I have a little 1mbps uplink (on a good day). My photos are very important to me, so even though they are 24mp RAWs, I want them in the cloud.

Carbonite       Crashplan

Initially I used Carbonite. This started roughly 2 years ago. The service was surprisingly cheap so I thought I’d give it a go. The backup client you download was relatively painless and the first 200GB backed up reasonably well. It was after this point that things became horribly slow. I was looking to back up roughly 800GB. The service is advertised (or at least was) as “unlimited”, but even after a year of backup, it never completed. This was rather frustrating and it wasn’t really clear why it never finished. Looking at the fine print on the Carbonite site it appears things will get slowed down after a certain point. Not very useful if you have a bit of data to upload.

After my subscription ended, I decided to try something else. After some research I settled on Crashplan.

Firstly, I prefer the Crashplan client. I gives more detail and options. It also has a feature I love which is to pause the backup temporarily before automatically resuming. Of course all clients allow you to pause, but many don’t have a countdown timer attached. I love this because if I pause the backup during times I need more bandwidth, and then head off to bed after some late night surfing, it resumes and gives me a night’s worth of backup rather than me having to remember to manually up-pause things.

Crashplan pause and resume

Crashplan also has some nice looking features like backup to a friends computer. I don’t personally use this, but I can see it potentially being useful. (It’s also a “free” way to get remote, off-site backup.) The iOS client on both seemed reasonable.

The thing that really set it apart for me was it doesn’t seem to shape speeds (slow things down) after a certain amount of data. I’ve backed up 2.4TB so far (my photo collection keeps growing) and it doesn’t seem any slower than the day I started the subscription.

This isn’t a very in-depth comparison, but for the above reason alone, Crashplan is the winner if you have a lot of data to backup to the cloud.