CrashPlan jumps the shark

By | August 25, 2017

I owe a lot of people an apology.

For about the last five years, I’ve been a major cheerleader for the “CrashPlan for Home” backup service. Many times, I’ve been asked directly about what computer backup service I recommend or stumbled across a discussion of that question, and many times, I’ve unreservedly recommended CrashPlan. Their price was quite reasonable, their software was user-friendly and worked on Linux, they offered unlimited storage space for a fixed price, they preserved backups of old file versions and deleted files, they didn’t throttle backups or restores. I thought they were clearly the best option on the market, and I said so whenever the opportunity presented itself.

I was wrong. To those of you who started using CrashPlan based on my recommendation, I’m sorry.

Earlier this week, CrashPlan announced that they were getting out of the home backup business. Their announcement and the accompanying press blitz were all about how they were doing everything they could to make this transition easier for customers they were pulling out the rug from under. “We want you to know that we are doing everything we can to help our consumer customers make the transition with all the support they need,” they wrote on their blog.

They are lying.

“…they preserved backups of old file versions and deleted files…”

Sure, your CrashPlan backups have every version that’s ever been backed up of all of your files. Sure, your CrashPlan backups even have your deleted files in them, assuming that you configured your backup to preserve deleted files. But let me ask you this: now that the CrashPlan service is going away, how are you going to get those previous versions and deleted files out of CrashPlan so that you will have them if it turns out you need them once you’re no longer a CrashPlan customer?

Answer: you can’t. CrashPlan has made the decision not to provide its soon-to-be-former customers with any way to export old and deleted file versions from their backups before the service shuts down. I asked them about this after their announcement. They answered with an unequivocal “No.”

This is what CrashPlan said they were selling to their customers: “We’ll back up your files, and you’ll have access to your backups, including old and deleted file versions, for as long as you keep subscribing to our service.”

This is what it turns out they were actually selling: “We’ll back up your files, but once we decide it’s no longer cost-effective for us to keep doing that, we’ll take away your old and deleted file versions and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Think I’m exaggerating? I mean, sure, old file versions are lost, but customers can still restore deleted files, right? Can’t customers tell the app to restore deleted files and then save those restored files somewhere in case they need them after CrashPlan is gone?

No, not really.

“Restore my deleted files” is not an option

When you’re selecting files to restore, the CrashPlan app has a checkbox to tell it to show deleted files. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t have a checkbox to tell it to show only deleted files. I have 1.7 terabytes of data in CrashPlan. I have, literally, millions of backed up files. It is literally impossible for me to go through them all in the app and select just deleted files to restore. My only option is to restore all of my files, then use a script or program to figure out which of the restored files don’t exist in their original locations on my computer, assume that those are my deleted files, and stash them somewhere in case I need them later.

I tried to do that. I even spent some time trying to rule out the data that was large and obviously unnecessary, winnowing down the restore I needed to do from 1.7TB to a little under 700GB. That’s still a pretty huge restore, but given the 155Mbps download speed of my internet connection, even if we assume I’ll only actually achieve 100Mbps, I should be able to do the restore in less than a day, right?

I’m afraid not.

Restores don’t work

This is terrifying:

The first time I attempted to restore all of my data, my computer unfortunately rebooted in the middle of the restore. After the reboot, the CrashPlan service continued the restore, but rather than putting the restored files in a separate folder as I had instructed it to, it spontaneously reverted to putting the restored files in their original locations.

Go back and read that last sentence again.

A service whose entire purpose is to protect people’s data spontaneously decided to to go against the explicit instructions of its user and corrupt the user’s data by overwriting it with old data.

Think I’m making this up? Think it was user error? I assure you it was not. Here’s a screenshot I took of the restore, after I realized what was happening and paused it and before I canceled it outright so that it would stop overwriting my files:

Note the “Destination:” you see there. Believe me, that is not where it was saving the files.

So, what now?

I couldn’t risk doing another restore this way, because I couldn’t risk the app deciding once again to overwrite my real data with old, restored data. And I also couldn’t use CrashPlan’s web restore functionality to download a ZIP file containing my restored data, because that’s only supported for restores of up to 500MB, which is about 1,400 times smaller than the data I need to restore. So I needed a Plan C.

Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Disable CrashPlan on the computer I’d been using it on for the past five years (not a problem, since after CrashPlan’s announcement I switched to using Rclone to Backblaze for backups).
  2. Install CrashPlan inside a virtual machine.
  3. In the CrashPlan app in the VM, “adopt” the computer I’d previously been using CrashPlan on.
  4. Do the restore in the VM. Worst-case scenario, if the restore tries again to overwrite production data, all it can damage is the VM, which I can restore from a snapshot with no permanent ill effects.

Pretty clever, huh? Well, I thought so, but alas, there’s a problem…

Really, restores don’t work

Here’s the log of the past couple of days of me trying to restore my files inside the VM:

Expand to view

I 08/23/17 10:33PM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 4,582,902 files (1.70TB)
I 08/23/17 10:33PM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/24/17 12:09AM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 16,676 files restored @ 0Mbps
I 08/24/17 12:09AM - Restore will retry in 60 minutes
I 08/24/17 01:09AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 4,582,902 files (1.70TB)
I 08/24/17 01:09AM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/24/17 02:23AM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 22,038 files restored @ 0Mbps
I 08/24/17 02:23AM - Restore will retry in 60 minutes
I 08/24/17 03:24AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 4,582,902 files (1.70TB)
I 08/24/17 03:24AM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/24/17 03:58AM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 31,662 files restored @ 0Mbps
I 08/24/17 03:58AM - Restore will retry in 60 minutes
I 08/24/17 04:59AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 4,582,902 files (1.70TB)
I 08/24/17 04:59AM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/24/17 07:36AM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 74,302 files restored @ 0Mbps
I 08/24/17 07:36AM - Restore will retry in 60 minutes
I 08/24/17 07:49AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 4,582,902 files (1.70TB)
I 08/24/17 07:49AM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/24/17 07:55AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 4,582,902 files (1.70TB)
I 08/24/17 07:55AM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/24/17 07:56AM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 74,302 files restored @ 0Mbps
I 08/24/17 08:11AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 2,160,033 files (672.50GB)
I 08/24/17 08:11AM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/24/17 10:19AM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 13,765 files restored @ 0Mbps
I 08/24/17 10:33AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 2,160,169 files (672.40GB)
I 08/24/17 10:33AM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/24/17 12:27PM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 2,160,169 files (672.40GB)
I 08/24/17 12:27PM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/24/17 02:56PM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 13,368 files restored @ 0Mbps
I 08/24/17 02:59PM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 2,160,169 files (672.40GB)
I 08/24/17 02:59PM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/24/17 03:03PM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 2,160,169 files (672.40GB)
I 08/24/17 03:03PM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/24/17 08:50PM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 102,588 files restored @ 17.6Mbps
I 08/24/17 08:50PM - Restore will retry in 60 minutes
W 08/24/17 08:50PM 179 files had a problem
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-minibuf.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-rfaddons.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/rmailmime.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/emacs.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/auto-save.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/generic-x.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/mime.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/dotgnus,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/rmail-fixes.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/c-mode.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/view-user.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/check-date.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/lmail.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/ange-ftp-fixes.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/rnewspost.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/rmime.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/metamail.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/RCS/rmail-check-archiving.el,v
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-tagged.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/rmail-check-archiving.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/markdown-mode.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-types.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-user.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/csharp-mode.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-autoloads.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/rmime.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-rep.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-macro.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-biff.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-toolbar.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-grepmail.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-w3.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-serial.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-reply.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-virtual.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-summary-faces.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-digest.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/.archived_addresses.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-motion.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-misc.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-pgg.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-format.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-digest.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-undo.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-search.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-license.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-ps-print.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/rmime.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/lmail.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-search.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-pcrisis.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/u-vm-color.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/.AppleDouble/.Parent
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-time.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-summary-faces.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-page.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-avirtual.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/rnewspost.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/ange-ftp-fixes.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-file-io.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-virtual.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-menu.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-vcard.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-user.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/auto-save.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/database.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/emacs.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-crypto.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-w3.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vcard.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-license.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-autoload.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-version.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/version.txt
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-search.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-sort.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/tapestry.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-mime.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-vars.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-rdb.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/test.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-grepmail.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-vcard.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/metamail.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/rmailmime.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/visual-basic-mode.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-toolbar.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-sort.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-interfa.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-dired.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-ps-print.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-pine.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-version.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/ange-ftp-fixes.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-summary.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/check-date.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-folder.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-window.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/metamail.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-undo.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-easymenu.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/mime.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/mime.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/.sync
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-mime.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-imap.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-two-dbs.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-sort.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-autoloads.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-minibuf.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-mark.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-convert.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-delete.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-isbn.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-reply.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-avirtual.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-summary.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/php-mode.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-pop.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/db-util.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-biff.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-motion.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/pop-password.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vcard.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-serial.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-w3m.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-message-history.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-save.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-message.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vc-perforce.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-edit.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/p4-lowlevel.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-save.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-startup.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-message.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-folder.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/dotgnus
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/lmail.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-window.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-crypto.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/tapestry.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-delete.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-pgg.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/emacs.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/lmail-fixes.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-imap.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/visual-basic-mode.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-pcrisis.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-misc.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/rmail-check-archiving.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-autoload.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-pine.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/rmail-fixes.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/rnewspost.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/shul-names.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-edit.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-mark.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-thread.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-summary.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-w3m.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-rfaddons.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-page.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-check-date.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-message-history.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-menu.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-pop.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-mouse.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/u-vm-color.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-mouse.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-dired.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-vars.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/view-user.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-thread.el
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/rmail-fixes.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-startup.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/check-date.elc
W 08/24/17 08:50PM - Unknown problem for /mnt/backup/jik4/home/jik/elisp/vm-macro.elc
I 08/24/17 09:50PM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 2,160,169 files (672.40GB)
I 08/24/17 09:50PM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/25/17 06:09AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 2,160,169 files (672.40GB)
I 08/25/17 06:09AM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/25/17 06:35AM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 106,096 files restored @ 0Mbps
I 08/25/17 06:35AM - Restore will retry in 60 minutes
I 08/25/17 07:08AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 2,160,169 files (672.40GB)
I 08/25/17 07:08AM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/25/17 07:25AM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 107,028 files restored @ 0Mbps
I 08/25/17 07:25AM - Restore will retry in 60 minutes
I 08/25/17 07:26AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 2,160,169 files (672.40GB)
I 08/25/17 07:26AM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/25/17 07:47AM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 108,056 files restored @ 0Mbps
I 08/25/17 07:47AM - Restore will retry in 60 minutes
I 08/25/17 07:49AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 2,160,169 files (672.40GB)
I 08/25/17 07:49AM Restoring files to F:/
I 08/25/17 08:00AM Restore from CrashPlan Central stopped: 108,587 files restored @ 0Mbps
I 08/25/17 08:00AM - Restore will retry in 60 minutes
I 08/25/17 08:00AM Starting restore from CrashPlan Central: 2,160,169 files (672.40GB)
I 08/25/17 08:00AM Restoring files to F:/

Even ignoring the hundreds of files that failed to restore for an “Unknown problem”, The much larger problem is that over and over again, the restore is pausing for no apparent reason. Sometimes, it is kind enough to wake itself up again minutes or hours later. But it doesn’t always do that. Sometimes it just sits there, stopped, until I get around to clicking the little button to start it up again.

This is ridiculous. I have a life. I have a job. I have a family. I need to sleep. Clearly, I cannot sit in front of my computer 24×7 monitoring this damn restore so that I can notice when it has inexplicably stopped running and restart it.

Really, really, restores don’t work

But that’s not all. Remember how I mentioned above that I should be able to run the restore at around 100Mbps? Not so much. Apparently, rather than doing what a smart application would do and streaming files down to the client during a restore, CrashPlan sends the files one at a time. In other words, here’s what a properly designed backup application would do:

Client: “Please send me all the files.”

Server: “OK, here are all the files in a continuous stream. Let’s get this done as fast as we can!”

Here’s what CrashPlan does instead:

Client: “Please send me all the file.”

Server: “Here’s the first file. Let me know when you got it.”

Client: “OK, I’ve received and saved the first file. Send me another one.”

Server: “OK, here’s another file. Let me know when you got it.”

Client: “OK, I’ve received and saved that file. Send me another one.”

At least, this is what I’m guessing CrashPlan is doing, because it’s the most obvious explanation for why their restores run so amazingly slowly.

I can’t even begin to describe how stupid it is. It means that no matter how much bandwidth the user’s internet connection has, CrashPlan can’t even come close to doing a restore at full speed, because of the delays while each file is acknowledged by the client and the server prepares to start sending the next one. It’s an incredibly terrible design and it means that large restores are completely infeasible.

Think I’m exaggerating about how bad it is? Think again. Here’s a screenshot I just took of the traffic monitor on my WAN router, while my CrashPlan restore is actively running (until it decides to stop itself again, of course):

Those big orange spikes are not, contrary to what one might hope, CrashPlan restore traffic. Rather, those three spikes all occurred when I did something specific to cause incoming data. The last, largest spike, which illustrates how high my download bandwidth can get at its best, is from Speedtest.net. As you can see from the graph, the amount of bandwidth that the CrashPlan restore uses is so small that it is hardly even visible on the graph.

Also, lest you think that this is a networking issue with the VM I’m using for the restore, note that I ran a speed test inside the VM as well, and got a download speed of 177Mbps. The VM is not the problem. CrashPlan is the problem.

So, what now?

Honestly, I don’t know. I guess I’m just going to keep clicking the “Resume backup” button CrashPlan, over and over, as often as it is practical for me to do so, and if I’m lucky, after several weeks of doing that, perhaps the restore will actually finish.

I’m certainly not going to hold my breath waiting for CrashPlan to help me solve this problem. I think they’ve made it perfectly clear what they think about providing an acceptable level of service to users like me.

 

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4 thoughts on “CrashPlan jumps the shark

  1. Pingback: CrashPlan for Home: disputing renewal with credit-card co. – Something better to do

  2. Jack Leach

    Just to double check, there were (it’s been a while) some settings in the crashplan pro client for brandwith caps.. have you checked those to be sure?

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      I wish that were the problem, because then I could fix it. 🙁 Yes, I’ve checked, and there are no bandwidth caps set in the app.

      Reply
  3. Tom ciecka

    Wow, this is awful. Thank you for writing this article. We have about that much data pushed into Crash plan but thankfully it’s just a mirror of data that’s at rest. I’m sorry that you have to go through this, now!

    Reply

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