Crashplan Pro + Drobo Pro = Warm Fuzzy Feeling

We have just recently implemented Crashplan Pro as a primary backup strategy for our Mac machines.  We will slowly be rolling this out to all of our Mac users, especially laptop users and potentially PC users as well.  A few things that we love about Crashplan Pro.

  • They have a 25% discount for non-profits.  Just ask them.  I love vendors who do this.
  • Crashplan is easy to use from the server perspective and invisible to the end user.
  • It is very flexible and simple while remaining powerful.  They have really hit the sweet spot on this.  You don’t need a PhD to configure it.
  • Users can back up from anywhere across the internet.  That’s right… anywhere.  Meaning my Macbook Pro is still being backed up even when I have it at home.
  • They offer a 30 day trial.  You can run it, fully featured, for 30 days before making a decision.
  • Multiple backup targets.  My Macbook can back up to my local firewire drive AND the crashplan server.  Ok, so I’m paranoid.

Implementation was easy.  We installed the server product on an older server chassis and connected it first to local storage, which was fine but not really enough for all of our users.  Next we purchased a 16 Terabyte Drobo Pro (8 drives x 2TB).  For less than 3k for 16TB, the Drobo Pro is a great backup storage solution.  It’s iSCSI, which makes it a snap for connecting to the Crashplan server, and while I’m not convinced that I would use a Drobo for primary storage of mission critical data, this is a great product for backup data (video archiving, files, etc).  Besides, I trust EqualLogic to handle my primary storage anyway.  We’ll use this same storage (and server) to also store our Veeam backups of our VMware servers.  Now, I should also mention that we have a great offsite backup solution for our critical data.  I highly recommend you look into One Safe Place if you are looking for offsite storage.  I realize that Crashplan offers offsite, but the SQL and Exchange tools that One Safe Place provides are amazing.  I would never recommend that you only backup data onsite, you should always offsite mission critical data in some fashion, but in this case we are talking about the data that resides on individual laptops, not servers.

Licensing for Crashplan is simple.  Once you have purchased your license, you just enter the license key into the server (one time) and your clients will be licensed.  In our case, we purchased 25 licenses.  One of our hurdles to implementing more Mac computers on our campus was backup.  I should also mention that the Crashplan Pro client works for both the PC and the Mac, so users on both platforms can backup to the same server.  Mac users and PC users can use the same client licensing.

There had been lots of discussion around this solution amongst Church IT guys from around the country.  If you are church or business owner looking for a solid backup solution, you should look at Crashplan Pro.