Crash Plan Remote Computer Server Personal Backup

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A few months ago I was in dire need of a way to backup my server, effortlessly and efficiently, as a down server does not generate any income! Since the server is running headless (meaning no monitor attached to it and it had no X Server), the backup software needed to support Linux headless. A friend of mine turned me onto CrashPlan Backup Software, I was intrigued and did a bit of research. The research turned up great results and CrashPlan appeared to be the backup solution that my server required. I decided try the 30-day trial of CrashPlan Pro, as I wanted a Central Backup for my files. Setting up CrashPlan on Linux was pretty effortless (at least for me), just had to download the binary file from CrashPlan and run it on my server. The next step was a bit more difficult, accessing the CrashPlan interface to setup the backups on my Headless Server. Although it took some reading with trials and errors, once I figured it out, I have never second guessed the $5/month I spend on CrashPlan Pro to make sure my server stays backed up. In fact CrashPlan has saved me a few times from stupid mistakes.

Setting up CrashPlan Pro on a Headless Linux Server
The CrashPlan Backup Software setup on a Linux Headless server was actually pretty simple. Once the backup program software has been installed you need to install CrashPlan Software on your personal computer, as the method to access CrashPlan remotely requires an SSH Tunnel over a port, which will give access to the CrashPlan daemon running on your server. If you have ever setup SSH Tunnel's it is a fairly straight forward process. Basically you will take a local port on your own computer, setup the CrashPlan on your computer to use that port, which then connects to port on the server that the server's CrashPlan backup software is running on.

However, before we can tunnel the port we need to make a change to the %CrashPlanInstallDIR%/conf/ file. Go ahead and open that file up (remember to change the first portion in %'s to be the actual path) and we need to edit the portion that says: #servicePort=4243. Remove the # sign from that line, and then change the port to what you feel like. Just make sure the port is above 1000. I just changed the 4243 to be 4244. The final step is creating a simple SSH Tunnel: ssh -L 4244:localhost:4243 %YourRemoteServerInfo% The 4243 port is the port that the CrashPlan daemon is running on at the server, so be sure to modify that if you setup CrashPlan to run on a different port. Now just open up CrashPlan Backup Software locally and it should be pointing to your server, and you can now setup the backups how you want!

Restoring Files from CrashPlan Pro Backup
Unfortunately, I have had to restore a few files, even a database from the CrashPlan Pro Backup my server does. This was actually a very easy system to use, if you are using the Software with the port Tunneled, you can have it restore the backup right to your server. However, I was not using the CrashPlan Backup Software over a Tunnel and needed to restore a file (as I was on a different computer). The CrashPlan Web Interface, although lacking a bit in functionality, provided me the means to download the file to my local computer, where I was able to SCP (Secure Copy) the file to my server and have it restored within minutes. The Web Interface saved me a huge hassle of trying to find a good backup of the file, which would have taken hours. Fortunately, CrashPlan also versions the file. So even if the backup has overwritten the latest file, you can still go back to clean version of the file by date! A major advantage for when you accidentally copy the wrong file over and overwrite the good file. Needless to say, this made me happy and completely justified the money I spent on the CrashPlan Pro backup!

Want a Means to Backup Amongst Friends?
CrashPlan offers it Backup Software free of charge. What comes with the free version of CrashPlan? Well you can easily setup a cluster with your friends and backup to them, and vice versa. CrashPlan allows you to do backups from Computer -> Computer effortlessly and easily. This feature is extremely handy, especially for families, where their data is not necessarily important enough to do a Central Backup, but want it backed up remotely else where. You just install the software on your families computer and your computer, and viola, you can easily synchronize files between the two (pictures and such) and everyone can have a backup of everyone else's data in case of a fire, flood, hardware crash, or any other type of disaster you can think of. I am extremely impressed that CrashPlan allows you to use their software, free of charge, to backup to other people, friends and family. As well as being a reasonable price for a Central Backup of your highly important data.

If you cannot tell yet, I am extremely satisfied with CrashPlan's Backup Software and Backup Solution as a whole. It puts my mind at ease, in case of any hardware failures, human mishaps or even natural disasters, knowing that I can easily get my data back and restored. The CrashPlan service has many benefits, one is perhaps a "Send us a harddrive we will copy your data and send it back" system, it costs quite a bit of money to do, but if you need your data back as soon as possible, this option eases your mind a bit more, as you can get your data back up and running in a matter of a day (if overnighted) vs multiple days of file transfers. The multiple options of retrieving and uploading data the CrashPlan offers, mixed in with being able to backup to friends and family, really sets CrashPlan apart from most backup software and to me puts CrashPlan as a must have in my book.

Posted by frost on Jul 13th, 2011 17:57 - Subscribe Bookmark and Share

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