I've been hoping to retire my XP machine running Retrospect Professional and switch to Retrospect 8 for OS X.
Then I discovered EMC hasn't been able to produce a manual / user guide for Retrospect 8 in the year since it was first released.
I just can't get my head past that. How can I trust a company that can't put a manual together? I mean, I know manuals are hard work, but surely in the midst of the Great Recession EMC could have found some tech writers? The simplest explanation for the lack of a manual is that EMC didn't finish the software and has since abandoned the product.
So I'm looking for alternatives to Retrospect - in addition to Time Machine. (I believe in at least two, completely unrelated, fully automated, backup systems).
Two years ago I considered CrashPlan. Back then it was designed to backup to a friend's machine, but now they offer free local backup and an offsite service. Today we'd need the family plan, which costs $100 per year.
TidBITS is fond of CrashPlan, they all use it ...
- TidBITS Home Macs: CrashPlan Central Slashes Hosted Backup Pricing
- TidBITS Safe Computing: CrashPlan Adds Direct-to-Disk Backups
Searches on "retrospect" and "crashplan" or "retrsopect vs. CrashPlan", found some good articles ...
- CrashPlan Pro vs. Retrospect 8.1 « Seek Nuance
- CrashPlan and CrashPlan Pro, Revisited « Seek Nuance
- Review: CrashPlan Backup - macosx.com
- Forget Computers :: Backup Software - Why we are leaving Retrospect for CrashPlan PRO
- CrashPlan Review – A flexible multi-platform backup solution | Blackbeagle (I like the 1 year update!)
- Online backup services (Fleishman, MacWorld, Sept 2009 - per recommendation of Seek Nuance)
- Crashplan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- CrashPlan Does Local, Remote, and Friend-Based Backup - Backup utilities - Lifehacker
The reviews are positive, but of course CrashPlan has the Cloud risk. If Code 42 dies, everyone's backups are toast. Since I will be doing local Time Machine backups this is less of a risk for me.
I'm persuaded to uninstall my trial version of Retrospect 8 and give CrashPlan a try. I'll report back on my test results starting with my new i5 (which has very little data on it so far).
Update 1/4/10: Through comments here and on Seek Nuance I'm hearing Mac geeks settling into a mixture of TimeMachine, SuperDuper (intermittent clone) and CrashPlan/JungleDisk. Seek Nuance also recommends a Sept 2009 MacWorld review.
JungleDisk is blocked by some corporate filters, perhaps because it can be used for file sharing as well as backup - it provides a standard WebDav interface and thus resembles MobileMe's costly backup service. JD can currently be used with Amazon's S3 storage service but was purchased by RackSpace - so it's unclear how long that will work well. Good JD references include:
The big thing we've lost with the demise of Retrospect/Mac is a Mac server hosted cross-platform SOHO backup solution. Not surprisingly, this turned out to be a very small market! The home side of the Retrospect market is made up of about 10 geeks like me. On the other hand small businesses with a mixture of Macs and Windows machines are overwhelmingly likely to use a cheap Windows backup server -- or to drop the Windows machines altogether. It's easy to see why EMC effectively gave up on Retrospect 8.
My gut sense is that CrashPlan is more of a consumer/geek business devoted to backup, whereas JungleDisk is a geek-only business providing general cloud storage and more options (some of them shady). JD is a one-stop alternative to CrashPlan + DropBox. The big kahuna would be a Google file/backup store, but that's been on the horizon for about 8 years. It may never come.
Update 1/4/10b: Glen Fleishman was using Retrospect 8 as recently as a few months ago - and he's a pretty reputable Mac geek. Glen recommends Joe Kissell's "Mac OS X Backups" eBook (TidBITS team). That lists at $15 with a
10% off coupon for CrashPlan (discount is for CrashPlan+ for business, not for the online backup service) -- so if you're planning to get CrashPlan (online) it's only $5. In fact, however, when I clicked order it was only $7.50 because of a mysterious "coupon". So if I do pay for CrashPlan it's essentially free.
I won't regurgitate Joe's eBook, but I will update this post with what I finally decide to do after having read it.
Update 1/25/2010: I'm still evaluating CrashPlan. I did buy Joe's book and it's a bargain! Highly recommended.
Update 2/4/2010: I reject CrashPlan in the Cloud because of the security risks of their password reset policy. I may still use the free version as a complement to Time Machine backups.
Update 2/21/2010: I was having lockups on startup with my MacBook. The Console showed several errors, but none clearly pointing to CrashPlan (lots of VMWare activity seen though -- and quite a few warnings about issues with OS X itself). Since CrashPlan does have deep OS hooks and is a recent install, and since I'd given up on its Cloud function, I uninstalled it. The uninstaller is a very user-unfriendly shell script.
I feel I gave CrashPlan a good test, and it failed. At the moment I'm entirely reliant on Time Machine, which is not a lovely feeling.
Update 2/24/2010: After uninstalling CrashPlan I found bits of it remaining. There are two empty folders in the System Library that require root privileges to delete. They're not causing any trouble, but I prefer to avoid software that installs in the system Library.
Update 4/26/10: I went to the CrashPlan site to completely remove my account information. Can't figure out who to do it. Nothing like this in the FAQ. More badness.