Tuesday, 14 March 2017

CrashPlan vs Acronis True Image Cloud: What’s The Best Cloud Backup?

It can be a frustrating experience when your hard drive crashes or a disaster wipes out key files. I’ve been in such a situation before, and I really did not like it!
Therefore, to give me peace of mind and ensure I’ve a dependable plan to backup my data and important documents, I compared CrashPlanvs Acronis True Image Cloud, and tested the two platforms against my expectations.
Eventually, I decided to go for CrashPlan, because it provides a greater combination of beneficial features, at cost-effective prices. In this article, I’ll explain why I consider CrashPlan to be the better option.

CrashPlan vs Acronis True Image Cloud: Table of Contents

1. Pricing Plans

CrashPlan has a free plan for users who bring their own storage, whether it is attached to their computers or from other places online. For online storage, a one-computer plan costs $5.99 per month, or $59.99 annually.
If you commit to multi-year plans, CrashPlan will provide enticing discounts.
The Family Plan, which allows users to backup ten computers, costs $12.50 per month, or $149.99 per year.
There’s also the Business plan, which allows users to backup unlimited computers at $10 per month, per computer.
All of CrashPlan’s packages come with unlimited online storage space, implying you do not need to pay any extra fees.
On the other hand, Acronis allows users to try their service free for 30 days only.
If you’re pleased with its cloud and local backup services after that period, you’ll pay an annual fee of $69.95 per computer, or $119.95 for three computers, or $149.95 for five computers.
Each of Acronis’ plans also comes with unlimited online storage space. For local backup, Acronis charges an annual fee of $29.95 for one computer.

2. Setup Process

The CrashPlan Windows software package is a 79.9MB file, after downloading it, I simply followed the easy installation process and my account was up and running.
CrashPlan operates on:
For Acronis, I got started by downloading a small 5MB installer. After that, it directed me to download the full program, which consumes a whopping 512MB of computer space.
When using CrashPlan, I noticed the software uses ridiculous amounts of RAM, especially when restoring files. Since it’s programmed in Java, CrashPlan is notorious for excessive RAM usage.
David Donatelli
Typically, Java apps are known to be greedy pigs when it comes to consuming computer memory. If your computer does not have sufficient RAM, then running CrashPlan effectively could be a little troublesome.
It’s precisely recommended that you have 1GB of RAM for every terabyte of data backing up, to ensure CrashPlan stays happy.
To get around the heavy consumption of my computer’s memory, I scheduled CrashPlan only to backup at certain times of the day, when I’m not actively using the PC.
On the other hand, Acronis runs with less system overhead and memory use, requiring 512MB of RAM or more, Acronis isn’t greedy as CrashPlan when it comes to computer memory usage.

3.User Interface

The Acronis software interface is simple and relatively easy to use. You’ll have the option to backup an entire hard drive, which is the default setting, or particular files only.
Furthermore, when choosing the destination target for a backup, you can select:
  • Acronis Cloud
  • An external drive
  • A local file folder
Once the backup’s source and target are chosen, just click the “Back Up Now” button and the magic will start. Alternatively, you can set it to backup automatically based on a preferred schedule—be it after one hour, six hours, weekly, or Nonstop.
With the Nonstop backup feature, any changes in selected files will be automatically detected and backed up. Also, I noticed a major hitch: the Nonstop option doesn’t use the Cloud as a target destination.
CrashPlan’s user interface is a bit crowded with information, and not as simple as Acronis, the aesthetic drawbacks arise from being programmed in Java.
Although Java enables CrashPlan to be portable across various platforms, it makes the app’s user interface feel a little “off” due to failure to use the host operating system’s standard interface protocols.
CrashPlan’s software automatically chooses items (documents, photos, etc.) to backup. Nonetheless, you can choose to backup only what you want.
In contrast to Acronis, CrashPlan offers more target backup destinations.
You can select:
  • A local drive
  • Other machines
  • A friend’s computer
  • Online storage
This way, you will enjoy greater flexibility mixing and matching backup destinations.
CrashPlan provides constant file backup, together with daily or weekly schedule options.
By default, the software checks for file changes every 15 minutes, but you can adjust it to suit personal preferences—even as often as every minute.
Notably, I found the possibility of doing peer-to-peer backups with CrashPlan to be very innovative. Using this feature, I easily backed up some of my files to a friend’s computer, which was also running CrashPlan.
What’s more, this option is free of charge.
I appreciate being able to backup my important documents to a friend’s computer at no cost. This way, even if my computer crashes or something happens to its files, I can easily retrieve them from a friend’s computer.
So, if you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of person, who wants to enjoy a backup service without having to worry about monthly payments, then the CrashPlan peer-to-peer backup plan is worth checking out.
You may purchase a hard drive, tell your friend to plug it into their computer, and there you have it! A do-it-yourself backup solution.
Furthermore, you will not need to worry about a friend eavesdropping on backed up files, because CrashPlan uses secure encryption technology.

4. Performance and Security

CrashPlan offers  automatic backup by operating in the background and making necessary modifications to stored data.
The backup process is incremental, implying the software only updates files that have been changed and doesn’t waste resources on those that are still intact.
You can also use the app for archiving data on an external hard drive.
Dropbox SDK
Computer Security
CrashPlan can retrieve deleted files for an unlimited amount of time, furthermore, the service’s file-versioning abilities are also unlimited.
With this captivating feature, you can access the earlier version of a changed file. I found it to be especially useful when undoing file modifications.
Similarly, in addition to automatically scanning drives on your system to perform backups, Acronis also provides the possibility of retrieving deleted files at any time.
More so, the app’s file-versioning abilities are also unlimited.
Speed-wise, I tested the performance of CrashPlan vs Acronis using identical files (totaling around 600MB).
Speedtest.net indicated that my broadband connection provided a maximum upstream bandwidth of 1.23Mbs (this condition will vary depending on your testing environment).
Therefore, when testing both providers’ upload and download speeds, I was expecting values as close to that number as possible.
CrashPlan delivered the highest upload speed, at around 0.81 Mbs, while Acronis uploaded at around 0.69Mbs.
Speaking about security for a moment, CrashPlan encrypts documents using a 448-bit key, and you can also use a personal password for more enhanced security.
Acronis, by comparison, offers 128-bit encryption, and you can also include a password to reinforce the security of your stuff further.
Both of these security features are very good, but 448-bit is better than 128-bit, so I think here CrashPlan has the upper hand.

5. Restoring Files

Efficiency during file restoration is a critical component of any cloud backup software worth its salt.
With CrashPlan, you can search for backups using a familiar tree structure, or use a search field to locate specific documents you need to restore—even if they’ve been deleted previously.
Unfortunately, Acronis does not offer a tree view of backed up folders. Instead, you’ll have to browse through an entire hard drive folder structure, to choose a file or folder you want—and this process may sometimes be cumbersome.
What I liked about Acronis though, is that it gives you the option of easily restoring a full hard drive. So, it’s a good option if you want to restore an entire PC to the last point it backed up, should the unexpected happen.
Additionally, I was pleased with Acronis’ universal restore technology, which enables backups to be restored conveniently to a dissimilar system.
For instance, it’s possible to restore backup data from a physical server to a virtual server — easily and quickly.
This feature could be very useful when you want to avoid manually re-configuring systems that have been restored to a destination different from the initial one.
Acronis will automatically detect the kind of system present in a target environment, and then make appropriate configurations during the installation process.
When restoring selected files to my desktop, CrashPlan’s download speed clocked 0.97Mbs — compared to 0.74Mbs on Acronis.
If you want a cloud backup service that backs up faster, CrashPlan can work to your advantage.

6. Customer Support

CrashPlan’s customer support department can be reached through live chat Monday to Friday from 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM (US Central Time).
You can also open a support ticket on the site, and one of the company’s representatives will contact you.
Acronis has more support options than CrashPlan. Besides live chat and e-mail support, Acronis can also be contacted by phone Monday to Friday, from 12 PM to 5.30 PM EST.
However, technical customer support is only free for 30 days from the date of registration.
After that, you’ll have to pay every time you open a support ticket on resolving technical issues.

Pros and Cons: CrashPlan Vs Acronis True Image Cloud


Acronis True Image Cloud:

In Summary…

I wish that either CrashPlan or Acronis could seamlessly support some popular online storage destinations such as:
A backup service with such capabilities wins my vote.
Anyway, for now, I think that even though the two cloud backup services share some similarities, CrashPlan remains my top pick.
Because it contains all my ‘must-have features’, together with almost all of my ‘good-to-have features’—more of the latter than those offered by Acronis True Image Cloud
Both CrashPlan and Acronis offer users a free pro-trial period.
What’s more, you can test CrashPlan’s services with the free local and offsite backup feature — for as long as you want.
Additionally, CrashPlan’s Family Plan, which allows you to backup ten computers for $149.99, is better than the Acronis plan, which backs up five computers for a similar price.
CrashPlan offers a rich combination of:
  • Affordability
  • Usability
  • High performance
Even though it doesn’t earn perfect marks in every category, I think it simply provides better value than Acronis True Image Cloud.
Thanks for reading the article all the way. Between CrashPlan and Acronis, which one do you think is the better cloud backup solution?

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