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Photographer's guide to backup with CrashPlan

Applies to:
  • CrashPlan PRO
  • CrashPlan PROe

Overview

If there’s one thing that photographers of all levels understand, it’s Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That’s where CrashPlan comes in.

While we can’t prevent your favorite lens from breaking, or the weather from ruining an important shoot, we can help ensure that your most important files are backed up. This article describes features and considerations for advanced amateurs and professional photographers alike who are thinking about using, or already using, CrashPlan.

Essential features for photographers

The features highlighted below describe features photographers who use CrashPlan find essential. For a full listing of CrashPlan features, visit our Getting Started guide.

Unlimited data plan

Code42 offers several unlimited data plans for the consumer and business versions of CrashPlan. We are committed to truly unlimited data plans and you'll never incur penalties based on the size of your backup archive.

Reliability

Reliability is a key feature of CrashPlan. We perform regularly scheduled maintenance to ensure the security, quality, and reliability of Code42 products, websites, and our cloud.

Onsite and offsite backup

The best way to protect your files is to take advantage of the benefits of both onsite and offsite backup. With CrashPlan, it's easy to get the best possible protection and access with faster onsite backup and secure offsite backup.

Lossless compression

Unlike the kind of compression used to create a JPEG, CrashPlan uses lossless compression. That means restored files are identical to the original and you will never experience a loss in quality.

Enterprise-grade security

Whether you're adhering to contractual obligations or simply conscientious about intellectual property, as a photographer you have a vested interest in ensuring that any files you back up are securely protected. All CrashPlan products use a rigorous security model that's passed the stringent security audits of numerous large enterprise businesses.

Special considerations for photographers

When it comes to backup, there are some unique challenges facing photographers, who produce a prolific amount of digital data compared to the general population. If you've been an active photographer for any length of time, you probably have a large amount of existing data to back up. You also probably add large amounts of data regularly. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.

System resources

While we offer unlimited storage, available computer memory may be a limiting factor for very large file selections. If you are backing up more than 1 TB of data or more than 1 million files, then it is necessary to increase the amount of memory the CrashPlan app is allowed to use. See our guide to adjusting CrashPlan settings for large archives for configuration information related to memory usage. See our system requirements for additional information on the minimum requirements needed to use CrashPlan.

Speed for initial and ongoing backups

Another consideration for any large archive is the time it takes to complete backup for both initial and ongoing backups. There are two major considerations for speed:

  • Internet connection (bandwidth): CrashPlan PRO Online has a finite amount of bandwidth that is shared by all of our users. Even if you have a very fast Internet connection, it's unlikely that your upload to CrashPlan PRO Online will saturate your upload bandwidth.
  • Computer power (CPU): By default, CrashPlan has limits in place to prevent it from using too many system resources. However, many modern computers can support increasing the amount of CPU CrashPlan is allowed to use without impacting system performance. See our guide to speeding up your backup for more information on adjusting your settings for faster speeds.
Back up to the cloud
On average, you can expect backups to cloud destinations to progress by at least 10 GB of information a day, as long as your computer is powered on and not in standby mode.
  • Professional photographers backing up raw image files averaging 25 MB each can expect to back up about 12,000 files (300 GB) in a 30-day month (your average file size may vary)
  • Hobbyists backing up JPEG files averaging 5 MB each can expect to back up about 60,000 files (300 GB) in a 30-day month

Rate of growth

After your initial backup is complete, incremental backups take much less time to complete. However, if your backup file selection grows by more than 300 GB a month on average, then it is unlikely that your backup to cloud destinations will reach 100% regularly. Consequently, if your monthly total of new data exceeds 300 GB, we strongly recommend a multiple destination backup strategy that includes backing up to a local destination, like an external hard drive.

Post-shoot backup
Backing up several thousand new raw images to a cloud destination may take several days (assuming your computer is powered on and not in standby mode). However, the same number of files can typically back up to an external drive in several hours.

Backup priority

CrashPlan is designed to intelligently prioritize your backup without your intervention. Nonetheless, because photographers have large archives, you may wish to take greater control over backup priorities. With CrashPlan's backup sets feature, you can opt to segment your file selection into sets with unique settings and priorities for each.

Workflow

Every photographer has a unique workflow for capturing, processing, tagging, and editing photos. While there isn't a one-size-fits-all "correct" workflow, your workflow can impact your backup. For example, if you process your photos "in the field" on a laptop, it will take much longer to back up your files if your laptop is frequently closed or off. Similarly, if you only connect to the Internet via wi-fi, your backups to offsite destinations are likely to take longer to complete.

Backing up Lightroom, iPhoto, and aperture
See our guides to backing up Adobe Lightroom and iPhoto or Aperture for best practices and considerations unique to those applications.

Run CrashPlan on network attached storage

Networked Attached Storage (NAS) refers to an appliance that acts as a file server on a network. These devices normally have very low systems specifications and run a limited version of Linux without a graphical environment. Running the CrashPlan service on a machine without a graphical environment is an unsupported feature.

Although this is an unsupported configuration, some users have found the process provided for configuring a headless client to be useful for remotely backing up files on a NAS. Additionally, there are specific instructions for installing on a Synology DiskStation available on the Synology Forums. If you attempt this unsupported configuration, you should ensure that your NAS device meets CrashPlan’s minimum hardware requirements.