An introduction to the University's HFS backup service

The HFS backup service provides two separate ways of backing up data on desktop machines, laptops, shared workstations and servers. They have different features and benefits. You can choose which is most suitable for your purpose.

CrashPlan (formerly known as Code42) is a cloud-based backup product that is primarily designed for single-user workstations and laptops containing a modest amount of data. It offers frequent (by default every 15 minutes) automated backups in the background for user-selected data. Multiple versions of your backups are kept and these are easily restored back to the original machine or another machine you have registered with the service. CrashPlan can back up from anywhere with an Internet connection. More information is available on the HFS CrashPlan Cloud backup service introductory page.

Where CrashPlan is not suitable, for example file servers, application servers, virtual infrastructures, multi user systems, and other server-like machines, the HFS offers an on-site backup service using the IBM Storage Protect software. With this service, your backups go to a primary server in one location, and are then replicated to a 'replica' server at a separate location shortly after, (normally within a day). Your data is held on disk and is accessible for restore even if the primary server is unavailable. Versioning is currently limited to seven versions of any one file at any time with older versions retained for 90 days (the most recent backup version is retained for as long as it exists on the machine) and thereby offers a reasonable point-in-time recovery of data. Backup using Storage Protect is restricted to IP addresses on the University network. More details on this service are available on the HFS Storage Protect backup service introduction page.

Who is it for?

Oxford University staff, senior members and postgraduates (but not undergraduates) can use both services. Access is determined by University card status. For details see University card and IT services entitlements.

What do I need to use the service?

A university SSO (with the required University card status), a computer running a supported version of Windows, macOS or Linux/Unix and a network connection. We would expect machines backing up to the on-site Storage Protect service to be attached to the University network, but this does not apply to the CrashPlan cloud backup.

Are there any limits to use of the services?

Yes. CrashPlan is licensed on a per-user basis, is not allowed (by licence) on server operating systems, and has a fair usage assumption that each user can back up a maximum of four separate devices (machines) under their name account. While the licencing puts no limit on amount of data backed up by these devices there is a practical limit to how much can be backed up by any one machine. This will vary a little depending on the structure of the data, but we are advised that beyond 5 TB of data and/or several million files, the client software will begin to become unusable.

The on-site Storage Protect backup service also has limits on number of file versions retained and for how long and practical limits on the amount of data that can be backed up. More information can be found on the HFS Storage Protect backup service introduction page.

How do I get started

First read our page on choosing whether the CrashPlan or the Storage Protect service is the right one for you.
When you have decided go to either the HFS CrashPlan Cloud backup service introduction page or the HFS Storage Protect backup service introduction page.


Background reading 

We also have information on the history of the HFS service and a page on technical information about the services

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