HFS Code42 Cloud Backup: FAQ

Below is a list of frequently-asked and useful questions on the new HFS Code42 Cloud Backup service. The questions have been loosely grouped into common areas.

Remember, if you cannot find what you need to know, you can open an online support call.  For any urgent matters, please contact the Service Desk

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1.1 Who can use the HFS Code42 Cloud Backup Service ?

Initially the service is only open to existing users of the current HFS desktop backup service using the IBM Spectrum Protect client. This is to allow existing users to migrate their backups from the current IBM-based solution; a process that is expected to run through 2021. Once the majority of accounts have migrated to the Code42 solution, a strategic decision will be taken on how the remaining licences for Code42 are deployed.

1.2 Is every desktop / laptop machine a suitable candidate for the Code42 solution ?

No, not every machine will be able to use the Code42 Cloud backup service. The three main prerequisites are as follows:

  • The person responsible for the machine is or was a user of the IBM-based desktop backup service.
  • The machine is a single-user machine: The data belongs to / has been created by just one user, who is responsible for it and the machine.
  • The machine is running a currently supported version of Windows (Windows 10 and 8.1), macOS (Mojave 10.14 and later) and any recent 64-bit  linux distribution using debian or rpm-based packaging.

  1.3 How do I register for the Code42 Cloud Backup service ?

The first step is for the HFS team to enable your SSO identity for Code42. Then you can download the HFS Hub for your operating platform from the links on the HFS Code42 Cloud Backup service page. The HFS Hub app will manage your registration with the service, then download and install the correct Code42 app for your machine.

As indicated above, at first the HFS team will only be enabling the SSOs of those users migrating from the existing HFS desktop backup service.

2.1 Is it Crashplan or Code42 ?

Both. The company Code42 originally marketed their product as Crashplan but have recently rebranded it as Code42. Specifically Oxford IT Services has a subscription to the 'Code42 for Enterprise' product allthough in practice there are only minor differences between this and other Code42 backup offerings.

2.2 How does Code42 backup work ?

The Code42 app constantly tracks changes (new files and edits to existing files) within your file backup selection and constructs what is essentially a 'to-do' list. Periodically (every 15 minutes by default) it then processes this to-do list for backup to the Oxford tenancy in the Code42 cloud (and any other backup destination you may have locally defined). This process involves deduplication, compression and encryption for secure and efficient transmission and storage of your backup data. The process is more fully described on the Code42 support page how Code42 backup works.

2.3 The Code42 backup is intrusive while I am working on my computer.

The Code42 client app offers several ways of managing your backups so that they do not affect your work and other applications running on your computer. If your machine is running several applications or simply just short of CPU, then you may find the Code42 background backup slows other work and processes down unacceptably. In this case you can manage Code42 backups with limited resources. If you have limited network bandwidth, for example your local broadband connection has a poor/restricted upload bandwidth, then you can manage Code42's bandwidth consumption

2.4 Can I use Code42 to back up a large amount of data ?

The use of Code42 is essentially limited by the resources available to your local computer; CPU and network bandwidth are addressed in the item 2.3 above. Memory is the other critical resource. All Oxford Code42 clients will be version 8 and above, which means that the Code42 app by default will dynamically consume up to a maximum of 25% of the total memory available to your machine. As a rule of thumb Code42 advise that the app will require 1GB of memory for every 1TB of data or 1 million files. If your backup requirements are large, or the Code42 app is crashing on your machine due to insufficient memory, you can adjust the memory settings for the Code42 app.

2.5 Are there any size limits to using Code42 backup ?

Code42 advise that while there are some fixed limits to the amount of backup they will support, these will be preceded by practical limits of how usable the Code42 backup app becomes. Generally, Code42 advise that once an archive approaches the 5-10 TB level, processes such as maintenance (a backend process that manages the integrity of your backups and ensures they are stored efficiently) will start to take a considerable amount of time, during which your backups will be unavailable. Restores will also begin to take considerably longer. When this actually starts to occur, will depend in part on the structure of your data; the above practical limits will start to be met sooner where the archive consists of many, very small files than with a relatively small number of very large files. 

2.6 Can I back up to another destination other than the cloud ?

Yes, Code42 recommends that users back up to multiple destinations, for example to both the 'Cloud' and a local backup destination such as external usb drive, to add resilience and flexibility to your backup strategy. 

2.6 Can I back up files to different destinations with different settings ?

Yes, Code42 employs the concept of 'backup sets' that allow you to do this.

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