Which HFS service should I use: CrashPlan or Storage Protect?


CrashPlan is an easy to use product specifically designed for individuals to back up their personal files (as opposed to system files) on their laptop or desktop computer from anywhere. It offers near continuous protection and unlimited versions. If this describes what you want to do CrashPlan is almost certainly the right choice for you.

IBM Storage Protect is a more general purpose enterprise backup product and is the right choice in all other cases. In particular for backing up servers, databases, virtual infrastructure, machines used by multiple people, and large data sets (many TB).

You may also wish to consider the following more detailed points:


  • You cannot use CrashPlan on macOS El Capitan or Sierra. If you are running either of those Storage Protect is your only option. Note that High Sierra, Mojave or Catalina cannot run the latest CrashPlan client but you can use the service using an older client that will be branded as Code42 (this will be installed automatically for you if you use the usual installation process).
  • You cannot run CrashPlan on Windows Server operating systems (even if you are running it on a laptop!). To back up server operating systems you must use Storage Protect.
  • CrashPlan will run on many (x64) Linux distributions. However probably not as many as does Storage Protect. If you find CrashPlan doesn’t work for you we recommend you try Storage Protect instead
  • CrashPlan stores data in the cloud (in a data centre in Ireland). The data is encrypted and CrashPlan has been cleared by the University Information Security team for storing all types of data. However if you have specific requirements that dictate where your data must be stored you may need to use Storage Protect which currently stores all data on University servers.
  • CrashPlan backups are tied to your personal account (SSO) and cannot be transferred. If someone else took over your data they would back it up again under their own account but not have access  to previous versions. If this is a problem then you might prefer Storage Protect as Storage Protect backups can be transferred to a different owner. Note: this does not mean the University does not have access to your backed up data if it needs to, just that your backups cannot be transferred to another account.
  • CrashPlan is designed for typical desktop/laptop use and will struggle with especially large amounts of data. CrashPlan advise that backing up more than 5-10TB is likely to result in poor performance. If you have several TB of data to backup you may find Storage Protect more satisfactory.

Storage Protect

  • You can only backup/restore your data using the Storage Protect service when on the University network or using the University VPN service (or possibly a VPN service provided by your department/college). For laptops that are typically away from the University CrashPlan is likely to be a better option.
  • Storage Protect does not work well with macOS Mojave. If you are using macOS Mojave we recommend you either upgrade macOS or consider using CrashPlan.
  • Storage Protect requires administrative rights on your machine. If you do not have these rights and cannot have it installed and managed for you then CrashPlan may be a better choice for you. Although CrashPlan is ideally run with administrative rights it is also possible to install and use without.

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