Tag Archives: backup

Crashing Crashplan

I’ve recently started to use Crashplan to back up a rather large file server. It was crashing repeatedly around ~1.1TB and ~300k files.

The error message we were seeing on our remote host was “target lost” which led us to many hours troubleshooting disk performance and network connectivity. After attaching a “local” disk to the VM for local backups, waiting the ~12-14 hours for the initial backup to get to the same spot – and then fail – it appeared that it was something more systemic.

Contacting Crashplan support yielded this very helpful response:

Crashplan Rep Response:
It appears that the CrashPlan backup engine is running out of memory.

Running Notepad or any other text-editor as an Admin, edit the CrashPlan engine’s CrashPlanService.ini file to allow it to use more java memory:

1. Stop the backup engine: http://support.crashplan.com/doku.php/how_to/stop_and_start_engine

2. Locate the Notepad program, right-click and Launch as Administrator

3. Go to File > Open, and navigate to C:\Program Files\CrashPlan\CrashPlanService.ini

4. Find the following line in the file:


5. Edit to something larger such as 640, 768, 896, or 1024. E.g.:


This sets the maximum amount of memory that CrashPlan can use. CrashPlan will not use that much until it needs it. I would recommend starting out setting it to 768, and go higher only if you continue experiencing problems. You can set it as high as 2048 on 32-bit systems, or even higher on 64-bit systems.

6. Start the backup engine.

We set it to -Xmx1024m after increasing the memory allocation by 1GB as well. The server is running like a top and backups are consistently running successfully.

Troubleshooting backups, especially mulit-TB datasets, can be a huge pain as they take so long to redo and reproduce. Props to Crashplan for getting back to me within two hours on our free trial, which has since been converted to their family unlimited plan for two years. *thumbs up*


Home Data Protection Schemes, pt. 1

Having more and more digital “stuff” that’s somewhat important to retain, I’ve started looking at some solutions.  Already, we put all of our “important” files on our Windows Home Server because it has disk redundancy and is available from anywhere internet is accessible.  Our pictures, tax information, etc. is all stored electronically and it is important that it be protected.  The question then becomes how data is protected from there.

What are we protecting against is probably the first and most important item to detail.  What could happen?

  • Windows Home Server failure (hardware or software) resulting in corrupted data.
  • House fire/natural disaster.
  • Theft.

After that, we have to decide how much data loss would be acceptable.  If we could potentially lose thirty days worth of data, is that reasonable?  One day?  One hour?  One year?

Tiered backups is also something that has to be considered.  Some data, like important documents, likely needs to be more secured and backed up more often than the photo collection. The photo collection likely needs to be backed up more often and securely than the TV show collection, etc.

Some strategies will come in follow up posts…