[The latest updates are provided at the end of this post. Spoiler Alert: I’m back in love with Crashplan.]
The time had come. The dreaded and inevitable hard drive crash. My 6-month old Western Digital My Book World II 2TB drive (that’s a story for another post) contained 10+ years of photos, videos, thousands of music files, documents, all our financial data and more.
Did I worry? Nope. After all, I had pre-purchased four years of backup insurance with Crashplan (www.crashplan.com). All my data was safely and soundly backed up to the reliable Crashplan cloud.
Or so I thought.
Since I had so many files to restore (it would have taken months to restore over the internet), I ordered Crashplan’s “Fast Restore” service. Essentially, for $124 they back all the data up to a hard drive and overnight it to you. Once the drive is connected to your computer, you follow instructions to have Crashplan restore the files in a much quicker fashion.
Except for one teensy weensy problem. Crashplan sent the drive to me with ENTIRE DIRECTORIES of my data missing. That’s right. MISSING. Including my 2006 photos folder (get this – not my 2001, ’02, ’03, ’04, ’05 folders or even my 2007, ’08, ’09, ’10 or ’11 folders, JUST my 2006 folder. How’s that for random?). And my ENTIRE music folder (thousands upon thousands of music files) was gone as well. POOF. I was so beside myself (and still am) that I haven’t even had the presence of mind to see what other folders or files could be missing as well.
After bringing the issue (ticket #81325) to their attention last Thursday, Sept 1st, I find out today (7 days later and only after *I* called them) the following status:
“Something went wrong during the monthly maintenance that purged a chunk of your data but we don’t know why because the logs exceed the 3-week window.”
“Something went wrong” and my data is gone. Inexplicably and irretrievably GONE. I pre-paid for 4 years of backup insurance for what?!?! What kind of insurance is THAT???
As a good will gesture, Crashplan offered to send my original, crashed hard drive to a data recovery specialist, on their nickel, to see if they can retrieve the data but I have little hopes. I already paid $80 to have a local firm do it and all they could do was pull off the data without the directory and file structure intact. Basically, instead of having all my data restored to their rightful folders and with their rightful file names, I have a bunch of files called FILE001.doc, FILE002.jpg, FILE003.mpg…you get the idea. Hundreds of thousands of files, possibly millions, and it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Totally useless.
The ticket is still open and they are still investigating because of a significant detail they overlooked: on August 19, I attempted to restore some of my music folders and they were, in fact, there. Some of those files were restored to my hard drive as proof. But I stopped the restore process after realizing it would take weeks to completely restore all those files. I figured it was better just to buy the $124 Fast Restore drive so I ordered it that very same day. Five days later (August 24) that they actually restored my files to the drive they were sending me, and another 4 days transpired before I actually received it. [So much for FAST.] That’s when I realized whole directories were missing. So somewhere between August 19 and August 24th, my files went POOF and, as of this writing, the issue is still within the so-called “3-week log window” where they claim they can determine what went wrong. I’m not holding my breath.
While everyone I’ve spoken to at Crashplan has been very polite and professional, there’s absolutely no sense of urgency from any of them. It’s almost as if this type of thing occurs daily to them: “Oh, more purged files. Yawn.”
And why does the very unhappy and panic-stricken customer have to be the one to call Crashplan daily in order to get an update on the crisis, instead of the other way around where they extend the professional courtesy of proactive status updates to her?
And to add insult to injury, they haven’t offered to refund my $124 for the Fast Restore, nor offered to send me a prepaid mailer to ship my crashed hard drive to them…although I have emailed them both requests.
Crashplan, I was in completely in love with you. And I honestly thought you had my back. I told everybody I knew about how wonderful you are. But I was wrong. Matthew Dornquast (Crashplan CEO), you totally and egregiously stabbed me in the back.
I want to believe that there is a happy ending here, Crashplan. I’m hoping you will figure out why my data was purged and fix it so it never happens to anyone ever again. I’m also hoping your data recovery firm can perform a miracle on my crashed hard drive. If there is a happy ending to all this, I will happily shout it off the internet rooftops and fall back in love with you.
But for now, being on the verge of a break, I need the world to know that promises of data protection safety in the Crashplan cloud is not safe AT ALL.
Update 09-08-2011 (Thursday): Today Crashplan has determined the cause of my random data loss and were able to restore them back into my backup archive. MOST EXCELLENT! Additionally, they are sending me a new Fast Restore drive with all my files on it – free of charge – AND refunding the $124 I spent on the original Fast Restore drive. I am waiting for a more detailed explanation on what the specific situation was that caused the purge in the first place and why Ops wasn’t notified of the situation so that they could take immediate action, as well as reassurances that measures have been put in place to avoid this type of data loss in the future. My decision to stay with Crashplan, as well as my continued endorsement of Crashplan to my circle of influence, hinges on it.
Update 09-13-2011 (Monday): Received the 2nd Fast Restore drive and it appeared to have all my files on it but the drive was bad and couldn’t restore the files. It took Crashplan working with me every day through Saturday before making that determination. They are sending me another drive for Tuesday morning delivery.
Update 9-20-2011 (Tuesday): Received the 3rd Fast Restore drive. All the files were on it and were successfully restored. Had some glitches with the my iMac crashing in the middle of the restore and not restoring about 3000 files so I had to initiate the restore twice (each time took 24 hours – I had over 109,000 files!). All is right with the world once again. Thanks, Crashplan, for coming through for me.