CrashPlan PROe Refresher

December 13th, 2012 by Allister Banks

It seems that grokking the enterprise edition of Code 42′s CrashPlan backup service is confusing for everyone at first. I recall several months of reviewing presentations and having conversations with elusive sales staff before the arrangement of the moving parts and the management of its lifecycle clicked.

There’s a common early hangup for sysadmins trying to understand deployment to multi-user systems, with the only current way to protect each user from another’s data being to lock the client interface (if instituted as an implementation requirement.) What could be considered an inflexibility could just as easily be interpreted as a design decision that directly relates to licensing and workflow. The expected model these days is a single user may have multiple devices, but enabling end users to restore files (as we understand it) requires one user be granted access to the backup for an entire device. If that responsibility is designated to as the IT staff, then the end user must rely on IT to assist with a restore, instead of healing thyself. This isn’t exactly the direction business tech has been going for quite some time. The deeper point is, backup archives and ‘seats’ are tied to devices – encryption keys cascade down from a user, and interacting with the management of a device is, at this point, all or nothing.

This may be old hat to some, and just after the Pro name took on a new meaning into Code 42 hosted-only, the E for Enterprise version had seemingly been static for a spell – until things really picked up this year. With the 3.0 era came the phrasing “Cold Storage”, which is neither a separate location in the file hierarchy nor intended for long-term retention (like one may use Amazon’s new Glacier tier of storage for.) After a device is ‘deactivated’, it’s former archives are marked for deletion, just as in previous versions – this is just a new designation for the state of the archives. The actual configuration which determines when the deactivated device backup will finally be deleted can be designated deployment-wide or more granularly per organization. (Yes, you can find the offending GUID-tagged folder of the archives in the PROe servers filesystem and nuke it from orbit instead, if so inclined.)

ComputerBlock from the PROe API

computerBlock from the PROe API

Confusion could arise from the term that looks similar to deactivation, ‘deauthorization’. Again, you need to notice the separation between a user and their associated device. Deauthorization operates at the device level to put a temporary hold on its ability to log in and perform restores on the client. In API terms it’s most similar to a ComputerBlock. This still only affects licensing in the fact that you’d need to deactivate the device to get back it’s license for use elsewhere, (although jiggery-pokery may be able to resurrect a backup archive if the user still exists…) As always, test, test, test, distribute your eggs across multiple baskets, proceed with caution, and handle with care.

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