Thursday, July 31, 2008

CrashPlan Speed Increase Imminent

Here at Code 42 Software, a few of us have been working on speeding up our backup engine. The engine was topping out at about 15MB/second for a 2 year old MacBook PRO. While that's good enough for backing up over the Internet or even a wireless LAN, it's not fast enough for Gigabit LANs or direct attached disk.

We need speed. We need it to go to 11. We need warp 10.

It's a tricky thing, how do you accomplish the best compression in the business without slowing down too much? A happy customer wrote recently:

“CrashPlan compressed 951GB of design files into 350GB!!!! You guys rock!” ~David A.

Compression is a big deal. If you take David's example, before compression it would take 288 days to backup over the Internet at cable modem speeds of 40KB/sec. With our data de-duplication, compression, and encryption we reduce that time to 106 days. (Which is still ridiculous, which is why CrashPlan kicks serious butt by allowing you to back up over LAN in 10 hours and bring that drive off-site to continue your backup.)

So now that we've covered all the work CrashPlan does to save bandwidth and disk space, you can imagine how hard it is to make it go faster! A few days ago, we managed to increase the backup engine speed by about 38%.

It's amazing how "Sleeping on it" can help you solve problems in creative ways.

Today we made some innovative changes and managed to crank up the backup engine up to 60MB/sec on that same modern laptop.

That's a 400% increase in speed! Oh, and we're using 30% less CPU to do it too. WOOT!!

Since most USB drives top out around 25MB / second, we should be able to easily "max out" our new local backup feature.

Some of you techies might go, "60MB/sec? *yawn* I can copy files to my NAS device faster than that!"

Remember, we're managing that speed while at the same time, compressing 951GB of design files into 350GB while at the same time encrypting them - on a laptop - without slowing you down. THAT is a bit more tricky.

All PRO users will get this speed increase as a free upgrade.

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