Resolve extreme scale from large manifest files for CrashPlan

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Extreme scale due to large manifest files can cause issues such as slow loading of file restore options, file restores that take a long time to complete, restores that time out, and problems with synchronization. This article describes what a file manifest is, what causes extreme scale, and what you do to resolve these issues. 

About large manifests

A manifest file is a binary file that stores the file paths in the archive. A history data file is a binary file that stores the version information of all backed up files. During the restore process, CrashPlan checks the manifest file to identify the path to use when restoring a file. CrashPlan also checks the history data file to confirm that the file exists and fetches the file for you.

Causes of extreme scale

Backup archives can reach extreme scale due to large manifest files as a result of:

  • Backing up file versions at a high frequency 
  • Retaining more file versions than necessary 
  • Backing up system or application files (like app data, temp data, system files, and so on) that the CrashPlan app is not designed to back up. For more information, see What should you back up with CrashPlan?.

Recommended solution

You can manage the size of the manifest file and the history data file by updating your file selection, updating frequency and version settings, and changing the Remove deleted files setting. See CrashPlan console settings for full details on how to optimize your settings.

Step 1: Reduce the file selection

Update files and folders in your file selection: 

  1. Open the CrashPlan app. 
  2. Go to Manage files
  3. Uncheck the box next to:
    • Windows: C:
    • Mac: / or Macintosh HD 

     Do not Save until file selection is complete

    After you have deselected your main drive, you must select all the files and folders you want backed up before you save your changes. Deselected files are no longer included in the backup file selection and are permanently deleted from the backup archive the next time archive maintenance runs. Files that have been permanently deleted can't be restored.

  4. Verify any external drives you want backed up are selected. 
  5. Navigate to the files and folders you want backed up. User files are typically stored in a User directory or Home folder. 
  6. Select the check box next to the files and folders you want backed up. 
  7. Click Save.

For detailed instructions, see Change the file selection.

Step 2: Update frequency and versions settings 

Updating the frequency and version settings for your backups can help reduce the size of your manifest file and the history data file, resolving issues with file restores and synchronization.

You can update frequency and version settings from the CrashPlan console

When adjusting these settings: 

  • Reduce the frequency of backups (from every 30 minutes to every hour, for example).
  • Decrease the number of file versions that are backed up.

Step 3: Start archive maintenance

To reduce the size of your backup archive and enact the file selection and file version changes from the previous steps, manually start archive maintenance:

  1. Sign in to the CrashPlan console. 
  2. Select Administration > Environment > Devices from the menu. 
  3. On the Active tab, select the device for which you want to start archive maintenance.
  4. From the device details, select the Archive Options icon Archive_Options_Icon-415-export.png.
  5. Select Maintain Archive.
    A message informs you that running archive maintenance may cause the archive to become unavailable for restore or backup until maintenance finishes. 
  6. Click OK.
    Your job is added to the queue.

Next steps

  • You can confirm the issue is resolved when you can navigate the restore files options (from the CrashPlan app or the CrashPlan console) without experiencing any slowness. From a technical standpoint, the HDF (History Data File) and FMF (File Manifest File) should optimally each be less than 500mb.
  • For more information about how to configure your environment for optimal performance, see CrashPlan console settings
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