How to install CrashPlan on a headless Linux server

linux-headless

When it comes to Linux, sometimes it may seem that nothing is easy to get working properly. Especially when you have a server like mine that does not have a user interface (GUI). Linux for me is command-line only, so getting an online backup solution installed and working was tricky to say the least. A Linux install that does not include a GUI is often referred to as a headless server.

CrashPlan tech support refers to a Linux server without a GUI as a headless server and does not support it. Just like everything else in the world of Linux, we’re on our own. I’m kind of used to it by now. I honestly didn’t think that CrashPlan was going to have a Linux technician available, but I tried anyways. In the end I got it working and here are all of the steps needed.

I am using CentOS 6.5, so these instructions should work for RedHat as well.

The first step is to install CrashPlan. To do this, I went to http://www.crashplan.com/business/#download and downloaded the Linux version. I then unpacked the download to extracted the “CrashPlanPRO-install” folder. Using WinSCP, I created a folder on my server called “downloads”. I then uploaded the “CrashPlanPRO-install” folder and placed it inside the “downloads” folder. Using terminal, I navigated to this newly uploaded folder and ran “bash install.sh“.

During the install process I accepted all of the defaults. The install went smooth. The CrashPlan service was installed and running, yet I had to no way of controlling it. Here is where things start to get a little sketchy. To control the backup software installed on a headless Linux server, you’ll need a second PC.

On that second PC you’ll need to download the CrashPlan client and re-configure one of its settings. Since I’m using a Windows PC I had to navigate to C:\Program Files\CrashPlan\conf and open the ui.properties file. I opened it using WordPad. At the bottom of the file I added the following line.

servicePort=4200

When I tried to change this file, it initially errored out saying that I did not have permission to edit. I had to right-click on the file and add my user account under the security tab. The next step is to create an SSH connection to the server using Putty. Detailed instructions for this can be found here.

At this point I thought everything was ready to go. I launched the CrashPlan software on my local desktop and it connected to the server without an issue. I then configured my backup job and hit GO.

Nothing happened. It just sat on “waiting for backup”.

This is the point that I contacted tech support. While I was chatting with support I ran across this article.

The fix provided here worked like a charm. It involves creating a new temp folder somewhere on your server for the CrashPlan software and services. I created that new folder again under the /home directory. As described in the article I opened the run.conf file and specified my new temp location.

I rebooted the server, fired up the CrashPlan client and what do you know? As shown below, it now appears to be working!

crash-plan

CrashPlan provides unlimited backup of one enterprise server for $9.99/mo. Its a small price to pay for the comfort and security of knowing I have a backup just in case. The CrashPlan software can be used on Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s a great option for those tired of Carbonite and some of the other major providers.

If you have questions or new help, please leave your comments below. I’ll try my best to help you out.

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Category: Backups, Cloud Computing, Linux

About the Author ()

John Bousman is an MCSA, MCTS, MCP, Net+ and A+ Certified Technician. He is also an avid Web Developer, WordPress Jedi, SEO Connoisseur and owner of an IT Firm in the Midwest. During the day he helps tackles Server Administration and Desktop Support issues for small business. With over 15 years experience installing, configuring and troubleshooting retail and enterprise software, he's seen it all. Make sure you checkout his profile on Google+.

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