Bitcasa Review

I am running a 12 core Mac Pro with 16 gigs of ram, 13TB of internal storage, 4 monitors and the newest updates to OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.4.

Recently I have been searching for cloud-based backup for my massive image library.  Bitcasa has been making news with their incredible offer of infinite storage for only $100 per year.  I had read the reviews and a lot of forum posts regarding problems with the app, but results seemed to have been improving over the last year, so I decided to give it a try.

In late July of 2013 I downloaded and installed the Bitcasa app (version 1207).  The installation went smoothly and it immediately identified the primary data folders on my boot drive and began backing them up.  This is a small portion of the data I need mirrored, as I have several Terabytes of data stored on my system.  I added a few more folders that I wanted mirrored and let it run.  I immediately noticed a massive degradation in performance.  I let the computer run around the clock for 3 days to get the queued material synced.

On August first, when I was finished with the computer for the night, I closed all running apps as I normally do before shut-down and tried to close Bitcasa.  It would not shut down on it’s own and I had to initiate a Force Quit command to unload it from memory.

The next day when I booted the computer, Bitcasa was crashing on load and generating error messages to accompany this activity.  This happened repeatedly.

Bitcasa Crash Dialog

Bitcasa Crash Dialog

I noticed the temperature monitor on my display showed my computer running at 61 degrees C.  Normally it ranges between 39 and 41.  I immediately loaded Activity Monitor and found Bitcasa’s CPU usage was at 1,420 %over One Thousand Percent ?!?!?!?!?!  I immediately executed a Force Quit of Bitcasa, as it would not close on it’s own.

I then contacted Bitcasa support via online chat and began the laborious process of clearing the Bitcasa cache (this can take hours) and downloading the newest build with instructions for removing the current version and replacing it.  Chris was very helpful and my assessment of their support based on this single sampling is excellent.

Since replacing Bitcasa 1207 with build 1.3 1217, it no longer crashes on load.  However, it still does not handle threads or process priorities correctly.  Both Aperture and Photoshop, which I use constantly, become unresponsive on launch or import / File Open when Bitcasa is loaded.

I routinely have to pause the sync process, then Force Quit Bitcasa in order to free up other running applications.  It will NOT close on command either from it’s own menu or via Activity Monitor.

When it is actually syncing, it uses all the bandwidth of my fairly fast UVerse pipe and I have to pause Bitcasa Sync in order to stream video or watch something on YouTube on any computer or TV on the network.

To qualify what I am about to say:

I have spent most of my life in technology.  I was a Recording Engineer for Motown Records and worked in almost every studio on the West Coast.  I designed and built numerous Recording Studios in Northern California, including MC Hammer’s in the early 90s – and Metallica’s favorite rehearsal studio in the early 80s.

I owned and operated several technology companies over nearly 40 years, including AudioCraft Engineering in Marin County, which serviced the Pro Audio gear for studios and musicians up and down the West Coast.  I was on the team that built the very first computerized house in Tiburon, California in 1983.  My tasks were to build the circuits we needed and interface the entire system.

In 2010 I sold a very profitable computer consulting company I started in 1994 upon leaving the employ of Symantec (where I was Beta Administrator for Time Line 6).  This little consulting company made me a lot of money solving other people’s PC, network and software issues until I decided I needed a change of pace. For many years I was a computer Forensic Analyst and Licensed Private Investigator.  I’ve recovered a lot of data in my career and continue to do so today.

In the early days of computers I learned to code first in Basic, then in Turbo Pascal and finally in C before I lost interest in writing and debugging code.  I’ve been coding my own websites since 1995, first in text on a Unix platform and now with Dreamweaver.

 

What I really think about Bitcasa:

In all my years in technology I cannot remember a less well-crafted application  being unleashed on an unsuspecting buying public.  It’s been causing nothing but trouble for their users since the day it was introduced and I knew this going into it, but figured I’d give it a try.

My assessment of Bitcasa so far is that it is one of the worst pieces of code I have seen in my entire career.  Whoever is compiling this app should be fired and they should hire someone from Silicon Valley that has half a clue.

Bitcasa is not even Release Candidate quality.  It is Beta – plain and simple.  Charging money for this app is somewhere between unconscionable and criminal fraud.

2 Comments

  1. Andrew Heskett

    I found your review on the Bitcasa website and it’s been very helpful but I’m back to being disappointed. I thought Bitcasa was the service I’ve spent so long looking for. So, have you found a service that fits your requirements? Finding a solution for backing up DAW projects and my iPhoto library were my biggest headaches until I lost all of my data last month after my HDD was dropped. I still love my wife.

    Reply
    1. Photog (Post author)

      So far, I’ve found Bitcasa to be more trouble than it’s worth. It locks up every app on my 12-core Mac Pro and will not shut down or terminate it’s processes without a Force Quit command. I’ve sent all this information to Bitcasa support and they seem unable to solve this problem.

      My evaluation is that it is a classic example of bad code. This app does not prioritize processes or thread handling correctly and can completely lock up a Mac. This should be impossible, given it’s OS.

      Clearly Bitcasa is still Beta and should not be offered for sale in it’s current condition.

      I have yet to find an acceptable and cost-effective solution for online backup of more than 6 terabytes of data.

      Reply

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