Backing Up Data : Contemporary Strategies

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I'm interested to know how everybody is backing up their data these days. What's the best price/performance hardware software out there and what kind of schedule do you folks REALLY employ?



I'm about 4 months past due on backing up some important data...not to mention my iTunes library and my iPhoto library....and my email.



Crap.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    I have two computers, so i use program called File Synchronization to keep all my important stuff synced on the two computers. Its just like having a backup on each one. It usually takes a while the first time, but afterwards, its pretty easy. If you don't have two computers you can sync folders on an external HD also. <a href="http://versiontracker.com/moreinfo.fcgi?id=16975&db=mac"; target="_blank"> Find it here at Version Tracker</a>
  • Reply 2 of 6
    We've had a lot of talk on backing up in Software over the past month or two. When ti comes to backing up to media, I believe it was William Gibson who wisely stated, "There are only two types of hard drives. Those that have failed and those that will fail."



    As such, if you're using a hard drive as your only backup medium, well, I'm glad you're not in charge of backing up my data. You should also note a lot of hard drive manufacturers recently reduced their warranties, and if that isn't a warning sign...



    Personally, I *used* to run nightly backups of all machines on my network to AIT 50GB tapes. The first backup takes the longest, but subsequent backups only backup changed data and continue adding to the end of the tape. It works out well. I cycle between four 50GB tapes.



    AIT drives aren't THAT expensive. Neither are the tapes. Neither is Retrospect. My data is priceless, most of what I backup cannot be replaced. I only backup certain folders and files. I don't backup operating system files or preferences. Applications don't get backed up either. I only backup the data I need to backup.



    One thing about tape is that it isn't an archival medium. Tape will last a while on a shelf, but not nearly as long as optical media. Therefore, if I need to backup something for long term storage, I burn out to an optical CD or DVD. This is for stuff I won't have to touch for a while. My day to day and week to week backups get put onto rotating tapes. Tapes should be replaces every couple of years if you're rotating them properly.



    It's about how much your data is really worth to you. It's just like buying insurance. Still, you can have the best backup system in the world, but what if you don't keep backups stored offsite? Your home could catch on fire, your backups destroyed. Getting a safety deposit box and dropping tapes off there weekly is a good move. Getting a fireproof safe rated for media (tape melts before paper burns) is a good idea too.



    In the end, any backup plan is better than nothing at all. I recommend at least backing up to something like AIT tape twice a week and rotating through a handful of tapes to cycle them. Only backup what you need to, as that reduces backup time. Drop archival stuff onto CDs. Store a backup offsite in a safety deposit box once a month or so. It's about how far you're willing to go, and can afford to go.



    As cheap as hard drives are, you're foolhardy to rely on one as a backup medium. I mean, you're backing up your data because you already believe your *hard drive* will fail. So why back it up to another hard drive? You think it will be any safer there? If you must, look into a RAID 5 array... but still, the money you spend on that, you could have a nice AIT tape system running with less power consumption and lower overall COO.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    I have to be honest and say my backup strategies have sucked in the last little while. I have three computers running and do a backup of data of particual files onto just one computerf my TiBook.



    After reading M3D Jacks post I will stop my crappy backup system and Just use CD-RWs from now on.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    CD-Rs are good for quickly freeing up space. They are super cheap. Otherwise, external FireWire hard drives are probably the best. You could get a program called Carbon Copy Cloner to make an exact copy, bit for bit, of your original hard drive and put it on your external one. Then just run it once every week or something.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    [quote]Originally posted by Luca Rescigno:

    <strong>CD-Rs are good for quickly freeing up space. They are super cheap. Otherwise, external FireWire hard drives are probably the best. You could get a program called Carbon Copy Cloner to make an exact copy, bit for bit, of your original hard drive and put it on your external one. Then just run it once every week or something.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Well, if you're only moving non-mission critical data to the external firewire drive that you could live without if the hard drive failed in an effort to free up some local drive space... I suppose it is fine.



    But what if that hard drive fails? Do you know how many moving parts are inside of a hard drive? If one of them fails, your data could be imprisoned inside of it. You'd have to have it professionally recovered, which can easily go into thousands of dollars for larger capacity drives.



    That is kind of one of the immediate plus signs of using tape and/or CD/DVDs... if the drive fails, you can get another one - and all your data is still safe on the tape or optical disc.



    If you can afford to lose your data when the HDD you're backing up to fails, then I guess you're fine. I can't, so I don't
  • Reply 6 of 6
    cyloncylon Posts: 126member
    Of course, what are the odds of two hard drives failing at the same time. As long as you have one as backup, if the other one fails..get a new one. I'd say the odds are pretty low of both failing at the same time, unless it is an electrical surge problem.
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