Bulletproof backups for your Mac

24

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 65
    kirkckirkc Posts: 9member
    Third mention of CrashPlan. As mentioned by others, you can use it to send backups to your own computers--for free (they charge for their own cloud-hosted services, which I don't pay for). In this setup, the files don't even cross CrashPlan's network.

    For example, I use CrashPlan to have my Mac Mini at home backup to an external hard drive at home, and also to my (personal) Macbook Air at work (they are saved onto a personal external hard drive I generally keep at work). Thus, I create both a local and an offsite backup of the Mini (which hosts my most important files).

    I also use CrashPlan to have my Macbook Air backup to the external hard drive at work, and to my Mac Mini at home (CrashPlan stores these backups to the external hard drive at home).

    In addition (being the tech support/maintenance guru in the family), I have my parents' windows PC back up its critical files (e.g., their QuickBooks files, and their documents and pictures library) on my Mac Mini for safekeeping (again, CrashPlan stores these backups to the external hard drive at home).

    All backups are encrypted by CrashPlan, so you can send backups to family and friends' computers without worrying about them having access to your stuff. For example, I could be a backup destination for a friend's files, and my friend could be a backup destination for my files. However, neither of you can access each other's files, or even view the original file names or filesystem structure.

    Great product. Cross platform (Windows, Mac, Linux).

    Only drawback: requires Java 6 to be installed. Also, configuration can be a bit confusing, but once it is set up it is a set-it-and-forget-it system.

    Footnote (since the article was about a "bulletproof" backup plan): Both the Mini and the Air also maintain Time Machine backups (the Mini and the Air to another external hard drive attached to my Airport Extreme, and the Air also to the external hard drive at work) for easy restores and for versioning (CrashPlan does not do versioning, to my knowledge). For extra redundancy, I also mirror the external hard drive at home every couple weeks (using rsync) to an identical hard drive that I keep in a fireproof safe.
  • Reply 22 of 65
    kirkckirkc Posts: 9member

    Also, since DropBox was mentioned for backups, a plug for AeroFS (https://www.aerofs.com) and BitTorrent Sync (http://www.bittorrent.com/sync).

     

    They provide similar sync functionality, but without the cloud storage piece. Instead, they are peer-to-peer so your data isn't stored on somebody else's servers (for those concerned about privacy).

     

    If you have an always-on computer in the mix, the synchronization functionality is basically identical to DropBox from the end-user perspective.

  • Reply 23 of 65
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    My biggest gripe with online backup services is that it can take from days to more than a week to backup a typical HD, even with a very fast Internet connection. I tried one service and gave up after data had still not been fully backed up after a week.
  • Reply 24 of 65
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    I'll vote for CashPlan - I have a Mac Server connected to a Promise Thunderbolt RAID array - and I use space limited sparse bundles as TImeMachine targets for all the Macs in the house - and also use share points as target locations for CrashPlan backups from non-Macs in the house as well as remote target for systems and servers at other locations. The one gap in my backup plan at the moment is that although I am the remote target for other locations I do not yet have a remote target for my backups - thinking about setting up another Mac server with RAID array at my parents house so I can use them as the offsite backup target for my stuff.
  • Reply 25 of 65
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    ensuring you have a recent and complete backup is all well and good, but when was the last time you verified that you could actually restore something from your backup? at least once a month you should test the integrity of your backup by attempting to restore some or all critical (to you) data from said backup. people more well-paid than you have been proud of their backup strategy only to be humiliated when they could not restore a single byte. make sure that you know how to, and that you actually can.
  • Reply 27 of 65
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member

    Wow.  And I thought a head crash was the worst thing that a disk drive could do to its data.

     

    My personal backup system:

    - Time Capsule for hourly incremental backups via Time Machine (multiple Macs)

    - External drive for bootable backups of the entire iMac disk (using Carbon Copy Cloner)

    - USB 2.0 "thumb drive" for backing up specific folders as needed (e.g. current Xcode project)

    - Github for backing up Xcode projects offsite

    - iCloud backups of iPhone / iPad, plus encrypted backup to the iMac when plugged in

    - iCloud document sync (Pages, Notes, etc.)

     

    I lock the external drive in a fireproof safe unless it is connected to my iMac while doing a backup.

    And I only do that weekly.  Time Machine backups to Time Capsule are the main backup system.

    (I also lock the Time Capsule in the safe when I'm out of town.)

  • Reply 28 of 65
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member

    Originally Posted by Pooch View Post



    ensuring you have a recent and complete backup is all well and good, but when was the last time you verified that you could actually restore something from your backup? at least once a month you should test the integrity of your backup by attempting to restore some or all critical (to you) data from said backup. people more well-paid than you have been proud of their backup strategy only to be humiliated when they could not restore a single byte. make sure that you know how to, and that you actually can.

     

    About a week ago. It was easier to use a Carbon Copy Cloner backup drive to move data from a friend's (extremely old "sunflower") iMac to new iMac than to use the archaic "FireWire Target Disk Mode" or Ethernet cable.  Especially since the new iMac has no FireWire ports.  And because I didn't feel like buying the $29 FireWire -> Thunderbolt adapter from Apple.

     

    But yeah, it's good practice to go through at least one "dress rehearsal" restore-from-backup.  And you should always try booting from that "bootable backup drive" once in a while.

  • Reply 29 of 65
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,471member
    CCC is without doubt the most useful utility in existence for the Mac and always has been. I use it daily and have since it came out.
  • Reply 30 of 65
    For those wanting a technical aspect to the article.
    Read this:
    What's wrong with HFS @ http://arstechnica.com/apple/2011/07/mac-os-x-10-7/12/

    Then if you want to truly protect/validate your data and backups, (something that none of the above can do), then explore this:
    http://www.open-zfs.org/wiki/Main_Page


    Remember, Apple was well on the way to adopting ZFS in 10.5 until Oracle gobbled up Sun Microsystems - just to get their hands on ZFS...
  • Reply 31 of 65
    If you have more then one machine I can give you a totally free alternative. I have a Mac Pro Desktop, a Macbook Pro, & a Dell PC. I use BTSync, to keep all of the files synced and it doesn't cost a dime. It also has the added benefit that all of my document folders are synced so no matter where I am working, I always have access to the latest files and never forget anything. Also if your house burns down, you always have the files on your laptop.

    This is of course depending on how much data you have, but my documents folder is less than 100 GB so not a big deal. I have a large music collection too about (600 GB) so I back that up to my NAS.
  • Reply 32 of 65

    I see a few people recommending CrashPlan. We have the Pro version at work. But I find that my Mac slows to a crawl whenever it's on in the background. I often just turn it off. Have others experienced it? More generally, is such slowing down an issue to be worried about, vis-a-vis online backup services?

  • Reply 33 of 65
    1) Time machine encrypted backup to NAS, which is connected to my router (Synology DSM)
    2) Amazon Glacier backup API running on Synology incrementally backs up the entire TM encrypted backup to the cloud (for $1/100 GB), once every day.

    I Haven't tested data retrieval from the cloud (all I know is it is quite more expensive than storing to the cloud), so this is an untested strategy. However assuming that it works, provides me with all the peace of mind for a pretty low cost.
  • Reply 34 of 65

    I use SuperDuper! Get it? It's word play on "Super Duplicator"?

  • Reply 35 of 65
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member

    "We didn't recommend Apple's built-in local backup alternative, Time Machine, in this slot primarily because it doesn't create bootable backups. Time Machine backups need to be restored to a functioning drive, meaning you must first get your system back in working order before they can be used. Users for whom instant recovery is less of a concern, however, will find Time Machine more than adequate."

     

    You have full access to all your files from your Time Machine drive. Your User folder is in there, with all of your files intact. 

  • Reply 36 of 65
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member

    You can "restore" from a Time Machine backup, or you can do a clean re-install of the OS and just copy over what you want piecemeal.

  • Reply 37 of 65
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,671member
    quadra 610 wrote: »
    "We didn't recommend Apple's built-in local backup alternative, Time Machine, in this slot primarily because it doesn't create bootable backups. Time Machine backups need to be restored to a functioning drive, meaning you must first get your system back in working order before they can be used. Users for whom instant recovery is less of a concern, however, will find Time Machine more than adequate."

    You have full access to all your files from your Time Machine drive. Your User folder is in there, with all of your files intact. 

    tflanders already made a wise post, in that Time Machine backups already include a recovery volume that are bootable.
  • Reply 38 of 65

    Nothing beats Crashplan for the money.  $5 a month for unlimited space for one computer.  Runs in the background -- "set it and forget it".

     

    And I've used SuperDuper for years now.  CCC is nice but doesn't do anything I need that SuperDuper doesn't.

  • Reply 39 of 65

    Strange omission in this review.  Many Mac and iOS users do most of their file creation in one or more of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers.  Files made in such programs are incrementally added to, thus, to save the last few minutes (not to mention hours) of work, the backup must be almost continuous.

     

    Backup is built-in for those apps, is continuous, and file changes are so fast and automatic I can't even see them happening.  If you have a single computer and it breaks, files can be accessed from any browser on any computer.  It's even simpler and more secure if you have more than one Apple device, say a Mac desktop at work and a laptop for home and travel,  or a Mac and an iPad, or even an iPhone.  You can literally have your whole computer run over by a truck, go home and pick up your iPad, and just continue editing from where you left off, probably with no data loss whatsoever. Generally, there is a copy on the device you are using, another copy in iCloud, and when other devices are turned on, copies on them as well.  Very secure, extremely fast, almost continuous backups, no conscious effort whatsoever.  (Being able to continue work from any device has lots of other workflow and convenience advantages as well.)

     

    Of course this doesn't cover all cases (files created by other programs, restoring an entire disk including directory structure and apps, etc).  But for many or most computer users, these productivity apps are the most important case to cover well, and I believe backup of these files works better than any of the solutions described in the article.  

     

    Personally, I use the above and Time Machine, with occasional home-work cross backups.  It is way simpler and more secure for my needs that this review's solutions.

  • Reply 40 of 65
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    A lot of people here have better backups than me, I just use a single Time Capsule.

     

    BTW there is a trick on Mavericks that lets you store anything you want in iCloud - just drop a file in to ~/Library/Mobile Documents and your Mac will sync it up to iCloud in the background.

     

    It's not even that much of a hack - when you go to this folder, Finder changes the window title bar from "~/Library/Mobile Documents" to "iCloud" and when you delete things from here it warns you that you are in fact removing them from the cloud.

     

     

    Everyone gets a free 5GB of iCloud so that might be enough for some people's off site needs.

Sign In or Register to comment.