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Old 22-06-2012, 13:01   #1
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Data backup aboard

What is everyone using?

I've always used 2 portable external drives so I have redundancy. The one's I've been using have shock protection that meets so called U.S. military standards. Well, I just had one that's only a little over a year old die on me, so I'm second guessing that approach.

I'm throwing around the idea of online backups, but have so many gigs of files, that retrieving them would be a LONG and painful process.

Or am I just worrying about this too much? The older of the drives and the drive on my laptop are still working. Maybe I just got a lemon?
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Old 22-06-2012, 13:45   #2
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Re: Data backup aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by grouchyturtle View Post
What is everyone using?

I've always used 2 portable external drives so I have redundancy. The one's I've been using have shock protection that meets so called U.S. military standards. Well, I just had one that's only a little over a year old die on me, so I'm second guessing that approach.

I'm throwing around the idea of online backups, but have so many gigs of files, that retrieving them would be a LONG and painful process.

Or am I just worrying about this too much? The older of the drives and the drive on my laptop are still working. Maybe I just got a lemon?
I've had various backups I have used over the years. I have found that the hardware solutions often bring compatibility issues.

The last time my computer died, I had most of my stuff and all that was important on Dropbox.

It too me less than 1/2 hour after I bought my new computer to use what I needed, and my whole files that were important were back on my computer within a day, being synced in the background.

Oh, and I use Gmail and Google Docs also. They of course are available immediately. Really important stuff sits on both Google Docs and Dropbox, just in case one of those services were to be terminated.

It was the most painless computer death I ever went through.
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Old 22-06-2012, 20:22   #3
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Re: Data backup aboard

I'm guessing you don't have as much music, or as many photos, or DVDs as I do. It would take me longer than that just to copy my stuff from from one drive to another, let alone download. Although I just keep the DVDs on the external drive, not on the system drive.

Now that I think about it, online may not work for me. Mounting a disc image and playing a full DVD over the web wouldn't really work. Although maybe using it as a backup to the external drive would be a good idea.
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Old 23-06-2012, 06:45   #4
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Re: Data backup aboard

If you are always in reach of a good internet connection, then online backups may work. If you are working off 3G or wifi marina connections (or any random wifi you can snag), online backup and retrieval is not practical.

Hard drives are so inexpensive now that we just keep multiple ones on board and make multiple backups. 1TB drives are <$70 now. Smaller capacities are approaching free. You can buy or setup a simple RAID system configured to mirror multiple disks and simply do a single backup and have your data mirrored automatically.

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Old 23-06-2012, 08:20   #5
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Re: Data backup aboard

Apple's Time Machine. Had a computer stolen once, and within an hour had an EXACT clone working right down to my browsing history. I use two portable hard drives; one is on my network at home and will back-up anytime the computer sees my network. The other is aboard in a small pelican box which is in turn inside a slightly larger "tin" box. While aboard, I back up weekly, as I rarely do any "important" computer work while sailing. The home network backs up every 15 minutes.... all in the background
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Old 23-06-2012, 08:52   #6
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Re: Data backup aboard

You need two different (overlapping) strategies: 1) for personal data files that you can't download or buy from somewhere else, and 2) for program and system files that are replaceable (with adequate time and money) but required in order for you to use your computer to access the personal data files.

The personal data files might fall into two or more categories (personal records, creative or business documents, reference, photos/videos/music, etc.) and the importance/frequency of your backup strategy might vary with each category.

Assuming you don't have a full-time or unlimited internet connection aboard, it is best to use mutiple disks (as Mark wrote) with disk-imaging software (Acronis is my recommendation for PCs) for local backup and machine restoration, and use a cloud-based solution for personal data files that couldn't be replaced if you lost your boat or had a robbery.

Be careful about where you store data if it is very sensitive. You should be be aware of the privacy laws, as certain providers don't tell you which country your data will be stored in, or who has access to it, or how it will be processed. (Or they'll tell you in vague terms that are subject to change without notice.) In the US we think we have a right to privacy, but when you put something online or "over the air/wire" you give that up in any country. I tripped over an article at wired.com recently and was rather stunned to learn the following:

“The 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act allows the government to acquire email or other stored content from an internet service provider without showing probable cause that a crime was committed, as long as the content has been stored on a third-party server for 180 days or more. Under ECPA, the government only needs to show that it has “reasonable grounds to believe” the information would be useful in an investigation.
The act was adopted at a time when email wasn’t stored on servers for a long time, but instead was held there briefly on its way to the recipient’s inbox. In the 1980s, email more than 6 months old was assumed abandoned, and therefore ripe for the taking without a probable-cause warrant.
And Congress wants to keep this obvious Fourth Amendment breach alive, as a Senate proposal to amend the law last year never even got a committee hearing.”

Full article: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/06/open-letter-surveillance/
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Old 23-06-2012, 10:55   #7
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Re: Data backup aboard

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
If you are always in reach of a good internet connection, then online backups may work. If you are working off 3G or wifi marina connections (or any random wifi you can snag), online backup and retrieval is not practical.
My thoughts exactly! No immediate plans to run anywhere beyond than the Keys, but of course always planning for the future.

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Hard drives are so inexpensive now that we just keep multiple ones on board and make multiple backups. 1TB drives are <$70 now.
WOW! Where did you find those prices? I just paid $90 for 500GB for a Transcend portable, which is what I've been using for the past few years. Still not a bad price.


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Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
it is best to use mutiple disks (as Mark wrote) with disk-imaging software (Acronis is my recommendation for PCs) for local backup and machine restoration, and use a cloud-based solution for personal data files that couldn't be replaced if you lost your boat or had a robbery.
Is it easy to swap out a drive? Right now I do it manually, and regardless of how the drives are functioning, I get new ones every few years. That way I always have fresh drives, and I can ebay the old ones to help offset the cost. Very good point! I guess backing up photos, music, etc. to my server, as a worst case scenario back up would be a good idea. Of course a lot of the data is also on my phone, so that acts as a backup too, except the photos aren't full res. Not like I'm printing any for a gallery showing anytime soon, though.
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Old 23-06-2012, 12:20   #8
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Re: Data backup aboard

I use Western Digital 1tb/USB3.0 portables that I keep in a Pelican case. I am managing just under 10tb of music, movies, pictures and nav charts/sailing stuff and it is a full time job (read: 20 portables = pain in the ass).

They are all color coded though! Red = nav/boat stuff, Blue = music, Black = movies, White = pictures.

Docs I keep backed up on two Transcend 32gb ruggedized thumb drives. My more recent pictures are upped to Picasa but not as part of a backup plan.

I still have every hard drive that I ever had including the old Wang from 1990 and they all work fine! What you guys doing to your drives?

Now I must be off to find some very good wood to knock on!
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