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Old 17-04-2012, 15:41   #1
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Computer Data Backup Plan?

I'm a web designer and / graphic designer and plan to continue working while cruising on the East coast of US. I'm interested in what other people are doing to create redundancy for their data. I have a data repository need of about 500GB that needs to be backed up as I change, edit, add files over time. Some options I've been thinking about:
  1. Carbonite/Mozy type service. Seems the issue here is upload speeds and maxing out data plans with wireless plans like ATT and Verizon. Has anyone tried backing up regularly from ATT hotspots or the like?
  2. USB external drives. Issue here is probably speed and a need to ship out a duplicate for off site storage backup. Seems I would spend lots of time running my engine to power my extra devices.
  3. Ethernet/Wireless networked backup drive. Issue is probably powering this at all times to back up files as they are changed.

I'd love to hear what you do to prevent data loss and your thoughts on what a good plan is and how it has worked for you.

Thanks!
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Old 17-04-2012, 15:46   #2
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Re: Computer Data Backup Plan?

I get along just fine with a 1 TB external HD. If you are worried about upload speeds, find a HD that has a firewire port along with the usb port. Provided your computer has a firewire out. I know that my Dell does.
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Old 17-04-2012, 18:55   #3
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Re: Computer Data Backup Plan?

Small USB external had drive. $110/1TB now, USB powered. $125 buys you USB3/USB2 compatibility or eSata with higher transfer speeds. If your data is worth backing up, buy two, keep them in separate watertight storage ike surplus ammo cans or pelican boxes.

Offsite storage is worthwhile if convenient. Online storage, nice if you trust the cloud. And some companies, at double the price, sell SAN devices that are sometimes even waterproof to ten feet for 30 minutes or similar spec. A nice idea for a boat.

But those $100/TB USB drives certainly are convenient and affordable. Flash drives work well if you just need "today's" stuff backed up.
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Old 17-04-2012, 18:56   #4
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Re: Computer Data Backup Plan?

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I get along just fine with a 1 TB external HD. If you are worried about upload speeds, find a HD that has a firewire port along with the usb port. Provided your computer has a firewire out. I know that my Dell does.
I hear Firewire is unreliable and difficult and honestly not that fast. USB 3.0 would be nice, but my current laptop is not USB 3.0 ready and 2.0 seems so slow.
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Old 18-04-2012, 02:09   #5
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Re: Computer Data Backup Plan?

I had two backup HD's go down on me, the original , which lasted about 1.5 years and then the replacement to it about a year later. I decided I needed something different and have been very satisfied with Carbonite.
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Old 18-04-2012, 05:13   #6
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Re: Computer Data Backup Plan?

I used to use all 3:
remote hard rive
usb key - waterproof - crushproof -
Corsair Flash Survivor USB drives
offsite - amazon storage for files - flickr and youtube for photos and videos.
I made very awesome program that did it automatically...
Would be easy to use USB for real time - then do major back-ups daily to other sites...
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Old 18-04-2012, 13:31   #7
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Re: Computer Data Backup Plan?

When my last computer crashed, I was up and running in 1/ 2 hour when I got my new one.

I use Gmail, Google Docs and Dropbox. Important photos and documents get backed up to Docs and Dropbox, just in case I loose access to one or the other. Gmail speaks for itself, and I have my other addresses forward to Gmail.

Works for me, YMMV.
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Old 18-04-2012, 13:39   #8
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Re: Computer Data Backup Plan?

Get a SSD (Solid State Hard Drive) the gyroscopic precession applied to the platter of a standard hard drive causes a short MTBF when used on a moving platform.
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Old 18-04-2012, 14:04   #9
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500 GB is a lot to back up reliably. How much of
That is changing? I used to work for a magazine, and watched their internal network admin cry blood over trying to manage the files of the graphics and layout folks.

Any platter based backup solution is unreliable. There is a reason why RAID is considered standard in HA systems, drives are the number one most likely to fail component. Lots of folks use them, but only for convenience. If it's data you absolutely can't lose I'd find another way.

I have a multi-tier backup solution for my stuff. I have a SAN box that sits on the network with mirrored drives. It has a Blu-Ray burner in it. The BR discs are 25GB each. I do a full backup every couple of months. That goes into my safety deposit box at the bank. The previous one from the box goes to my parents out of town. Incrementals are done every so often when I feel the urge, but those don't make it to the bank box because it's a hassle to access.

This way if the house burns (or in your case the boat sinks) I have offsite copies. I am super paranoid about my data, from all the times I did recovery or attempted data recovery back when I was in the biz.

I'm not a big fan of those offsite backup services. One, the bandwidth needed to do it right is huge. Two, you're not in control of your data. Three, who's to say they don't close up shop and leave you hanging, or Joe BackHoe doesn't hit the fiber optic line when you need it?

Only you can decide how valuable your data really is. What's the worst that could happen if you lose it all, and what's it worth to you to avoid that scenario?

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Old 18-04-2012, 14:52   #10
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Re: Computer Data Backup Plan?

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Originally Posted by betachz View Post
I hear Firewire is unreliable and difficult and honestly not that fast. USB 3.0 would be nice, but my current laptop is not USB 3.0 ready and 2.0 seems so slow.
All is not lost if you have an expresscard slot & want to use USB3
Amazon.com: notebook PCMCIA usb3.0 card

I have one that mounts flush, Have little niggles with it but generally ok.
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Old 18-04-2012, 15:29   #11
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Re: Computer Data Backup Plan?

FreeFileSync will quickly look for differences between Originals+Backup and do what you tell it to; as to overwrite, add, or whatever and it's Free.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/freefilesync/

hdds at sea? if you are working at graphics design and doing backups when it's rough, I guess an ssd is the way, but why not a (usb) hdd at anchor? I've never had a failure. and I've heard ssd's are not too good long term per multiple overwriting- I take from this that they could fail too.
occassional ,Static non-changing data Backup to a dvd mailed off is a good idea too.
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Old 18-04-2012, 16:02   #12
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Re: Computer Data Backup Plan?

I've killed perhaps 50 external portable (mostly USB, but also firewire) drives over the years. We have very close to a 100% failure rate. They are fabulous little things (and getting better all the time) for what they are, but suitable archival backup they are not.

For a small personal system, it's still pretty hard to beat tape.

Solid state memory might be worth checking out. I don't know much about it, other than my cheapo keyring thing has been in saltwater, my nasty pocket, the washer, the dryer, and who knows where else for around 5 years and just keeps on working.

Depending on what your 500G is and how you manage it, you may be able to push incremental backups. If you're dealing with textual data, unless you're the US Census Bureau or something, I would suspect huge inefficiencies/redundancies somewhere in the pile - it might be that you can clean up to a more manageable bundle.

Disk-based systems (including/especially most RAID setups) rely on someone noticing that part is broken before the other parts break. That's usually not happening in a personal backup system.

For work, we use massively redundant disk (about 5PB worth) and a mirrored (on 2 continental plates) 3 exabyte robot-controlled tape library for incremental backups. I really wouldn't trust much less for irreplaceable data. (And it only cost a few hundred million dollars to build!) I really don't know much about them, but I suspect some of the better online backup services offer that class of protection for a few dollars per month - if I had personal data worth protecting, I'd seriously check into them.

For my actual personal junk, I use USB drives and time machine (for now) to occasionally back them up to each other. Failsafe? Not even close, but sufficient for what's on them. My pictures are on Flickr, but Yahoo has been making me nervous lately, and maybe it's time to starting thinking about a new home for those.
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Old 19-04-2012, 01:15   #13
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2 X TB drives that mirror each other for data. Mostly photos, video, music and email .pst files.

Each year I burn CDs for mail nd photos (music is replaceable) of the data types and store seprately.

I dont yet trust the cloud since Ringo dumped abouta gig worth of photos when they went out of business.

A more robust option is to put a third drive in rotation and store it off site while keeping two hooked up but haven't got that worried about it yet.
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Old 19-04-2012, 08:16   #14
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Re: Computer Data Backup Plan?

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Each year I burn CDs for mail nd photos (music is replaceable) of the data types and store seprately.
Those things have a finite life as well. I think the mean lifespan is around 10 years, but a friend started losing CDs that she'd produced at around 5 years. (She'd spent 5 years living out of hotel rooms and airports on a grad student budget to make them - talk about trauma!)
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Old 19-04-2012, 16:50   #15
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Those things have a finite life as well. I think the mean lifespan is around 10 years, but a friend started losing CDs that she'd produced at around 5 years. (She'd spent 5 years living out of hotel rooms and airports on a grad student budget to make them - talk about trauma!)
Yes that is a concern that needs to be considered.

Interestingly... Or not... I have some Colorado tape backups from the 80's that are still legible...
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