Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My new data backup plan

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I realized that backups using Apple's Time Machine really isn't the best way for me to backup my laptop. I've got a new plan. I have 3 external hard drives, and here's how I use each.

1 tb drive: This one lives in my office at UBC. I partitioned it so there are 3 separate "drives". One partition is for incremental Time Machine backups. Another partition is for a bootable clone of my hard drive using Carbon Copy Cloner. This means that if my hard drive fails, I could use someone else's laptop to boot from my clone (you can't do this with a Time Machine backup). I think I have it set so that it doesn't archive changes (like Time Machine does) so the clone should be exactly the same size as my hard drive when it's cloned. The third partition is for files that I don't need on my computer anymore but don't want to delete permanently (some photos and music).

500 gb drive: This drive lives at the museum. It has two partitions: one for incremental Time Machine backups, and one for those files.

320 gb drive: This one is with me in Ukenzagapia and is the same size as my MacBook hard drive. Previously, I used Time Machine to back up to it, but I'd really be SOL in Ukenzagapia if I had to buy a new MacBook to get at the files! Now I'm using Carbon Copy Cloner to make a bootable clone of my drive without archiving.

Additionally, I have an 8 gb flash drive that I will put all of my most important documents on as a final backup. I should back up to the flash drive and my Ukenzagapia drive every Sunday at the very least.

A friend of mine recently had an external hard drive with years of photos fail on her, so I want to be sure that any files I have only on an external drive are on more than one external drive.

What do you think? Suggestions for improvement?


Epiphron said...

I realize your in a far away land where internet access isn't the best, but I use mozy, it automatically backs up my computer offsite. Up to 2 GB is free (which covers my excel, access and word files, but not much else). A buddy of mine uses dropbox to store all of his files, so he can access it anywhere. These may be helpful when you do have internet access?

Anonymous said...

I use a small RAID drive - two hard drives mirrored to each other, so if one fails, you can replace it and restore the data from the other. There's a bootable partition and a data partition on it.

Now that I'm in earthquake country, I've also been taking a look at offsite solutions. I had mozy, but that only covers what's on my computer. Might just upgrade my dropbox account - I've used it for a collaboration and it was great.

Karina said...

Hmm... earthquakes. I should do some kind of online backup when I'm back on fast internet. Thank you both for the suggestions! I'll look into it.

African Fieldworker said...

I use Dropbox, it is awesome...

Karina said...

Thanks African Fieldworker! Glad you're reading :-) I use Dropbox for all of my collaborative projects (which is where most of my important data are anyways). My friend wrote an R script that automatically recognizes who is running the script and sets the working directory accordingly!

I didn't want to rely on Dropbox in the field because of the slow internet, but I could have done regular Dropbox syncs in the city. I only have a free Dropbox account, but I've invited several people that I'm up to 6 gb.

Ruby Badcoe @ Williams Data Management said...

Tried to look an update for this, but unfortunately, can't find one. I say 3 hard drives are just enough to back up your files. But I started to worry that all you had was physical storage, which can cause troubles should you encounter hardware failure. Glad to know you use Dropbox too. For added security, you can also set a restore point for your computer to have a safety net when you accidentally uninstall a program. This doesn't work on deleted files though. :)