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Author Topic: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)  (Read 10368 times)

superboyac

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SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« on: March 30, 2007, 06:32:37 PM »
Backing Up My Data
A "Unique" Solution

smoking_computer.gif


We all know that it's vital to back up our important data, but how many of us actually do it diligently?  It's easy when the amount of data you have can fit on a disk, cd, dvd, etc., but once you get into much larger sizes, backing up becomes much more complicated, much more of a nuisance, and the average person just will not have the proper motivation to do it--especially if it's only personal data and not work related or something.

As hardcore as I am with computers, I fell into this lackadaisical mindset.  Unfortunately, I had all of my data on the dreaded IBM 80 GB Deskstar (aka "DeathStar") drive.  The drive died mechanically and I lost all my data.  I couldn't afford the expensive data recovery services (who can?), so that was it.  I vowed to take backing up seriously from that point on.  It took 2 years, but I finally came up with a solution that I feel is great for my situation, and hopefully it will help others here.

The reason why I call this a "unique" solution is because that's what a random guy told me at Fry's when I was talking to him about it.  This is not the traditional backup solution that gets talked about a lot (images, raid arrays, external drives, etc.).  There are many reasons why I chose this solution:


  • I have a relatively old computer (early 2002).  It's not RAID ready, and the motherboard doesn't have a SATA connection.  I built the computer myself, and it's nowhere near its last legs, and can still do everything I need.  So, I'm not really ready to buy a new computer or build a new one.  Besides, getting a new computer is a big ordeal for me (personal computer, not for work) and I don't even want to deal with that right now.

  • Cost.  I want to keep the cost of all of this pretty low, like around $400.  Even if I wanted to buy a new computer, it would cost a lot more than that.  Of course, I don't want to sacrifice quality either, so I won't be spending money on gimmicks.

  • I don't want an external hard drive or enclosure.  I just plain don't like them.  I can't even say that I have a good reason for not liking them, because I know they work perfectly fine.  First, I don't want another thing hanging off my computer.  Second, I feel much more secure having a hard drive plugged directly into the motherboard, there's something satisfying about all that.  I barely ever have the need to take my hard drive anywhere, so I don't need the portability.  Third, I've never liked USB and I don't have Firewire (nor do I want to buy an adapter), and I don't really like firewire either.  Having said all this, for a while, I was considering getting one of those enclosures that has all the connections on it, like, usb, firewire, and esata.  But, I decided against it.

  • I didn't want an image of my data or anything like RAID mirroring.  I simply wanted the files backed up on a separate drive.  That way, I can take that drive out of the computer and take it anywhere else, and those files will still be accessible without having to do anything else.  I struggled with this one for a while going back and forth between just backing up files, to imaging, to doing incremental backups with software, etc.  In the end, I just kept it simple.


Anyway, since I was very picky and indecisive, it took me forever to make up my mind.  I even started several threads here at DC asking about various things related to this, check them out:


OK, enough suspense, I will get on with the show!




Description
I have about 300 GB of data I want to have backed up.  They are currently stored on two separate hard drives (Western Digital 120 GB, and a 300 GB Seagate, both PATA, if you must know).  The 300 GB Seagate is the drive that replaced the 80 GB DeathStar I had previously (this is interesting for a reason which you'll find out later).  I keep all my storage files (music, documents, etc.) on the Seagate drive.  On the WD drive is my OS and some storage files on a separate partition, some of which eventually get moved to the Seagate (my methods are complicated).

I decided I needed a 500 GB drive to back everything up and still leave some room for future space.  However, I wasn't going to get just one drive, but rather, TWO new ones.  This is not for RAID or anything.  One drive I would leave in my computer that would back up my data regulary (weekly) and the other drive I would keep in a separate location (my parent's house) and that would get backed up monthly.  This system should be more or less foolproof.  The chances of all 3 locations being destroyed simultaneously is very slim (I hope I didn't just jinx myself!).  I say three locations because of:
  • The original data on the two old PATA drives.
  • Each new 500 GB will backup (mirror, in a sense) the above drives.  So, they are essentially the same.  Except one is in a physically different location.
  • That's 3 locations of identical data.  That's pretty good.

So, that's essentially the whole solution right there.  It's not terribly groundbreaking or anything, but few people do it this way.  Most people are either very commercial about it (RAID drives, tape backup, backup/imaging software) or very simplistic (external hard drive).  I find this to be a happy medium between the two.

>>Rambling Anectode Alert<<
Back to that guy at Fry's who called this "unique".  He was obviously a knowledgeable computer guy and he was trying to give me advice (not knowing that I had thought this through for months).  I was wondering out loud whether it was time for a new computer when I needed to get a SATA adapter for my motherboard, and I wanted SATA II, but those only came in PCI-Xpress cards, whereas my motherboard only had regular PCI slots.  The guy told me, "It's time, just do it".  Then he listened to what I was doing and he said to just get an external drive.  Then we went back and forth in what I would describe as a polite argument with some mild tension.  Eventually, he said, "Well, it seems like you've come up with a unique solution."  I mean, we talked about everything: my somewhat irrational dislike of USB/Firewire; how to transport/handle a drive between different physical locations; warranties of external drives vs. internal drives.  He was just trying to help, but I think it was a frustrating experience for him, and if he's reading this, I apologize.


What I Needed To Buy (in detail)
Hard Drives:
The most important item here is the hard drive to get.  But which one?  Oh, I struggled with this for a while.  As I asked around, everyone had vastly different opinions on which drives were better.  Bottom line is that it's ultimately a crap shoot; there is no right answer.  I decided that the most important consideration here by far was the drive's warranty.  How come?  Well, since my data is being backed up in 3 locations, I'm not really in danger of losing the data, so that takes reliability of of the equation.  You see, I'm not relying on the hard drive's quality, but instead I am relying on physical redundancy.  With reliability out of the way, that only leaves issues like warranty, temperature, noise level, speed, etc.  I only care about warranty, because I'm not doing anything too intense with the drive and I don't care about anything except my files.  With Seagate offering 5-year warranties on all their drives, that pretty much made up my mind.  Western Digital also has 5-year warranties on some of theirs, but Seagate is more available and offers it on ALL of their drives.  So, I waited for months for Seagate's 7200.10 500 GB drives to go on sale (tracking it using Website-Watcher).  They finally did at both Fry's (not really; see end of this article) and Newegg (with a $10 Ben's Bargains coupon), and I got them.
PICT0031_resize.JPGSuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)

SATA Adapter:
The other thing I needed was a PCI SATA adapter for my motherboard, since it wasn't SATA ready.  I got one at Fry's for about $30 (SIIG brand).  By the way, I found out that for PCI, only SATA I (1.5 GB/s) is available and not SATA II (3 GB/s).  No big deal.  Why didn't I get PATA?  Well, for one thing, if I'm going to get something new, I might as well get the most modern incarnation possible for future use.  Secondly, I heard you can hot-swap a SATA drive (actually, I'm too paranoid to remove/insert a hard drive while the computer is still on, but just in case I get over that, I hear it's possible).  Thirdly, I already have two PATA drives in my computer, along with two DVD drives and you can only have a maximum of 4 IDE devices.  I don't need both DVD drives (a burner and an older reader) so I will take one of them out anyway to free up a 5-1/4" slot.  Most of all, I hate that big-ass PATA cable.  nv_tasmy.jpgSuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)

Removable Hard Drive Bay:
The next thing I got was the icing on the cake; the i-Rack QuickSwap SATA drive mount, from CoolDrives (made by CoolGear).  This thing is so cool.  You can basically slip your bare drive in and out as if it were a floppy disk!  I love that so much.  No more tray's or whatever other mobile racks use.  Check it out:
mobilerack.gif

Synchronization Software:
The last thing I needed was a program to synchronize my files (remember, NOT backup or image, just synchronize).  The best tool for this is DirSync.  I discovered DirSync right here at DC; zridling is pretty big on it as a synchronization tool.  It's highly configurable and according to zridling, very accurate.
dirsync_main_800.gifSuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)

So that's it.  The whole thing cost me under $400.  It's not cheap, but my data is worth much, much more than that to me.  Also, any other solution as robust as this would cost significantly more (tape backup, RAID array).  And always remember, "RAID is not an alternative to backing up!"  I still don't understand why people say that.  If anyone can explain it, I'd appreciate it.

Here's a summary:
Two Seagate SATA 500 GB hard drives$290 ($145 x 2)
PCI SATA I adapter$30
i-Rack QuickSwap$40 ($30 + $10 shipping)
DirSync software$25
TOTAL
$385



Installation and Subsequent Issues
So, now that I have all the hardware I need, installation should be a breeze, right?  Normally, this would be the case, but what an ordeal this turned out to be.

First thing I had to do was remove my old DVD reader to free up a 5-1/4" slot, since I now have a DVD burner.  That was easy enough, and it was also very easy to install the i-Rack Quickswap Bay into the slot.  Then I used up the very last PCI slot remaining in my computer (another sign that I may need a new computer soon!) for the SATA adapter.  I connected the SATA bay to the adapter, and I was ready to go.  Next, I opened one of the Seagate drives from it's retail kit package and slid it into the new bay.  I was now ready to start backing up my data.

PICT0029_resize.JPGSuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution) PICT0030_resize.JPGSuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution) PICT0032_resize.JPGSuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
PICT0038_resize.JPGSuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution) PICT0037_resize.JPGSuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution) PICT0039_resize.JPGSuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)

I started Windows and everything was fine (it takes a little longer to boot while the SATA adpater does something).  I formatted the drive with NTFS using Windows default administration tools.  I set up DirSync to transfer the information over and after double-checking several times, I started the process.  It took a while (a few hours?) but when it was done, it was all very good.  I checked to see if the data was properly backed up and everything.  I was happy, and took a couple of hours off for good behavior.  I came back to the computer to do some other stuff, was browsing the internet, and, BAM, everything freezes on the screen.  I couldn't do anything, I couldn't even reboot or type, move the mouse...nothing.  I thought, "No big deal, the computer just crashed."  When I restarted, the BIOS would not recognize my old Seagate 300 GB storage drive.  It was gone.  That was a disaster.  I was so freaked out and devastated that I had to go on my bed and just lie down for a minute.  You see, I had forgotten that I had just backed up all the data only hours before!  It took me a few minutes to remember that fact, but when I did, I was relieved a little.  However, now, I was on pins and needles because my data was still only in one location on the new Seagate.  Just to be safe, I pulled the drive out and was not intending to use it again until I receive the replacement drive from Seagate.  THAT'S WHY YOU WANT THE 5-YEAR WARRANTY; THAT OLD DRIVE WAS COVERED UNTIL 2010!

But, it got a little worse.  When I pulled out the new Seagate I had bought, I noticed on the label that it was of the 7200.9 line.  Well, now I was really pissed because I wanted the newest 7200.10 line with the perpendicular recording.  Not only that, but I remember hearing about problems with the 7200.9 line.  I wanted to return both drives, but I couldn't because one of them had the only copy of my life's data!  So, I returned one of them and kept the other one.  Then, I bought the 7200.10 from Newegg, and it arrived in 2 days!

I sent the dead drive to Seagate (it cost me about $10).  About 3 weeks later, I received the replacement drive from Seagate.  3 weeks is a long time to wait (especially when you're anxious), but it's not so bad, so I commend Seagate on that.  I don't know if the hard drive I got back was refurbished, but I checked the warranty and it's still until 2010 (like the original drive) so I'm happy.  The old hard drive that I sent to them was the 7200.8 line and the new one I got back is a 7200.10.
PICT0040_resize.JPGSuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)     PICT0041r.jpgSuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)


Now that I had a complete set of healthy drives, I got back to synchronizing the drives.  I used DirSync to not only synchronize the two new hard drives, but I also used it to reverse synchronize the replaced hard drive with the original data.  So, I've only had this "solution" in place for a couple of weeks, and I've already had to do a complete backup/restore process.  I would say that it's paid off already!  I count myself extremely fortunate that the data got backed up in time.  It was really very foolish of me to wait for so long without having some kind of backup solution in place.



So, there's my story.  I hope it helps all of you reading this.  For anyone that has any kind of irreplaceable, personal data on their computer, you absolutely MUST be backing it up.  Remember, it's all fine and easy when you only have a few megabytes or gigabytes of data, and it fits on a CD/DVD.  The effort level is much higher when you're talking about backing up entire hard drives, and that's where most people will lose the motivation to backup.  Think about how much it's worth to you.    For me, it's worth way more than the $400 I put into it.  I'm still devastated by the IBM drive that died on me in 2005, what I call the "Crash of '04".  In the words of Juvenile, "Back that Azz Up".



LAter,
SuperboyAC
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Random Ranting
  • One thing I learned about Seagate's new 7200.10 drives (the ones that have perpendicular recording technology) is that you can't buy any of them in a retail box at the store, except for the 750 GB model.  That's why the one I got from Fry's was a 7200.9 model.  The worst part of all this is that nowhere on the box can you tell which line of drives you have.  Seagate should really write that clearly somewhere on the box.  Of course, for the astute observer, if you recognize the long model number on the Fry's sticker, that might help.

  • I kept one of the 7200.9 drives, so I have one of each.  Man, that 7200.9 drive has a pretty loud seek noise.  I think I will use that one as my monthly backup, so I won't have to listen to it.  I really don't care that much about the noise, but I know some people do, and I wanted to point out that the 7200.10 model was quieter.

    While I'm talking about Seagate's line of drives, let me mention a recent experience of mine.  A few weeks ago, I was in las Vegas for a convention (business) and one of the booths there was Seagate.  Since all this stuff was fresh on my mind at the time, I had a nice, long chat with the rep there.  I told him that I had heard that people were complaining about the 7200.10 and 7200.9 line running hot and being loud.  I also asked him for recommendations for drives that just store data files (like music, video, documents, etc.) and don't necessarily need to be super speedy or anything.  He said that Seagate has a line of drives tagged 7200.2 and 7200.3 that are the equivalents of the 7200.9 and 7200.10, respectively.  They are designed for exactly what I was saying; to run cooler, quieter, and not necessarily as fast.  He said they are primarily for DVR applications, which would also include audio files.  They have an 8 MB cache instead of 16 MB (I don't completely understand what the cache is for, but I know it has to do with speed...mostly the kind of speed that probably doesn't concern my use).  You won't find these drives in any of your stores, nor is it even talked about around the internet much at all.  Seagate doesn't even explicitly market them.  They are used a lot in stuff like Tivo boxes from what I understand.  You can buy it from a couple of vendors online, but none of the major ones.  I asked him what was the deal with the numbering system of the drive line (you would assume 7200.2 is much older than 7200.10, but it's not the case).  He agreed and told me that there were some internal issues regarding that among the different Seagate divisions, and his people don't use those numbers when referring to those drives, and simply call them the "DB35" models because that is the model name.  I thought this was all very interesting, but then again, I'm a geek!  The reason why I'm explaining all of this is because most of this information is not anywhere else on the internet, so I wanted to at least have it on record for anyone who might be wondering.  You have to admit, it's pretty confusing if you don't know the whole story.

  • When I pulled out the dead Seagate after it died on me, it was pretty dang hot.  I try to do what I can do keep my drives cool, but I know I can do better.  Just FYI, the operating temperature on these drives is listed up to 70 degrees Celsius, which is pretty freakin hot, so it's nothing out of the ordinary.  Also, transferring 300 GB and sustaining that heat for that long may not be that good of an idea.  But, again, it's not like I was doing something the drive wasn't designed for.

  • When I was still considering an external enclosure solution, I wanted one that had every possible connection on it; firewire, usb, eSata, etc.  There weren't that many, but here's a pretty cool one I found:
    USB, Firewire 400, Firewire 800, eSATA...$110 (eek!)

  • Like I said before, everyone has had vastly different experiences with hard drives, as far as them dying.  I'm absolutely convinced that no one is better than the other, it's just that some people have randomly had better luck with some companies than others.  Of all the drives I've owned, here are my experiences:
    I've had 2 Western Digital drives, both of them have never died, and lasted for years.  My current OS drive is an old 120 GB WD drive.  I had a Maxtor that died on me within 6 months in 1999 when I was in college (you can see a picture of that computer in the picture at the end of this article).  I have since had a bad taste in my mouth for Maxtor and haven't bought one since (although they are now part of Seagate, ironically).  And there's that IBM Desk Star which I've already mentioned.  Even though they have since been acquired by Hitachi and the quality is supposedly much better, I still can't get over it.  Of course, now, all I care about is the 5-year warranty, so if Hitachi can match or beat that, I would think again.

  • I love that i-Rack QuickSwap bay, but I have a couple of minor complaints with it.  Like most of these mobile drive bays, there's a lock on the door to lock the door.  On this thing, when the hard drive is inside, it's such a tight fit that you have to push the door in with one hand to turn the lock to the locked position.  Otherwise, the lock won't turn.  It shouldn't be that way.  Also, the outside casing of the rack is made of plastic, and, naturally, I'd prefer a cool metal like aluminum.  Other that that, there's no real complaints with the thing.

  • I recommend to everyone to keep the boxes that your hard drives come in, in case you have to return it.  Seagate is VERY picky about how you send them your hard drive for an RMA.  They have a long pdf document telling you how to package it.  Fortunately, I had the old retail box, so I just sent it back in that.  Otherwise, I would have had to go to the store and buy a clamshell box, or some foam and stuff, which would increase the overall cost and hassle.  Just a little helpful advice to you hard drive owners in case you're the type to throw out boxes packages come in.

  • <Shameless Plug!>
    For over two years, my good friend and I have been wanting to start a jazz organ trio.  Well, we finally found a guitar player and put something together.  Some of you may remember my cheesy organ tunes on the DC podcasts, so here is the real thing.  Please check it out!




Am I the only one...
...who recorded gas in college?  C'mon, I know some of you did this also.  Don't leave me hangin'!



DCP_0147r.jpg

Greatest Hits (volume I and II) available upon request.  For very special DC members, I might even open the vault and offer an unreleased version of a remix of Carly Simon's "Nobody Does it Better".  This may sound like a big joke, but, sadly, I'm serious.

« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 02:12:01 AM by superboyac »

mouser

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2007, 02:07:39 AM »
another great blog - my backup solution is pretty similar, except i also bought a cheap external usb drive and put a rack INSIDE that.  you could do the same with an additional quickswap bay if you wanted..

 :Thmbsup:

mouser

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2007, 02:09:22 AM »
how do we order the record!!

urlwolf

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2007, 07:23:30 AM »
Quote
how do we order the record!!
I like the hammond sound, and the guitar is very good too!

urlwolf

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2007, 07:24:02 AM »
SuperboyAC, Can you recommend some CDs of jazz organ trios as well?

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2007, 09:25:15 AM »
Great post.  I'll comment on the RAID not being a backup.  The main point for most home users is that you can't recover accidently deleted or corrupted files from RAID (luck with undelete/recovery utilities notwithstanding).

For us in-shop, RAID became too problematic as you multiply your failure points.  Typical motherboard on-board RAID controllers might be good for joining a couple of disks and giving some illusions of performance gain, but for actual RAID member recovery they are really weak.  Even high-end commercial RAID enclosures have issues as they get older.  We've had a few that have dropped another member drive while restoring a newly added replacement drive and ended up losing arrays.  Restoration is really taxing on drives.  Now we only use RAID for performance and large data volume.  It's not even a consideration in our backup regime other than the fact that setting it up for parity and hotspares might save us from downtime.

superboyac

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2007, 11:58:33 AM »
how do we order the record!!
No record yet.  But when we do, it's yours, compliments of the house.  You can download the track off of the site anyway.

SuperboyAC, Can you recommend some CDs of jazz organ trios as well?
There are so many.  Just about anything from Jimmy Smith would be pretty good (assuming you don't get any of his weird stuff).  Our band is named after his album titled "Root Down".

Tony Monaco has excellent albums, two of my favorites being "Fiery Blues" and "East to West".

If you like tenor sax with the the organ trio, check out Hank Crawford and Jimmy McGriff in "Right Turn on Blue".  And of course there's the legendary Houston Person, who I had the great pleasure of becoming friends with recently.  He has a couple of nice organ sessions with a budding, 19-year-old Joey DeFrancesco on "The Party!" and "Why Not".

superboyac

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2007, 11:59:41 AM »
Great post.  I'll comment on the RAID not being a backup.  The main point for most home users is that you can't recover accidently deleted or corrupted files from RAID (luck with undelete/recovery utilities notwithstanding).

For us in-shop, RAID became too problematic as you multiply your failure points.  Typical motherboard on-board RAID controllers might be good for joining a couple of disks and giving some illusions of performance gain, but for actual RAID member recovery they are really weak.  Even high-end commercial RAID enclosures have issues as they get older.  We've had a few that have dropped another member drive while restoring a newly added replacement drive and ended up losing arrays.  Restoration is really taxing on drives.  Now we only use RAID for performance and large data volume.  It's not even a consideration in our backup regime other than the fact that setting it up for parity and hotspares might save us from downtime.
Thanks, I think that helps explain it. 

Tekzel

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2007, 04:43:06 PM »

Thanks, I think that helps explain it. 

Here, let me take a stab at it too.  While a raid MIRROR can be used as a backup RAID configurations of any flavor can only help you versus one type of failure: physical.  It can't save you from data corruption or your own error.  Any corruption or user modifications will be propagated to the mirror or other drives in the array.

My backup is just an external USB2 drive and Acronis TrueImage 10.  I have a folder on the drive set up as a backup location with 1 full image and 4 incrementals in a set, then it repeats with a full image again.  I have it set to keep 10 total backups, so it keeps 2 sets (weekdays only).  That gives me the ability to recover from a full hard drive failure or recover up to two weeks back  from my own stupidity (something deleted I shouldn't have, or screwed up by me) or through something else going wrong to the file system, etc.  RAID can't help you if you accidently delete a file and don't catch it for a few days (so undelete is unlikely), but a backup rotation can.

mouser

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2007, 08:40:52 PM »
Quote
That gives me the ability to recover from a full hard drive failure or recover up to two weeks back  from my own stupidity (something deleted I shouldn't have, or screwed up by me)

This is a really important point and it's why i stress so much the need for a versioning update system as i dicussed in my old power-user backup article: http://www.donationc...ckUpGuide/index.html

The thing to remember is that if all you are ever doing is making a full backup of your system, and you only keep one copy, then you can become your own worst enemy, because the more frequently you re-backup, the more frequently you are permanently making unrecoverable any older file you accidentally deleted or corrupted without realizing it.

You need to have some backup regime that allows you to say "oops! i just realized i overwrote my novel with a shopping list last week", and then be able to get the week (or month) old copy back.  That's why i favor both a full-image backup procedure, AND an independent backup system which makes versioned preserved backups of my key working documents.

Darwin

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2007, 09:02:50 PM »
I'm going to be doing this myself. I have an 80 GB HD that I am upgrading to 120 GB. I made the foolish mistake of first trying to upgrade to a 100GB 7200 rpm drive at a fantastic, open box price. Unfortunately, it's a SATA drive and my notebook is IDE :-[. Being open box, I can't return it! So, I now have a SATA enclosure and the 120GB drive on their way... I intend to turn my stupidity into a... what? Silver lining? Anyway, I'm going to place the 80 GB and the 120 GB drives in USB enclosures and use Acronis True Image to keep backups on a schedule like Superboyac's (ie regular backups to the 120 GB drive and less frequent ones to the 80 GB). I'm *tempted* to cover myself further by keeping the 80 GB drive *as is* and just update the My Documents folder occasionally. I've got two 40's, a 32 and a 20 in enclosures already that I can use to backup my Windows partition and use the bigger drives for uncompressed backup of My Documents... Decisions, decisions, decisions. Ain't life grand?!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 09:13:19 PM by Darwin »

superboyac

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2007, 12:10:01 AM »
This is a really important point and it's why i stress so much the need for a versioning update system as i dicussed in my old power-user backup article: http://www.donationc...ckUpGuide/index.html

The thing to remember is that if all you are ever doing is making a full backup of your system, and you only keep one copy, then you can become your own worst enemy, because the more frequently you re-backup, the more frequently you are permanently making unrecoverable any older file you accidentally deleted or corrupted without realizing it.

You need to have some backup regime that allows you to say "oops! i just realized i overwrote my novel with a shopping list last week", and then be able to get the week (or month) old copy back.  That's why i favor both a full-image backup procedure, AND an independent backup system which makes versioned preserved backups of my key working documents.

Whoa!  I didn't realize you had already written an article on backing up.  Very nice!  Actually, now you have me worried because I never thought of doing incremental backups.  I don't think it would be practical for me to do it on the bulk of my files which are audio files, some of them are quite large depending on how I recorded and stored them (uncut tracks, etc.).  Besides, once I save these files, they won't change.

But with my documents and stuff, I can see doing this.  Actually, I think I will because it's important.    Hmm...so many more things to think about.

johnfdeluca

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2007, 09:53:00 AM »
Excellent Blog....thanks.  I'm an external drive back-up person so I thought I'd make a couple points regarding that:

I also did not want a thing hanging off my computer (especially since I have a laptop) so I opted instead of a firewire or USB drive, I chose a network attached external drive.  This works great as it sits in the room where my router is and connects to my network via ethernet.  It also allows all my computers to back up to it since it's on the network.  The drive enclosure I chose was Synology Diskstation DS-106e http://www.synology....S106serise/index.php which I chose after a lot of thought and research.....it seemed to be the best rated and most versatile system, and has never disappointed me yet....but that's another post.  So I think an external solution is an option even with your pet peeves about them.

As far as backup software goes.....the Diskstation comes with some excellent backup software which I don't use only because I already am experienced with, IBM's Tivoli Continuous Data Protection http://www-306.ibm.c...ous-data-protection/.  Note:  I DO work for IBM, so I get this software for free vs the $36 USD normal price.  If I had to pay for the Tivoli software, I'd likely just use the free software that came with my Diskstation....not because Tivoli software is lacking.....my impression is it is top notch but I am just cheap and typically lean towards freeware if available.  Be it Tivoli or Diskstation software....they both use the same approach....a real time data copy based on a set of rules.  So I tell it what files to copy (be it filename matches, filetype matches or folder matches) and as soon as I save a file which meets the criteria, it copies it to a backup.  It also can save multiple versions and target files require no special software to open.....meaning the files are not imaged but real file copies.  I prefer this real-time backup as opposed to a scheduled backup simply due to the fact that I know should drive failure or corruption occur in the orig, my backup version is not limited to the last time I ran a backup....it's always backing up.  Again, I could write a whole review/post on just this software but again, I do work for the company that makes it, and it is not free.

So my backup solution has been around for roughly a year and although I haven't had a hard drive failure, I have often needed to go to the back up.  The fact that I don't need any restore process is a blessing....I just goto the backup (which is a network drive in "My Computer") and copy the backed up file to my laptop.  The most common reason I've needed to go to the backup is to get an "old" version of a file....because I've screwed up my current one with bad edits.

If you are interested in Diskstation, check out reviews....I'm not sure if it's still the "top pick" in reviews as when I purchased it.  Here's one review at:

http://www.pcauthori...iew.aspx?CIaRID=4858

Darwin

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2007, 11:56:17 AM »
Thanks for posting that, John. Definitely food for thought. Being of Yorkshire/Scottish descent I want to make use of all of my old 2.5" harddrives, so opt for the USB enclosure route. However, buying a 500+GB 3.5" drive and networking it would be a good investment for me (once I've recovered from the shock of buying not one but two 100+ GB notebook harddrives  :o) because I can set my wife's notebook to back up to the network drive automatically. It would also provide a third level of safety...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Defenestration

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2007, 06:38:25 PM »
Thanks John! Very interesting piece of software, IBM's Tivoli, and one that I had heard nothing about until now.  :Thmbsup:

I am about to buy a second internal drive so I can run in RAID 1 but this software may change all that (if it works as good as it sounds), with the added benefit of the new drive still being available for other/extra storage :)

On the surface, it appears to be the ideal solution to the data backup problem:

1) It only backs up the files you specify (and not all data).
2) Multiple targets can be chosen for the backup.
3) Uniquely (I think), it backs up immediately after a copy operation is completed (instead of only on a scheduled basis).

Are there any other products like Tivoli on the market ?

PS. Just about to give this Tivoli a trial run.

Defenestration

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2007, 06:58:58 PM »
BTW, any chance of us DC members getting a discount on Tivoli ?  :)

Armando

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Re: SuperboyAC's DC blog #3 (My Unique Data Backup Solution)
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2007, 05:50:45 PM »
@ superboyac:

Interesting indeed.

You probably remember that I've come up with a similar solution (http://www.donationc...dex.php?topic=1999.0). Mine might be a bit more complicated as I do incremental backups at least everyday on 2 different HDs (and sometimes many times a day on my thumbdrive)  -- I must say that it's not exactly the typical "incremental backup" because I work with SyncBackSE (my increments copies of the last files modified since the last incremental backup -- zipped). But it works, and it works really well : I've had to recover files 3 times because of BSODs (and other weird accidents) this month, and it was just a matter of minutes. You could probably achieve the same results with any capable (and maybe .... faster...) software solution -- like Super Flexible File Synchronizer. The incremental strategy might be a bit different though.

Having multiple copies of a file is absolutely essential in a backup solution. You never know what's going to happen. You could be working for three weeks, and only then realize that an important file you haven't recently opened is corrupted... Or you could realize that a part in a paper you’re working on everyday is... missing (accidentally erased, for ex.).

As for your files being huge music files -- and you probably are aware of that more than I am -- there are ways to copy only the modified portion of files in some backup (or sync) solutions. Super Flexible File Synchronizer offers that -- I've posted about that on the thread concerning Delta Backup and other related stuff.

@johnfdeluca :

I'm about to do the same thing : use a "network attached external drive." So that I can easily share the backup drive with my girlfriend -- we're both using laptops.




« Last Edit: May 27, 2007, 06:59:27 PM by Armando »