Backups, Backups, Backups

This is a public service announcement

This past Friday I was sitting at my desk working, when suddenly I found myself staring at a lovely blue screen of death.  When I powered the machine back on I heard the tell tale click of a hard drive that died.  The good news is my data is all backed up, so beyond the downtime until a new hard drive arrived, and the frustration of having to rebuild the machine (I did have an image of the machine from when I first got it, but after restoring it failed to boot, so I did have to manually install Windows), losing the hard drive was not a big deal.

My personal backup system is made of up a few components

1. Carbonite – drop dead simple and easy to use as once you have it set up you don’t actually have to do anything other then have your computer connected to the internet.  I have looked at their competition, Carbonite is the only one to offer a flat fee for unlimited storage.  With remote file access, and an iPhone app you get access to your files anywhere.  

This is actually the second time I have recovered my system from my Carbonite backup.

2. Dropbox – I use the free version which gives me about 3GB of storage.  I mainly use Dropbox to keep certain files on both my laptop and netbook, and to share folders with others.  Dropbox also offers remote file access and an iPhone app, but for the amount of data I am backing up would cost me approximately $185.00 more a year then Carbonite. (A word of caution if you decide to use both Carbonite and Dropbox on the same machine, do NOT put your Dropbox folder within a folder being backed up by Carbonite, Windows Explorer was not at all amused when I tried that!)

3. Lotus Notes –  while most of the Notes databases I use on a regular basis are local, they are all ultimately hosted on servers that are backed up.  With background replication scheduled and running throughout the day this is as effortless as backing up can be.  Bringing back my Notes Databases takes no time at all with zero loss of data.  

Here are three great rules for backups from an article that caught my eye on Monday Yes. Another Backup Lecture

  • If it’s not automated, it’s not a real backup.
  • If it’s not redundant, it’s not a real backup.
  • If it’s not regularly rotated off-site, it’s not a real backup.

So how do you back up your data? If your answer is “I don’t” drop whatever it is you are doing and go figure out a backup strategy, one day you will be glad you did!

6 Responses to Backups, Backups, Backups
  1. Lars Berntrop-Bos
    March 17, 2010 | 9:26 am

    What do you think of WSUS Offline: { Link }

  2. Hynek Kobelka
    March 17, 2010 | 10:14 am

    for my laptop i use DeltaCopy (a Windows-client for RSync) to daily sync all my data to our Archive-server.
    Its not perfect, but the RSync-algorythm is awesome in transfering even huge files which have changed only “a little”. (Which i need because i work with many VMs on my laptop, which i need to backup completly.)

  3. MWCawley
    March 17, 2010 | 3:27 pm

    I use Windows Live Sync rather than Dropbox. It’s free, no data is stored on MS servers and it has public folder sharing. Carbonite has no issue backing up the shared folders.

  4. Brian Benson
    March 19, 2010 | 4:03 pm

    I use Carbonite too and recently realized that my most files were not being backed up. I checked further and was able to determine that it was continuously trying to back up a small text file and couldn’t get past it. I fixed the problem by creating a new copy of the file and everything started working again.

    I guess my point is that even automated backups can fail and you need to take a look at them from time to time.

  5. Joseph Hoetzl
    March 23, 2010 | 9:09 am

    “Carbonite is the only one to offer a flat fee for unlimited storage”

    Mozy also has an unlimited account – and it works well Emoticon

  6. Chris Pepin
    April 13, 2010 | 10:56 pm

    I agree that Carbonite is a great service. However, like Brian, I also had a problem with Carbonite getting “stuck” on a file and won’t continue. I was able to solve it by removing the directory from the backup and then re-adding it.