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 PostPost subject: The importance of backups        Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:16 pm 
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Hello all,

I'd like to follow up mrpijeys recent loss with a small article about backups, and what you can do to minimise the risk of the same loss mrpijey suffered yesterday.

The first thing I'd like to say is this: You can never have enough backups. No matter what anyone says, this is a fact. Now when I say this I don't mean go stupid and back up everything every 10 minutes, but what I mean is you can never keep enough backups on different sources.

To try and help you understand, I'm going to explain how my backups currently work.

BetaArchive Backups:
1. Using rsync, the BetaArchive HTTP server backs up incrementally to my house. Hourly for databases/e-mail, every 12 hours for all other website data. I receive an e-mail notification every hour when the backups complete, or fail, so I know their status.
2. My home server uses Norton Ghost to make an image of a 500GB hard disk that data is copied to. This is stored on a physically separate 500GB hard disk.
3. Norton Ghost creates a single base backup (full disk image) daily, and 23 hourly incremental backups. It keeps 7 days worth of archives of these images on the 2nd 500GB hard disk which is my backup drive.
4. I receive e-mail notification every hour when the backups complete, or fail, so I know their status.

Documents Backups:
1. Using Norton Ghost, I make an image of the data drive every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I don't make a lot of changes on that drive really to warrant any more often. This is a full base backup to the 500GB backup hard disk, no incremental backups are used.
2. Norton Ghost keeps 3 images for the archive.

Server Boot Drive:
1. Using Norton Ghost, I make an image of the drive every day. This is a full base backup to the 500GB backup hard disk, no incremental backups are used.
2. Norton Ghost keeps 7 images for the archive.

All of the backups occasionally get the most recent archived image copied to my desktop PC for extra redundancy. They only total about 60GB when copying one image from each backup, and I have 660GB storage on this PC so its very little space really.

All data I have gets stored to the server rather than the PC I'm using, that makes it easier for central usage from any of my PC's. It also means they automatically get backed up as well.

Now, due to space limitations, I don't backup my media drive, or my beta drive. This means if my media drive fails, I lose all 830GB of media files. For the betas, its not so bad as I can simply download them from the BA server again. Although not ideal, it would cost to much to have a backup for these two drives. Perhaps when I get some more money I can eventually do this, like mrpijey, but until then I run the risk of losing that data.

I've focused on backing up data I really cannot afford to lose, rather than data that can be replaced such as the media and beta files. However if you want to backup everything, it will be costly. Also, make sure the drives can be disconnected easily so you avoid the catastrophe that mrpijey suffered with the OS corrupting the data. Power up the backup drives only when performing a backup, then take them offline. That will ensure the OS can't touch the data or accidentally corrupt it.

Quick Summary:
- Backup important files regularly.
- Backup to physically different media, never backup to another partition on the same disk.
- Keep archives of the data if you have the space to, you never know when you'll need something you deleted several days ago from the backup.
- Make a copy of a latest archived image to a disk in another computer now and again if you have the space.
- Try to backup to a disk that can be disconnected easily, and take it offline when you're not performing backups. This will avoid the same data corruption mrpijey suffered if the OS has a fit.

I hope this helps some of you understand the importance of backups. Everyone at some point has thought "I've never lost any data, thats why I don't backup". It will happen to you one day, and it will hit you hard. Backup now and avoid the tears it will cause.

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 PostPost subject: Re: The importance of backups        Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:21 pm 
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 PostPost subject: Re: The importance of backups        Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:34 pm 
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I have had problems with backups before. Some of them I couldn't even backup because it was too late. I lost my whole entire summer's worth of pictures from greece, and from anywhere. I lost pictures from and iMac Drive that couldn't stay alive anymore, I've lost game info from the SNES Emulator for windows, I've lost my 320 GB HD once, I've lost my 80 GB, and I even lost my 120 GB HD. I wish I had those back, but I know for sure that won't happen. :cry:

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 PostPost subject: Re: The importance of backups        Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:16 pm 
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That should have not happened if you use a backup solution that verified each file before and after writing. Then you can make sure that the backup went OK and that it didn't delete anything it wasn't supposed to.

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 PostPost subject: Re: The importance of backups        Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:46 am 
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Before, i never backed up and BOOM 2TB of data gone POOF :cry:
Even some rare :beta: s from the "good 'ol days" (Microsoft days)

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