Off Site Backup Idea

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by arj8138, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. arj8138 macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Pennsylvania, United States
    *Sorry if this is in the wrong thread*

    I have just made the switch from my 3.5yr old PowerBook so a shiny new 24in iMac. In the process, I backed up my drive manually to an external drive, and everything is fine, no problems.

    All of this has gotten me thinking about offsite backup tho.

    Currently I have made a backup to my FTP. I have 120gigs available b/c of my website. Since I have a decent DSL connection it only took 24hours to upload 6gigs of data... woo hoo right.

    I made DVD back ups for a while and was keeping them in a fire proof box, but a DVD is only 4.7gigs, so if I have uncompressed video projects there is no way they are fitting on a DVD. Plus burned media can be messed up by temperature / storage conditions within five years.

    I realize that this isnt really feasible in long term, so my new idea is to get an external drive, cheap and ugly, and keep it in a banks safety deposit box area.

    Good idea? Bad idea? Problems that could arise?

    Thanks in advance
  2. paduck macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    there is nothing wrong with this idea. In fact, for many people, this is a very good option. If you have a relative in town, you can leave the drive with them. Other people put the drive in a drawer at the office.

    The only down side is the hassle of swapping out external drives periodically with updates so that you are vaguely current with your safety deposit.
  3. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Agreed- the safety deposit box may be a little extreme (due to the relative inconvenience of going to get it on a regular basis), but the idea of having a complete second set of hard drives stored offsite is sound. I do that with 3Tb worth of backup, but I just walk them next door to a neighbor's once a week, swap them the set they are holding and then update that set when I get back.

    The company I work for actually has three sets of backups- one for immediate access, one set in a fireproof built in safe and a third set that rotates out to a data storage company for secure offsite storage, so multiple sets are not uncommon.
  4. arj8138 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Pennsylvania, United States
    I would be comfortable with updating a back up once every month, seeing as I really do not have a routine back up as-is.

    My question about keeping one in a fireproof safe is that wouldn't the fire just melt what is in side. Im sure DVDs and even hard drives are NOT meant for extreme heat, so unlike paper, the temperature would be a problem, not the actual flames?!
  5. paduck macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    I think that you are assuming too much risk by keeping them physically in the same location. Fire is, of course, an extreme situation, but so is a major natural disaster or theft. Having something off-site significantly mitigates the risk you are assuming.

    Having said that, the major risk you assume isn't fire, theft, or natural disaster, but simple failure of your existing hardware. While the others are certainly risks, they are considerable less likely than the strong possibility of hardware failure (due to equipment going bad, user error, power failure, children, etc.).
  6. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    Personally, I like the FTP idea. After you've done the first backup, incremental backups should be relatively quick, unless you're shooting a new movie every week. FTP to your Web host once a week. Set it to run before you go to bed, and it should be done when you wake up in the morning.

    There are several FTP programs out there that will compare files and only upload changes.
  7. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    There are also commercial back up options available for a price.

    Jungle disk for example. Costs can be expensive if you store a lot. On the flip side, they ensure that your backup is secure and save it in their network at various places. Eliminates the need to run an FTP server.

    In the past, I have used the HD swap system and keep the back up at the office. Works well as long as you remember to do it.

    The problem with all back up systems, is the level that you need. For example can you go a week, or a month, without backing up new information? Personally, I do weekly backups.
  8. paduck macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    There are a couple of downsides to the FTP solution. First is identifying the online storage. Usually this is solved because of web space or a commercial storage vendor. The other problem is that you might start running afoul of your Internet providers usage limits. Perhaps not "officially" since they all like to claim you have unlimited us, but if you have a 2mbit line, to initial backup of 100GB would take something like a week to accomplish. The companies are going to get annoyed at you saturating the upstream bandwidth. And, on a residential connection, perhaps they should. Your neighbors in the cable HSI world certainly will! Then there is simply the issue of how long do you want your computer backing itself up and your various providers availability given the relatively slow connection most people have (compared with USB or even 100Base-T to a NAS.

    The point about once the initial backup is complete that future backups will be much quicker is very valid, but you will still be talking a lot of bandwidth where the alternatives might be more desirable. I think that the original point about taking a hard drive off-site is a good one. Perhaps if you could do your initial backup locally and then stream the incremental update across the Internet to that drive? That will probably require a level of sophistication beyond that of normal (or even most advanced) users though.

    I don't want to really distract into a discussion about the merits of how much bandwidth you should be allowed to use from your HSI connection. I'm relatively libertarian on that. For the purposes of this discussion, the bottomline point is that backing up ALL your data over your Internet connection might be unreasonable because of the time involved in sending all the data upstream compared with a local disk-based (Firewire, USB or NAS) solution.

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