Which method do you use to Backup files?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by glennyboiwpg, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. glennyboiwpg macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2007
    Hello All,

    I'm not sure if this is the right foarm to post this but none of the others seemed to fit either.

    So which method for long term backup do you guys prefer? I'm not talking about your everyday backup, i'm talking about burning a copy of those favorite family vacation photos/videos on to a 'backup' and putting it into a cool dark place so then in 3 years when your computer's HD fails you still have a copy. (in other words, no "just use time machine" or "just use time capsule")

    Do you guys use an external bluRay burner and burn things to bluRay?

    Do you guys buy those bargin external hard drives? If so, do you just keep buying them and buying them as time goes on and you have more and more data to back up?

    Or do you just say screw it, i'm going to just bite the bullet and just keep using dvd as my backup medium? (as painful as that would be when you have 1.75 TB to backup)

  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Do you guys use an external bluRay burner and burn things to bluRay?
    Do you guys buy those bargin external hard drives? If so, do you just keep buying them and buying them as time goes on and you have more and more data to back up?"

    My thoughts...

    Burn BluRay or DVD discs -- but with the understanding that data "burned" to optical media can and does become corrupted over time, even when stored carefully.

    For that reason, don't buy cheap media if long-term storage is your priority. Pay a little more for good media.

    Also, don't just burn a single copy. Burn AT LEAST TWO COPIES (three is better). This increases your "odds of survival".

    BUT, don't just commit your data to optical media.

    Get at least two hard drives and use them for archival and storage purposes.

    For handling two or more drives, you might consider something like this:

    Makes it easy to swap drives around. Then just store the bare drives carefully.

    If you really "need speed", OWC sells a SATA dock with USB2, Firewire800+400, and even eSATA (check for their "Voyager Quad" line).

    By "spreading your data" across both optical and magnetic storage formats, you have an excellent chance that in a moment of need, at least one vector of data storage will come through for you....
  3. mdatwood macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2010
    Denver, CO
    As the poster above mentioned, optical media is really a no go. It will fail randomly. I use a couple different methods depending on files types.

    For pictures I have a paid google storage account. You get tons of space for very little cost per year. I hope google eventually expands it to all types of files.

    For other important files I use Dropbox.

    For source code (how I make my living) I use github.

    All of the above are also on an external TM in case I accidentally delete something.

    My setup isn't perfect, but for the cost I'm mostly covered. My worst case scenario would be to have my laptop and TM drive destroyed in a fire. It's a risk I accept since my laptop is with me a majority of the time and all I would lose is my time (re-ripping all my music would suck, but can be done).
  4. Mav3067 macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2009
    Flash Media

    Does anyone have any information about the reliability of flash media for this purpose? I was thinking that I would get a few 64GB SD cards (one for pictures, one for home video, one for important docs) and store them in my fire proof safe. As far as music goes I think that I would likely just claim insurance in the case of a major disaster (i.e. house fire). I have all my iTunes receipts stored in my email account and have never had a problem claiming physical CD's. Any thoughts on this?
  5. glennyboiwpg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2007
    hmmm There is something I just don't like about backing up my pictures onto online storage. Its probably silly but I don't like giving my intellectual property to someone else.

    In terms of flash media, if all you need is a few hundred gigs and you don't mind spending the money on 64 gig cards its probably not a bad idea... but I have 1.75 tb I want to go through. Although alot of that would be deleted as I to through stuff and decide that some things aren't backup worthy.

    So then does anyone have any good suggestions for large amounts of online backup?
  6. flynz4, Dec 15, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010

    flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Your fear of cloud storage is misplaced.

    My primary backup is crashplan+. It has a copy of every piece of digital information that I own (about 650 GB). It is encrypted with 448b blowfish encryption... so it will not be cracked in my lifetime (or my kids). I control the key. It is by far the safest backup that I have.

    My secondary backup is Time Machine/Time Capsule. It is there in case my cloud service provider went away (and I would then switch to someone else)... plus it is convenient for quick restore.

    100% of my original content is on a 2TB iMac. That is double backed up to both of the above every hour (TM), and every 15 minutes (CP+). Both time machine and especially CP+ keep versions. With CP+, I have every version of every file I ever edited saved ready for restore.

    100% of any data that I possibly want on any laptop that I own is stored in dropbox. That way I always have it with me... and any changes instantly sync back to the iMac (and are hence double backed up).

    Regarding your 1.75TB... I assume that a huge amount of that is video. If it is replaceable video (production movies)... I would not bother backing it up to the cloud as it is trivial to recreate. In any case, CP+ is unlimited.

    Optical media fails. Forget using it. It is your absolute worse choice. Backing up to a pile of flash cards is unmanageable. The cloud is the way to go. Your data is backed up on enterprise class servers with redundancy. In the extreme unlikely case that anything goes wrong... you re-backup... and you already have 2 copies back home (one of which would immediately be taken off-site until the cloud backup was complete).

  7. ortuno2k macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2005
    Hollywood, FL
    I'm using Mozy Unlimited (yeah, I know :rolleyes:) while I figure out a better way to back up my stuff.
    I have 3 computers: my desktop with 5 drives, my Macbook Pro with very little data, and my wife's laptop.

    The laptops get backed up to my desktop every now and then - unless important and irreplaceable content added - and my desktop to Mozy Unlimited AND an external MyBook drive, which I plan to take offsite.

    With all that much to back up, prioritize your data, and back-up to the cloud your most-important data, and to an external hard drive (or two) your not-so-important data which can be replaced.

    I first backed up my pictures, family videos and documents, to Mozy.
    Then as that was done, started adding my music files.

    Don't sit around and "wait" until you make a decision on a backup solution. Act as quickly as possible.

    There's nothing worse than losing precious data that cannot be replaced.
  8. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 5, 2010
    For my main backup I use a RAID 5 NAS drive which is permanently connected. The backup is done through Time Machine. I also keep an external HD in the boot of my car which I use for weekly backups (in case the main backup is stolen/burned in a fire/whatever).

    I agree that optical backups are a poor choice but equally a normal consumer external hard drive is not the pinnacle of reliability either. I would definitely recommend having at least 2 full backups of your data!
  9. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    As you are finding out, storing digital media for the long term takes work. Optical media is a decent choice, but I'd want multiple copies. Currently, all of our important stuff is backed up to a NAS in the house, and to CrashPlan offsite. As noted, any decent cloud backup provider encrypts your data, and only you possess the key, so there is no serious worry about it being compromised.
  10. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I also was using Mozy before I switched to Crashplan+. I actually have more trust in Mozy as a company solely because they are a subsidiary of EMC, which is the leader in enterprise storage. The only thing that I dislike about Mozy is the fact that they only do 30 days of versioning on deleted files. If someone inadvertently (and unknowingly) deletes a file (ex a directory full of pictures)... then Mozy removes it after 30 days. Crashplan keeps the data forever. The other (slight) advantages of CP+ are more frequent backup options (I back up every 15 minutes). I also like the ability to back up all of your computers (up to 10) on a family plan.

    As far as prioritizing backups... I did the same thing that you did with prioritized backups. I started with my documents because they were small and finished quickly ( a few hours). Then I started my pictures and they completed in about a week... followed by home videos. With all of my "un-replaceable" data backed up... I started backing up other data such as music which is easily replaceable.

  11. flynz4, Dec 16, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010

    flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I have had two NAS RAID boxes (0,1,5,10) that I also used in RAID 5 configuration. I have come to the conclusion that RAID is great for enterprise... but not so good for consumers. They are initially somewhat expensive... but the problem is that replacing failed drives is very temperamental. Almost all require the same capacity drive... many require the same brand and model of drive... and a few require the same firmware revision across all drives. This is fine for an enterprise where they order many spares with their deployment... but it is non-opimal for consumers. WHS boxes are better for consumers, but Microsoft seems to be abandoning "drive extender" which will destroy that entire product line. That leaves Drobo which has its own set of issues... but they are minor compared to RAID. At this point... I would probably recommend Drobo for people wanting drive failure redundancy. However... once you back up to the cloud... then you no longer need a complex drive redundancy setup in your house... because you have a primary remote backup that dwarfs any effort you could do internally.

    Regarding your 2nd backup in your car... I would recommend against any type of backup that require any manual maintenance. Backups should be automatic without human intervention. Unless you use very good remote data encryption... then a remote hard drive is a huge hole in data security. Cars are stolen much more easily (and often) than house break-ins.

    With the progression in high speed internet connectivity... and secure 448bit encryption... there is nothing safer than using the cloud for backup. I strongly recommend that as the primary backup (of everything)... followed by local automatic backup for convenience and ease of quick recovery.

  12. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    FWIW, many other NAS providers offer similar 'any size disk' RAID similar to what Drobo offers, but the good ones don't suffer with slow speeds the way Drobo does.
  13. Jony Mac macrumors 6502

    Jony Mac

    Oct 27, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I am using Time Machine to one external hard drive and a Safe Capsule. Safe Capsule is designed with RAID 1 mirroring. It holds two independent drives where one is the primary source for you to read data from and write data to and the secondary one mirrors and backs up all the data stored in the source.
  14. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 5, 2010
    This is definitely something I will look into... any cloud services that you would recommend? I am in the UK, if that makes any difference, and would probably need to back up around 50Gb.

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