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Back It Up

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back it upHere are some numbers for you:

  • Typical replacement rates of hard drives in data centers is around 5% (and is as high as 15% in some systems)
  • 60% of businesses that lose their data will shut down within 6 months
  • Companies that aren’t able to resume operations within 10 days after a disaster aren’t likely to survive.

If you were to somehow lose your data, would you pull through? I’m not talking about a single lost file (although that can result in hours or even days of more work), I’m talking about major data loss. Hard drive failure, theft, fires, floods, and on and on and on. Basically take all of your important files, and get rid of them. Now what?

I personally have 3 copies of each and every file, plus 2 archives. You have the original file, the locally backed up file, the remote file, and archives on both the local backup and the remote backup. The original file is generally kept on the computer that it was created on, but the local and remote backups are where it gets fun.

Local Backup

We create a lot of data. Between the constant stream of websites under construction, the ever-growing amount of pictures, and the seemingly non-stop website backups, data needs to be copied fast to the local backup. We don’t have Macs, so TimeMachine isn’t an option, and I don’t like or trust the built-in backup tools in Windows. So, every computer here is running a copy of Comodo Backup, which is free. (I like free.) Every hour on the hour Comodo copies all changed files to a folder for that computer in the folder named “sync” on the in-house server. Why “sync”? Simple, the “sync” folder has current copies of the data on all the computers, so when a computer needs to be restored, just copy the files from that folder. Simple as that. At about 10pm every night Comodo then goes through the “sync” folder and archives changes to a folder called … you guessed it, “archive”. Need a file from a few days ago? It’s right there. The amount of time files are kept in this folder varies on how much disk space I have left, but I tend to keep them at least a week for the frequently updated files.

Remote Backup

Disasters happen, which is why I don’t take chances by keeping everything locally only. But this is the easy part. All computers are backed up to Carbonite (although I’m considering switching to BackBlaze). The software Carbonite (and BackBlaze) provides takes care of all the backup tasks, just set it up and check in every so often.

So if I accidentally delete a file (it happens more than I want to admit) I can get it from the local backup. But if something happens and I lose both the original file and the local backup, all my important files are safe and sound online.

Quick disclaimer, there are many ways to do this, but this is how I’m currently running, and what I’ve found to be the most reliable. Your results may very.