Backup Strategies

2009-July-09

One of the things I've been working on in the past week or so is the start of my actual backup strategy. The thought I'm having is that I need to start sooner rather than later with the whole "data backup" thing. Elsewise one of my computers or disks will suddenly catch fire, and awesome as that would be, visually, I just don't know if I want to deal with more data loss this year.

The first part of the project is to get all of my photos to date burned to DVDs. This includes folders DNG_001 through DNG_050, and any more that I make before comic-con. After that, I need to run an acronis imaging from the T400's boot disk to the recently cleared 750gb drive, as well as reinstate mirroring on flatdell's disks.

The biggest problem so far is the fact that the ThinkPad T400 has a total of a terabyte worth of storage built into it, not counting the other SATA disks I can put into the ultrabay module.

The solutions I have thought of for the T400 involve either another external disk for weekly backups of the boot disk and the UltraBay module, or potentially an online backup solution. The external disk is nice because I can back up the T400 and the UltraBay module in one go, at my own convenience, and if anything should happen to the T400 or one of its disks, I can get either the full config back (onto compatible hardware) or get files back as necessary.

The other option I thought about, which would also require a bit of an expenditure, is to grab an account for a few years with a service like Mozy, which purportedly offers safe, incremental backup for an unlimited amount of data hooked up to one PC (which to me, means the T400's boot disk, the UltraBay module that I use for photos.)

I have actually considered going both directions with the backup strategy, because Mozy will keep fairly well-updated copies of everything, but restoring a terabyte of information from mozy just sounds like an incredibly bad idea, but a weekly backup of the whole thing stored locally would mean that recovering from a disaster would be pretty easy and quick, and I could grab "that one song I downloaded" or "the three blog posts I wrote" from Mozy.

In either case, most of my important data is backed up (that which is on the T400) and everything else (T42p, X24, flatdell) can be backed up using the surplus of external USB disks I have around here.

Beyond that, I can't decide whether or not to continue burning optical disc copies of my photo collection. A 50-stack of DVD-Rs on any regular basis is a pretty pricey suggestion, even if it's just once per year, the number of DNG folders I have grows pretty quickly, suggesting that it might be twice each year that I buy a hundred stack (or two 50-stacks) of DVD-Rs and the appropriate holders (paper sleeves, disc binders, whatever, I guess.) While it would make me more comfortable to have that backup as well as all of the others, I suppose the question I've got is whether or not it's necessary.

And the overall question remains, which solution of combination of solutions will be that which I invest in? I don't really have any money available right now, but in August or September I think is when I'll really implement the full new solution.