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Monday
Sep282009

Off-site backup - it's not just a good idea, it's the law (now)!

Well, I must say this is an example of "do as I say, not as I do", and I'm going to pay a price for that.  Not a huge price, but a price nonetheless. 

Like the doctor who smokes, or the shoemaker with holes in his shoes (and yes, I know nobody under the age of 30 knows what a shoemaker is; just go with it), I was not following my own advice, fully.  My laptop, and those of my kids, do back up regularly to the Rackspace Cloudfile infrastructure using Jungle Disk.  That's good! 

However, the machine which serves as the hub of my house, the place my music and pictures (60gb of music and 23gb of pictures dating back to my first digital camera from Christmas, 2000), was still just backing up to an external hard drive.

Then,

The machine (a very cool Hush Technologies - www.hushtechnologies.net - silent computer) had a little problem:  its power supply failed one day. "No problem, says I!  I have a backup!"

(N.B. A power supply for a Hush Technologies machine costs 290 euros.  Yes, that's $424, and yes, one can buy a whole computer for that much.  Whole computers for that much are not completely silent, however, and whole computers for that much are not carved from a block of solid aluminum.  But I digress.)

Then,

Upon trying to copy the contents of the backup drive to another of my computers, I found that it, too, had failed.   

"Yikes!"  Says I!

Now, sure, I can take (and have taken) the hard drive out of my beloved Hush Technologies machine, hooked it up using one of my Highly Trained I/T Professional Devices to another of my machines, and can copy (and am copying as I type this) the pictures, music and other things from that disk onto one of my other computers.  This will take about an hour, and does demonstrate why local backup is still a good idea.  To restore these files from an online source would take DAYS

HOWEVER,

Due to space limitations, I'd put a few things on that backup drive (the one that no longer functions correctly).  Yes, this is something I tell my clients to never, never do.  My file recovery tools MAY be able to recover those things.  If not, they're gone.  ForeverForever is longer than DAYS

You see where this is going.

The next thing I'm going to do, once the files finish copying from the disembodied hard drive of my Hush machine, is set up online, encrypted, off-site backup of those files.  The 100gb or so of stuff will cost me $15/month.  I may decide to just back up the pictures remotely (since I could get the music back).  That would only cost me $3.45/month. 

Just like I do with my three other computers.  Just like I tell my clients to do.  I'm also going to set it to back up to one of my $60, 640gb external hard drives, since an hour is shorter than DAYS, should I ever need to restore them.

I will do as I say, not as I did.

And if, on reading this post, you have an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach, you should, too!

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