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Backups - Seriously backup your systems

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Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby jtcoops » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:21 pm

Hi all

Having a bad day so figured I'd give a warning to not trust hardware ever!

I try to be fairly good with protecting my data, I change hard drives every 12 months with new ones, keep all my projects on a separate drive to the O/S and try and backup important work every week or so, although if a project is ongoing I do tend to wait until its complete before committing it to backup - purely on the basis the drives are pretty young, decent brands and nowhere near capacity - I figure I'm pretty safe and for the last 6 years that has proven out.

In January I replaced my drives - copied over all the project data and last did a backup of projects about 6 weeks ago, purely on the basis that I've had a lot of work come through and have been flat out recording and mixing let alone doing maintenance.

Switched on the PC yesterday to get SMART warnings that the main projects drive was close to failure. This drive is 4 months old, and a Seagate which have always served me well. Am now limping 300GB of project data across to another drive - having got the failing drive to initialise finally (nervous hour of trial and error!). It started off well but transfer speeds are dropping so I'm crossing everything that no data gets lost before the drive melts down. Seagate have agreed to replace the drive under warranty but that's not much comfort.

So to get to the point, backup as often as possible to a removable drive. I accept I've been slack this time but since Feb have been busier than I've ever been, so the "I'll backup tomorrow" never really happened.

Times like this (and only this) I miss tape, as even when a tape machine broke down nothing recorded was at risk.

In a time of large hard drives it is so easy to amass a huge amount of data before you know it. I'm going back to smaller hard drives, if anything they force you to backup and clear down regularly.

Back to watching the egg timer as files slowly move from failing to temp drive.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby Folderol » Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:17 pm

Got to agree with this.

However, I use an incremental backup program (only saves the bits that have changed) at the end of every session. This is quite quick and also gives you 'undo' capability.

Having once lost stuff in a fire, then a few years later lost all my data to a burglar. I'm now super paranoid, and take a remote backup every month (stored at a friends place).
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby porthoss78 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:08 pm

Hi,

I'm really surprised your drive only lasted 4 months! I hope you get everything back off of it...

I'm pretty paranoid about losing data too!

I have a 1TB USB2 drive attached to my Mac which is purely for Time Machine. It's set to backup my System and Audio drives.

I then have a RAID drive (Ebay £100) attached for storing all my other stuff (music, videos etc.) which is set to RAID 5 so if one of the drives die I can just replace it and not lose any data (fingers crossed)

All of this is then backed up on another external 2tb drive that stays at my parent's house. I try to back it up every month.

It's not perfect but it works for me.

Cheers and good luck!
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby Steve Hill » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:32 pm

Apple's Time Machine is all you need.

As long as you have a Mac....
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby dmills » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:12 pm

trouble with raid 5 is that given the very large drive sizes in use today there is a non trivial change of suffering a second failure while rebuilding the array (which requires all drives to be read), this trashes the data.

Also raid does not equal backup, the two tasks are not remotely equivalent.

Backup should provide a way to roll back things like delete operations and should not rely of the file system metadata being intact, which you do not get with raid.

Raid keeps you working, and recovers quickly, backup saves your project when file system corruption or a power supply fault takes out the main disk array, and should ideally be off site and nightly (An ethernet cable to a neighbours garage or basement if nothing else).

You should also periodically TEST your backups to make sure they actually work (Particularly with incremental backups this is sometimes not a given), and obviously make sure you have a copy of the backup software somewhere safe!

Sadly, age is no guide to harddisk error rates (which tend to follow a U shaped curve anyway), you have to assume that any drive could fail at any time.

Regards, Dan.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:05 pm

Steve Hill wrote:Apple's Time Machine is all you need.

As long as you have a Mac....
Yup, I've had two scary occasions in the last 8 months to test it, and it served me well.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby jtcoops » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:16 pm

Not on Mac as still not learnt Logic well enough to make the switch from Nuendo on PC and 10 years in IT before saving enough money to escape and build a studio taught me not to trust incremental backups for data.

Because backups take so long, I have been using Clonezilla to clone my project hard drive for backups. Its quick - does the whole drive in about 20 minutes. Just means lifting the bonnet of the PC every few weeks to slot in the backup drive before triggering the clone from the boot CD.

Still - its taken 6 hours but managed to get all 300GB off the failing drive. Ran the Seagate diagnostics tool - took 2 hours - came back with "Drive Failing - Reason Unknown" - along with the treasured failure code needed to get a RMA. Interestingly, it gives stats of 535 hours use with 29 hours left to predicted total failure. At an average 8 hours a day use, thats 66 days before reaching this point.

Surprising for a Seagate.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby oggyb » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:26 pm

I've learnt this the hard way too!

I have an offsite backup performed every 12 hours to an FTP server, and I try to keep a regular backup onto an external HDD too.

Soon I'm going to think about moving to USB3 so if the bad happens (SMART warnings) I can transfer quickly to another drive before the worst happens.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby porthoss78 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:54 am

Cheers for the info dmills, I am a little paranoid about RAID in general so have it all backed up off site just in case. I had 4 SATA hard drives sitting around so thought setting up a RAID would be the most sensible option. Nearly set it up as RAID 0!!

I've thought about setting up a NAS off site as a better alternative to USB drives, I presume I could just keep it connected to my parent's/friend's internet for me to access remotely. Has anyone had any experience with that setup?

Cheers
J
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby onesecondglance » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:59 am

oggyb wrote:I have an offsite backup performed every 12 hours to an FTP server...

i'd dearly love to do this but i don't think my broadband would be fast enough. what kind of speeds do you average?
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby Glyn Barnes » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:38 am

jtcoops wrote: I do tend to wait until its complete before committing it to backup
I would call that archiving rather than backing up. It's a commom thing to confuse the two. If asked "How often should I back up" I counter with the question "how much work can you aford to loose".
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby chew_rocket » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:03 am

I once lost a whole years work on an album I was writing/recording because my external (backup) hardrive broke and the computer broke the very next day.

Thinking back, the album sucked but at the time I did actually cry.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby MarcusH » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:31 am

Steve Hill wrote:Apple's Time Machine is all you need.....

You're right that it's good on paper but it's not reliable enough, as the Mac users' forums tell.

My belt and braces approach is to use Time Machine on one back-up disk and use Carbon Copy Cloner on another. (and keep a third disk remotely).
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby Tui » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:19 am

On the Mac, only Disk Utility is guaranteed to create perfect clones. I've tried the alternatives... Thanks, but no thanks.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby oggyb » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:40 pm

onesecondglance wrote:
oggyb wrote:I have an offsite backup performed every 12 hours to an FTP server...

i'd dearly love to do this but i don't think my broadband would be fast enough. what kind of speeds do you average?
About 300Kbps upload speed. Big files do sometimes make the Ping increase considerably which hurts internet traffic, but it's not a huge problem for me and nobody else in the house notices it!

The biggest ballache for FTP backup is the initial splurge of data. Set aside a couple of days for it to complete. After that it shouldn't take longer than about 40 minutes for a day's worth of bounces and overdubs.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:51 pm

USB2.0 1TB drive £50.00 delievered, no reason whatsoever not to.

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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby onesecondglance » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:53 am

oggyb wrote:About 300Kbps upload speed. Big files do sometimes make the Ping increase considerably which hurts internet traffic, but it's not a huge problem for me and nobody else in the house notices it!

The biggest ballache for FTP backup is the initial splurge of data. Set aside a couple of days for it to complete. After that it shouldn't take longer than about 40 minutes for a day's worth of bounces and overdubs.

hmm, i'll have another look into this then. our d/l speed is horrific but overnight uploads are ok. do you recommend a host?

i've had external drives backing up for a little while but offsite would be a bit more reassuring in case of fire, meteor strike, armageddon, that sort of thing.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby chris... » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:48 am

A thing about network backups (e.g over your broadband) is that once the first backup is complete, only changes need to be shipped to the remote location.

In other words, you aren't backing up the whole lot every night. Good backup software will handle this side of things for you automatically.


do you recommend a host?

For what it's worth, I have heard good things about (but not used myself):

https://www.squirrelsave.co.uk/

which provides unlimited backups for one computer, with snapshots going back in time, for only a fiver per month.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby onesecondglance » Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:27 am

thanks chris, i'll check that out.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby Tui » Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:45 am

I've been using Mozy for several years. Their service is PC and Mac compatible.

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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby xFasterMikeyH » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:20 pm

Steve Hill wrote:Apple's Time Machine is all you need.

As long as you have a Mac....
Not if you are working to a deadline and your system drive dies. A cloned version of your system, whatever OS you are running is a very good idea. I use SuperDuper! for OSX and I'm running Windows as a VM, so cloning that is easy. It took me 8+ hours to restore from my TimeMachine disk when moving to my new laptop from my tower. A very handy utility at that point, but not something I'd want to go through if I had someone breathing down my neck about schedules.

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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby desmond » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:52 pm

xFasterMikeyH wrote:A cloned version of your system, whatever OS you are running is a very good idea. I use SuperDuper! for OSX

Yep, and me too.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby Tui » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:27 pm

All I can say is, after every backup you need to check if what you believe to be a clone really is a clone. Open all your major apps to see if they still work.

A few years ago, I encountered some nasty surprises with SuperDuper.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby MarcusH » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:42 pm

Tui wrote:A few years ago, I encountered some nasty surprises with SuperDuper.

Have you used Carbon Copy Cloner? I'd be interested to know your view.

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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby Tui » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:02 pm

MarcusH wrote:
Have you used Carbon Copy Cloner? I'd be interested to know your view.

Marcus

Not really. I know CCC is very popular, but when I tried it, I found it too fiddly. It seems to give too many options. All I want are perfect clones of my System drive, and Disk Utility gives me that, free, with only a couple of clicks.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby MarcusH » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:15 pm

Tui wrote:[Not really. I know CCC is very popular,....... All I want are perfect clones of my System drive, and Disk Utility gives me that, free, with only a couple of clicks.

Fair enough, but the advantage of CCC is that it does timed back-up. So I get it to do this every night - which you have to do manually with disk copy.

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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:58 pm

Glyn Barnes wrote:
jtcoops wrote: I do tend to wait until its complete before committing it to backup
I would call that archiving rather than backing up. It's a commom thing to confuse the two. If asked "How often should I back up" I counter with the question "how much work can you aford to loose".
VERY GOOD POINT. Worth repeating (I just did).
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby desmond » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:09 pm

MarcusH wrote:
Tui wrote:[Not really. I know CCC is very popular,....... All I want are perfect clones of my System drive, and Disk Utility gives me that, free, with only a couple of clicks.

Fair enough, but the advantage of CCC is that it does timed back-up. So I get it to do this every night - which you have to do manually with disk copy.

Yep, I do this with Super Duper, with the added advantage that SuperDuper does smart backups - effectively incremental backups, meaning it only copies the new stuff to keep the backup identical with the source - which takes far less time. I basically do a daily backup of my system which runs overnight, and a separate backup every week or two to another disk image.

Never had any problems with SuperDuper - great product.
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Re: Backups - Seriously backup your systems

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:46 am

Currently I'm much taken with Dropbox. You get two free Gig of space but I've elected to buy 50. Anything important I drop in the Dropbox directory and it get's copied onto Dropbox's servers and automatically copied to all my other computers as well. Plus they keep a history of all changes to a file for 30 days without it affecting your space allocation. very secure and very easy.

Someone made the distinction between archiving and backup, so Dropbox falls more in the archiving side and I still keep Time Machine going, but if you've got both in play then you're in quite a strong position, I think.

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