Holistic Backup Strategies

khadkhad Social Choreographer

Team Member
Onsite, Offsite, Online, etc.
I was just wondering what your backup strategies are. Everyone uses something different, but I'll go first:

Carbon Copy Cloner on external drive

(I would use SuperDuper! if they were the same price since I like the interface more, but even if you pay the suggested donation of $15 for CCC, it is still half the price. I haven't found a compelling reason to switch.)

Dropbox for cloud storage

Also useful every day to sync 1Password data between Mac, Windows, iPhone, and iPad. :-)

iPhone for offsite storage

This one is a bit funny perhaps, but considering that any catastrophe that would wipe out my data at home will not affect my iPhone while I am out and about, it's not a bad idea. If I am home, my iPhone is probably going down with me anyway, though.

So, it's nothing fancy — I prefer it that way — and I will be getting a Time Capsule to add Time Machine to the mix, but I thought I would put it out there. I learn something every time I ask people this question. What better place to ask than the 1Password community? A group of security-minded folks who rock are sure to offer some cool ideas. :-)

Comments

  • Penelope PitstopPenelope Pitstop Junior Member
    edited September 2010
    Speaking from experience, it's not very nice when your computer hard drive fails or your laptop gets stolen. I also know how friends have felt when they have lost photos of their kids that they will never be able to replace. Here's what I do:

    1. Time Machine with Time Capsule. I have had the misfortune of needing this twice and have completely restored my computer both times without a hitch. That's the main thing about a backup, you have to know that it works. The beauty of Time Machine is that you don' t have to think about it so the backups actually get done without interfering with your computer usage. You get your machine back with at most an hour's worth of work lost.

    2. SuperDuper + external, rugged FireWire drive once a week. This is to protect me against some sort of catastrophe that takes out both my computer and the Time Capsule at the same time. My Time Capsule failed a few months ago (manufacturing fault). Apple replaced the Time Capsule but I wasn't comfortable whilst that was being done. I preferred the simplicity of SuperDuper and the quality of support given by the vendor. Well worth the money IMO. The FireWire drive is stored in an off site location after the backup is complete. Downside of this is that you have to discipline yourself to do the backup. It is a bootable backup so I know it works. The other advantage to this is that you can immediately start work again with the bootable clone if you need to. Restoring from Time Capsule took the best part of a day on my computer. I can imagine circumstances where that would be too long to wait.

    3. DVD's for email, purchased media and photos once every six months. I use Apple's Backup program that is available via the MobileMe subscription because it automatically prompts me to do the backups so I don't forget. The DVDs are stored off site. The email/photos simply cannot be replaced and the media would cost me a lot to replace. Everything else on my computer I can either do without or download again. So whilst this is probably overkill, the small amount of time involved makes it worth it IMO. I keep the last two copies and back the lot up each time.

    Obviously I don't think relying on any single backup facility is a great idea. I regard DropBox etc as a way to get files anywhere (like DropBox sync with 1PW) rather than a backup mechanism but I suppose my keychain is backed up there too. I tried the various on-line backup services but we only have ADSL in my country and the slow uplink speed makes them impractical. Even if I could use these, I would still do the bootable clone and DVDs.
  • sjksjk oversoul 1Password Alumni
    Posts linked to under Chuqui 3.0 > Stuff to Read > Backups can be worthwhile reading.
  • khadkhad Social Choreographer

    Team Member
    Bootable backups FTW!

    I too have not been very enamored with online backup. I only store important, irreplaceable stuff on Dropbox. I tried CrashPlan a couple times, but it was nearly impossible to balance between actually having bandwidth for daily use and getting hundreds of GB backed up. I couldn't handle it in the end and uninstalled. I need to get better about bootable offsite backup. :-(
  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    Time Machine for incremental local backups (drive connected to a Mac mini for wireless backup; works fine connected to the USB on an Airport Extreme too, though.)

    SuperDuper! for intermittent bootable local backups.

    CrashPlan for offsite, cloud-based backups.

    I guess I just don't really think of Dropbox as a backup since if my laptop goes up in flames grabbing my files from there won't even begin to get me back to where I want to be (which is to say: full recovery.) Sure, 95% of the stuff on my hard drive isn't critical, but even thinking about the time and energy I'd have to put into rebuilding it all makes me queasy. Ugh.

    I really like CrashPlan. It requires a bit of patience initially (as does any cloud-based storage solution when you have miserable upstream bandwidth), but after the initial backup it just chugs away in the background like it's not even there. I actually just checked to make sure it's still running. Heh. All this talk is making me paranoid.

    I tried Carbonite initially for offsite backup. It is superb, but didn't quite give me the flexibility I wanted. It's more of a one-click, no hassle solution, and I would recommend it for anyone less inclined to fiddle with settings. I was still playing World of Warcraft when I began experimenting with offsite backup, and without the configurability of the CrashPlan client (bandwidth settings, in particular), trying to play competitive PvP was frustrating, to put it mildly. After I switched to CrashPlan and made the necessary adjustments, latency and bandwidth were no longer an issue with WoW, much less for just surfing the web.

    CrashPlan is highly flexible, and it's not just for cloud storage. That's the paid service. The client itself is free, and it supports backing up to local drives and network storage, whether it's down the hall or on your buddy's hard drive halfway across the country. My only gripe is that you apparently can't choose backup sets on a per-destination basis (e.g. I can't choose to do a full backup to a local drive and then only my user folder to my friend's, etc.), but I'm just finicky that way. Anyway, if you want to backup to their servers, you pay for that; otherwise it's completely free for non-commercial use. I really appreciate the ability to tailor it to suit my needs.

    Also, I can't really deal with manual backups. For all my good intentions, before I started using automated backup solutions I just never got around to it. Not having to worry about it is priceless.
  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    Just thought I'd update this to say that I recently suffered the misfortune of some file corruption on my system (which were sadly part of a folder I exclude from Time Machine backups,) and I was able to easily restore older, uncorrupted versions of the files from my CrashPlan backup. The interface is a bit clunky, but it came through when I needed it! :D
  • thightowerthightower T-Dog Agile's Mascot
    Yep somehow missed this thread. I love crashplan and i agee its a big gripe abount not being able to choose backup sets based upon location. But it serves me well. So ill let that part slide and put it in a wish list. It saved my bacon one time when the wifes iweb file became corrupted. She was ecstatic I could get it back with some effort I had to try a few versions to get before the corruption. It was in the default location so ..... I just moved it to dropbox a good while back.
  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    thightower wrote:

    Yep somehow missed this thread. I love crashplan and i agee its a big gripe abount not being able to choose backup sets based upon location. But it serves me well. So ill let that part slide and put it in a wish list. It saved my bacon one time when the wifes iweb file became corrupted. She was ecstatic I could get it back with some effort I had to try a few versions to get before the corruption. It was in the default location so ..... I just moved it to dropbox a good while back.


    Heh. Yeah, every extra layer of redundancy helps. Maybe someday I'll get to the point where, instead of asking myself, "Where's the backup?" I can just pick whatever option is quickest/most convenient to restore from, since I'll have it everywhere. Right now I still have to be a bit selective due to bandwidth; Comcast keeps increasing my downstream, but my upload speed is still stuck back at the turn of the century. The hardest part of the restore was choosing the version of the file, figuring out how far back to go for an uncorrupted version. B)

    Dropbox is great, but as far as a backup tool it doesn't do much for me. Because of storage limitations, I would really have to pick and choose what to use it for. My 1Password keychain is a no-brainer, but any time I have to spend deciding what files to back up negates much of the advantage of automation.
  • pbryanwpbryanw Junior Member
    edited November 2010
    I've just started using Crashplan after trying a few online backup solutions (using the free trials), and finding it best suits my needs. I've also upgraded to Crashplan+, and like how I can leave it to backup every hour in the background, while I continue using my computer as normal. This is on my PC, where I use it in conjunction with Acronis True Image, for backing up my whole hard-drive (Crashplan is used to backup the most important data on my Hard Drive).
  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    pbryanw wrote:

    I've just started using Crashplan after trying a few online backup solutions (using the free trials), and finding it best suits my needs. I've also upgraded to Crashplan+, and like how I can leave it to backup every hour in the background, while I continue using my computer as normal. This is on my PC, where I use it in conjunction with Acronis True Image, for backing up my whole hard-drive (Crashplan is used to backup the most important data on my Hard Drive).


    CrashPlan+ looks great, but I really wouldn't use all those features. Maybe in the future it will make more sense for me. I'm moving more and more toward backing up everything -- everything -- with CrashPlan. It's unlimited, and for the most part I'm not changing huge files on a regular basis, so there's not much more of a performance hit. The more I use it, the more I realize how nice it is to be able to grab old versions of files as needed as well. I can't do that if I'm not backing them up in the first place. :)
  • thightowerthightower T-Dog Agile's Mascot
    CP+ is great I upgraded all my licenses to + about a month after starting to use CP. and thats been over 1 1/2 year ago now. The only services I pay for in advance are MobileMe (yr), CrashPlan (did the 3 yr this last renewal thats how much I like it), and Dropbox (yr)


  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    thightower wrote:

    CP+ is great I upgraded all my licenses to + about a month after starting to use CP. and thats been over 1 1/2 year ago now. The only services I pay for in advance are MobileMe (yr), CrashPlan (did the 3 yr this last renewal thats how much I like it), and Dropbox (yr)


    I'm on the 3 year plan, too. Great savings!

    What features of CP+ do you rely on most? Maybe I should give it another look after all.
  • thightowerthightower T-Dog Agile's Mascot
    edited November 2010
    Mainly near real time backup and not the once a day backup like standard. (Hourly to Crashplan Central in standard) and then Web restore for pro.

    Not seen any real benefit of feature updates ( free in pro version ) or just never noticed any rolled out yet :) plus removal of ads but they also are not that obtrusive and really how much time do you spend in the UI anyway.
  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    edited November 2010
    thightower wrote:

    Mainly near real time backup and not the once a day backup like standard. (Hourly to Crashplan Central in standard) and then Web restore for pro.


    I'd be a bit wary of the web restore. Very convenient in a pinch, but in order for that to work don't they have to have your decryption key? I use a custom private key, so I'm not sure I would even have that option.


    Not seen any real benefit of feature updates ( free in pro version ) or just never noticed any rolled out yet :) plus removal of ads but they also are not that obtrusive and really how much time do you spend in the UI anyway.


    See, I think you've got me there. I hate ads. Even ones I don't see. I just know they're there... taunting me.

    Might make a good early Christmas present to myself. :P
  • I hadn't heard of CrashPlan. Glad I checked this thread!

    I've been mulling over possibly signing up with Backblaze, Carbonite, or Mozy for about a year now. I think the real winner with CrashPlan, besides the onsite/local backups, is the family plan is a fixed price and doesn't climb as more members start adding on. I think that just won me over. Downloading the client to give it a go.
  • thightowerthightower T-Dog Agile's Mascot
    edited November 2010
    Here is a Crashplan : Tweet from about 7 days ago,

    NOTICE: Our family subscription pricing will be increasing by ~25% in ~1 week. Purchase or extend now if you want to lock in lower price!

    Still a very reasonable price in my opinion.

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    edited November 2010
    thightower wrote:

    Here is a Crashplan : Tweet from about 7 days ago,

    NOTICE: Our family subscription pricing will be increasing by ~25% in ~1 week. Purchase or extend now if you want to lock in lower price!

    Still a very reasonable price in my opinion.


    Thanks for the heads up! Even better: 3 year plans are on sale for the 2 year price through Monday. Check it out! I'm not even a full year into my subscription, and I just added another 3 years. Woohoo! <img class=" />

    jay_gunn wrote:

    I hadn't heard of CrashPlan. Glad I checked this thread!

    I've been mulling over possibly signing up with Backblaze, Carbonite, or Mozy for about a year now. I think the real winner with CrashPlan, besides the onsite/local backups, is the family plan is a fixed price and doesn't climb as more members start adding on. I think that just won me over. Downloading the client to give it a go.


    I'm glad to hear that you got something out of my incessant rambling! Another thing to keep in mind is that it's only the CrashPlan Central online backup service that has a subscription fee. The app itself is free to use to back up to your own destinations locally or over the internet. I really like the service, but the software -- in spite of a few warts -- is great on its own. :)
  • thightowerthightower T-Dog Agile's Mascot
    Crashplan

    Now has backup sets. Yippie
  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    Oh, my god. That'll help me back up the really important stuff to even more places. And free CrashPlan+? I'm glad I didn't buy it. lol

    I am totally spending my day off experimenting with the backup sets. Mmm. :mellow:
  • brentybrenty

    Team Member
    Also, it looks like they've really given the site an overhaul. Much snappier, and very enjoyable to use now. :)
This discussion has been closed.