Sunday, April 27, 2008

This isn't a story about Blake

I know its crazy, but I do think about other things sometimes. This story is about backups, and for those of you who came here expecting baby photos I'm sorry, they'll be back with the next story :)

Backups are best summed up by a quote from a co-worker of mine:
backups++, using_backups--; # Warren
Now, you'd expect me to say here that I just had to use my backups, but luckily I haven't yet (*knock on wood*). Shannon is always on me about the huge amount of history we have stored on our computer (I should note that we have a MacPro with a 450GB hard drive) and how I am to never lose it. Ever. So I've taken that advice to heart.

Until today, my backup solution was two external hard drives:
  • One 75GB LaCie
  • One 150GB Seagate
The LaCie is used only to backup photos (30GB and counting, through the Aperture Vault feature) and I use the Seagate to backup the rest of my computer (including photos) through rsync. The LaCie has about 40GB free, and the Seagate is down to 30GB free. So I'm running out of time.

Also, the Seagate has picked up an annoying habit lately of unmounting itself from my computer without prompting. I have a feeling its due to a bad cable, but haven't diagnosed it. I probably should soon.

Either way, it gives me an excuse to fix up my backup strategy, and to try out Time Machine. So, as I wait for the 1,078,265 items on my computer to copy over to my new 1TB MyBook, I figured I'd write this article describing my new backup strategy:
  • One 75GB LaCie external hard drive
  • One 150GB Seagate external hard drive
  • One 1TB MyBook, configured with RAID 1 to give ~500GB of capacity, used for Time Machine.
So it looks like I'm ready for a disaster. The LaCie covers the case I just hose Aperture; I can reinstall it and restore from the vault. The MyBook covers the case where I delete anything from my computer, for easy restore and browsing through all of the versions of a file. Also because of RAID 1 and the two hard drives in it, I'm also covered if one of the hard drives die. I can just swap it out.

But all of these drives are within 12 inches of each other on top of my computer. For that reason I'm taking my Seagate drive (encrypted, of course ;) off to my friend Peter's house to cover the event of a fire, meteorite, or playful infant that destroys my computer and all of my backups at this house. Every couple months I'll take it back and re-sync it. That way in the event of disaster we don't lose 10 years of history, just maybe a few months.

I feel much safer now (or, I will once I get that extra hard drive over to Peter's house).

I don't mean to tempt fate by posting this story, but I figured it would be a good geeky diversion. Also, I figured I might inspire other people to start backing up their computer :)


Anonymous said...

This story was not about Blake, so I kind of glazed over. Bring back Blake!

Unknown said...

why not lock it in your desk at Google? It'd be easier access, and you wouldn't have to make around trip to Palo Alto to be covered.

Andrew said...

The problem with locking it in my desk at Google is I have a locking drawer, but because of the cabinet and shelving unit I have it sticks out the back of my desk :-/ Also I trust it being at my friend's house more than Google, sometimes stuff is stolen from desks (rarely, but it happens).