A stitch in time…

Whats your backup method? I wont lecture you about backing up, you know its essential right? But its a PITA! Or it has been… I’ve been using computers long enough to have lived through & funded a few different backup methods – most boring of all was Retrospect tape backup which took many hours to backup & god forbid you should want to random access files scattered thoughout a tape set.
As drives have gotten bigger & cheaper backup has become a double edged sword, both my Mac Pros have 3 x 1TB drives in them & I have maybe half a dozen other 1TB drives floating around, plus 2 x 2TB RAIDs with my two libraries on them (one 2TB RAID for sound FX library, the other for music/sample library) so without investing the price of a small car in a tape backup format whats the best option to back it all up?

Well, I tend to follow two approaches, the first is to always maintain two copies of everything. So for my sound library I actually have 4 x 2TB RAID drives ie two seperate copies of the same two libraries. And they live in different physical places ie one set at work, the other at home. If one goes down I instantly have it replaced & update the clone.

Secondly everything is cloned to removeable 1TB drives. Over the years I have seen some fancy removeable drive docks & certainly in the early years they were the only way to access large amounts of data. But now i use a simple USB device that cost me only $50! And it lets you plug a raw 1TB drive into without any case. Now obviously it requires that you know what you are doing ie dont scuff around on your shagpile carpet & then handle the raw drive while you make a cup of tea… But if you do know what you’re doing these are a truly affordable means of backing up your data. Heres a link to where I bought my drive dock, in NZ: Vantec NexStar Hard Drive Dock, 3.5″ & 2.5″ SATA to USB 2 & eSATA

I use a fairly simple program to do my backups, called Folders Syncronizer – its like $40 to buy & will do incremental backups as well as syncronize in both directions should you need it to. I tend to just be backing up & then updating archival copies of everything so I don’t syncronise.

The one other important aspect of backing up is to backup your OS, as if the dreaded happens ie your system drive dies, you may well need to be up & running again fairly rapidily, especially if you have a deadline & mix booking dependent on it.
To make a clone backup of my system drive (OSX, plugs, apps, personal data) I use Carbon Copy Cloner and for example when I recently setup my MacPro at home I simply used CCC to clone my working OSX system drive at work & then installed the cloned system drive at home. It took a ridiculously short amount of time to go from zero to having a fully configured computer functioning exactly as I like to use it.
Having a functioning clone of your system drive is also a good trouble shooting tool so eg you install a new application & half a day later your mac starts misbehaving, you can simply power up the drive you cloned your OS to, switch startup drives preferences, reboot & then run diagnostics on your original system drive. Comparatively there is nothing so tedious as having to resort to an OSX installer DVD to boot up from & do diagnostics…

Whats your method?

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