Fewer than 500 words...

Where should backups be kept?

My house was burgled on Friday. Nobody was hurt, nothing was stolen, the damage was minimal and all in all it was about the best outcome one could hope for, under the circumstances. But it made me consider what might have happened.

As one would expect there's an interesting assortment of equipment in my home that I must acknowledge would have value to some if it were outside my home. But all of that would be fairly easy to replace, whether via insurance reimbursements or simply choosing a newer and better version of this or that piece of hardware. What can not be easily replaced is the immense and growing archive of data; the ones and zeros that make up my digital world are stored here. They're backed up, but the majority of the backups are also kept here and who's to say that with enough time and searching those backups might not find space on Craigslist?

So what to do? Well, first one needs to actually know what one has. Take the time to make sense of what you've archived and backed up. Still have data on floppies? What about Zip cartridges or tapes or any of the other media that has fallen by the wayside? Take the time, now, while you can profit from my misfortune, to assess what you've got, dump what you don't need and centralize the data you want preserved. Will it fit on a single hard drive, a RAID, a NAS? Finally do that filing you've meant to do, collect the data, organize it and get it ready to sit in nice and orderly fashion.

In praise of Time Machine

Of course I do backups and I recommend strongly that you do too. A good percentage of my billable hours are spent on making sure that clients' backup systems are operating correctly and backing up what they're supposed to. Some of these systems can be quite complex, firing off at specific times, moving data from one location to another, even synchronizing servers.

But... most of my "backups" of my laptop were really clones done whenever I got that funny feeling in my stomach (it's a very different story for my servers and desktop). Mac OS X Server can offer a destination for Time Machine backups, and since I keep a server running in my house it's just silly that I hadn't set it up to do the work (and this can be done on a server or on an AirPort or a Time Capsule, even some NAS devices). Several months ago I configured my laptop to use a server-based Time Machine. Of course I assumed I'd never need it and I kept doing clones at the same pace I used to. I assumed I'd never need to worry about that - sound like your thinking too?

Solutions Consulting - 310-838-5224 or benlevy@rockinbeat.com