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Backup Strategies

     
5:01 am on Jan 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Every few years I ask (remind) folks to be on top of their back ups. I know there's been a few times the lost has been recovered or, fortunately few, a time or two failure in that regard.

Media is all over the place these days, and most of them are quite affordable. I suspect a large number still have local dev systems, while an increasing number are moving to the cloud.

I have "the machine" and it's big enough to do all for all clients, and each are set up with OS/server/content ... which I back up once a week (each) to USB externals (flash OR drives depending on size) and keep two in rotation, swapping the current backup with the off site which then will become the new backup ad nauseum ... it is the off site part that makes a difference for me.

What are you folks doing these days?

And if you are not routinely backing what your work, why not?

Clouds can fail, too!
10:21 am on Jan 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It's always good to have a reminder about backups, thanks.

I haven't swayed much from my routine of backups, although the offsite has become slightly more difficult.

Here's what I do: Each machine continuously and automatically, incrementally, backs up across the network, helping in the event of a sudden HD failure.
Weekly full backups to multiple hard drives across the network. Oldest files deleted as newer files built.
Annual backups and archiving.
Offsite backups done monthly, and DVDs seem to fit the bill nicely.

I have experimented with using the Cloud, and the only difference being that anything going offsite (including DVDs) is encrypted.

I know, it's probably belt and braces, but, if you've ever had a drive failure you'll know the value of frequent backups.
(Finding a piece of wood to touch for luck) Haven't had a 3.5" HD failure for many years.
4:45 am on Jan 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@engine ...

YOU know and I know this is important ... just a bit surprised that in 2018/19 there were no responses. Perhaps the time frame (holidays) was the culprit?

Otherwise it kind of seems like nobody cares. :)

NOTE: I finally retired my tape backups last year (2017). These days I use a USB hard drive duplicator (entire system) weekly, and DVD or USB flash (more often) for critical daily incremental).

At some point it becomes more work than it is worth ... until that day you actually NEED it!

One needs to find their comfort zone.
10:50 am on Jan 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It's not just hardware failure that backups become important. Human error, or hacking can cause problems.

Although it's easier to do a complete backup, an incremental helps when there is an unwanted change to something.

Two examples:-
1. A site was hacked and the hack was well hidden. Going back through the backups i could see where it was changed, and simply restored prior to the hack. Note, the exploit was caused through an earlier version of the CMS with vulnerability. The site had already been updated, so it wasn't possible to hack again, but the data was restored will little interruption. A complete backup would not have allowed the restoration, unless there were earlier versions.

2. A local file had the wrong data saved (human error) and it wasn't until the following month when someone ran a report that they spotted the error. The incremental backup allowed restoration prior to the error, and all was good.
10:52 pm on Jan 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Incrementals are substantial! As noted, it is possible to have a backup that has bad data! That's way I also keep client specific on lesser media, usually a flash drive as these are so dirt cheap these days with more than enough capacity. For a few clients I take snapshots of major changes, before and after, and keep those separate for up to three "snapshots"!

One never knows when it is time to step back and rethink things!

Just have a good way of indexing/curating those in either a notebook or database!
4:51 pm on Jan 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Incrementals are substantial! As noted, it is possible to have a backup that has bad data! That's way I also keep client specific on lesser media, usually a flash drive as these are so dirt cheap these days with more than enough capacity. For a few clients I take snapshots of major changes, before and after, and keep those separate for up to three "snapshots"!

One never knows when it is time to step back and rethink things!

Just have a good way of indexing/curating those in either a notebook or database!

I recall a company I worked at many years ago, we have a system for database changes:
1. Take snapshot
2. Update
3. If failed recover from snapshot

Except that when the process was needed the ops repeated steps 1 and 2 a couple of times before deciding that they wouldn't work, overwriting the image of the unchanged database.

The BBC news had a report today where a charity had had its office burgled and all the IT kit taken, a reminder of the value of off site backups, especially as the gear is so much more portable these days..

As size increases recovery time for a fairly trivial problem can be disproportionate. At one company we ended up keeping fall back copies on our own servers as well as the servers themselves being backed up. That way we could always recover the not infrequent small (but sometimes expensive) user errors without recovering a whole server. We just had to avoid calling them "backups" as the company rules were that "backups" went offsite.
1:49 am on Jan 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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A client I worked with years back had me in to setup backups for their data files .. only those files and no others (back when 100gb hard drives were the "next big thing"...

So the filemasks were set up, paths laid in, and all was tested to their satisfaction.

Then I get a call a month or so later that one of their content creator's files weren't getting backed up. Panic time!

Well, I make an office visit to see what was happening...

Their genius content creator was naming his files with his initials...

(fake name, not using his real name, but has the same initials...)

Thomas Mikey Puddinhead so...

mygreatwork.tmp

Renamed all the files to *.doc and charged two hours of normal rate.

These days we can back up entire systems and that kind of thing doesn't make any difference. :)
5:13 pm on Jan 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've responded to similar threads in the past, nothing new to offer :)

I believe that the few that take their web presence seriously aka treat like a business to be invested in and risks minimised are already on board; the vast majority have some other mindset where unicorns play on rainbows and la la la not a problem is heard. Until it is.

Reminds me of the fable of the ant and the grasshopper.
7:06 pm on Jan 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have a fairly simple setup in the home/office. My main machine is a Ubuntu desktop running Kubuntu. I have a server in a back room running Ubuntu server. at the end of each day, or if I have made a lot of changes I run RSYNC to copy my home directory to the server. Then once weekly I copy the backup to a 2nd drive on the server and save it with the current date.

I use the delete option with RSYNC to in effect create a clone of the current machines drive. If I later discover I do need a file that has been previously deleted it will be in an archive backup on the 2nd disk. I don't have a time span that I keep archives for, I simply kept them all until I was running tight for space. I then remove the oldest archives.

My thinking is if I ever have a catastrophic failure (hardware or software) I can do a fresh instal then RSYNC my home directory back. I can also access the clone of my home directory via FTP over the network.

It does lack an offsite backup, but in fairness, if my house burned down, my files would be the least of my worries :-)

Mack.
11:30 am on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It does lack an offsite backup, but in fairness, if my house burned down, my files would be the least of my worries :-)

As well I know ... three years back I lost my house (long story) and in the process lost a lot of everything, too. Among those were some backups ... fortunately my OFF SITE filled those in and all was good.

Off site can be as close as a next door neighbor ... though bank vaults are much better. :)
10:55 pm on Jan 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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What are you folks doing these days?

Two diff types here.

Replaced the DVD with an additional Hard Drive on my laptop, and I use an automated solution that mirrors my disk, it backups the data and the OS, whatever happens (and has happened) I just restore the backup and even if my disk crashed or whatever, I can have a running OS again in a matter of minutes or hours depending the case, but always easier than other scenarios. I also use an external USB hard drive that I keep safe and rarely use to avoid risks. This laptop never leaves home. My backup strategy works even if I want to restore on a new diff laptop or desktop computer. And I keep this automated, I can have backups done without even clicking on a button. I use EaseUs Backup (can I mention the free tool? it's free) have tried other alternatives that do the job but this one I prefer the most.

For web... I use the panel, and also created my own script for one-click-backup. Then I download the data because why not, in emergencies I need the data near me. And also perform a single click operation that sends my full server backup to an online service and keeps there several backup versions. Why? why not? sometimes you have to compare re-upgrading your files to the server from your laptop using your internet connection and other times from another server, you stick to whatever is faster.

A backup is as useful as it's state, you can backup files to a damaged disk and have damaged files. You can backup data to another part of the same disk (bad idea) the disk goes away with all your backups too. And you can have backups in places that can be vulnerable, you don't want someone stealing your laptop and backups.
1:17 am on Jan 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Finding a piece of wood to touch for luck) Haven't had a 3.5" HD failure for many years.


I had my first hard disk failure last year. Not bad going considering how many I have had and those from the early 90s are still going strong.
 

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