The Redeye Complex

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Backup Presentation

Backup Buddha Ninjitsu
“Backups … a damn good idea”

Robert Szkolnicki
New Media Manitoba
July 24, 2007


Backup? What? Why? How? ? ?

“Backup” is making an exact copy of your data at a moment in time.

“Data” is a file, a text file, PDF, photo, video, MP3, a database, a program OR a folder of files.

Why are backups important?
One. I deleted something by mistake and I need it back!
Two. The computer broke and I need to work!!
Three. My laptop was here a minute ago!!!
Four. The office flooded and my computer is under water!!!!
Five. Revenue Canada wants to talk about a return I filed five years ago!!!!!


All you need to know about backups.

One. You can never have enough backups.

Two. Don’t think about the data you want to backup.
Think about the data you want to restore.

How do large companies backup data? or If I had a million dollars …

Use reliable computer hardware and software. (Dedicated hardware.)

Assign people the task of monitoring the backup server. (Dedicated function.)

Small client programs on workstation talk to backup server.

Set up schedules to backup data every day.

Make a copy of your backed up data … every day ... and send it offsite.

Challenges: Expensive.
Not all data gets backed up. Identify data to be backed up. (What do you want restored?)
How long to keep the backed up data? (“Forever” means earliest retirement date.)
More work to do all the time … there are still only 24 hours in a day to get it done.
Need to be able to recover the backup system in case it fails.

What can I do? or If I had a thousand dollars …

Hardware: 500GB USB/firewire disk is $200.
500GB of multi-disk fault-tolerant storage is $500.
1000GB (or 1TB) of fault tolerant storage is $1000-$1500.

Software: Off the shelf backup programs available in many sizes.
Many USB/firewire disk drives come with backup software.

What else: Backup your data online! Really? Yes!

Cool hardware

WD Passport
100-200GB small, power brick-free, good for a year’s worth of photos, no backup software

WD MyBook
500GB, simple backup software, good for standard data recovery

various GB size, automatic redundancy, good reliable storage, no software

Considerations: Drive speed? Good enough for your needs?
Are drives reliable?

A look at software

WD drive software bundles. There may be some software on your external drive!

WD Backup. Basic function. Some Automation. Single program. A good start.

Retrospect. Feature rich. Backup server concept. Big learning curve to get backup server running.

CrashPlan. Cheap. Backup over the network to someone you know. Possibly slow restore. Good for small amount of data.

Jungle Disk, Mozy. Cheap. Backup to a service provider? Slow restore for large amount of data.

The future

Storage hardware is becoming cheaper. More options!

Near future … Microsoft Windows Home Server will be appearing this fall!
It will run on one (dedicated) computer in the home and will backup all the computers in the house.
Will accept internal disk drives and USB/firewire external drives.
Storage can be redundant. (?)
Disk drives can be easily replaced.
Hardware vendors will release equipment with this software. AND software should be available for purchase.

Distant future … “utility computing” or “virtual desktop” …
Your desktop, your programs, your data will run from a service provider. So backup becomes someone else’s problem.

Final thoughts

One. Invest time researching backup software and storage hardware. Is it compatible with your OS? Is it fast enough? Does it meet your data recovery requirements? Try something out. Try out the software that is bundled with your external drive. Buy a drive with some software included. Key is to build confidence using it.

Two. Automate. You can do quite a bit of work when you are asleep.

Three. DIY? Dedicate a computer to perform backup operations.

Four. Test your restores. How? Introduce data recovery in your work flow.
Building a new system? Use your backup data to build it.


Western Digital Passport
Western Digital My Book
Jungle Disk
Windows Home Server
Blogs and sites to watch

The End


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