Yes, I heard it a million times. It’s been pounded into my head. “Back Up Your Data!”
I know how important it is. I have my life’s work, writings, my photos, my memories – everything (!) in little bytes living on a fragile slip of magnetic film (or on several fragile slips of magnetic film to be exact).
But did I have a back up system in place?
Then one day my OCD kicked in. And thank God it did.
I was working away, editing a video. I had several hours of footage representing weeks worth of work. And more importantly, this was for a presentation for a client who was up for nearly a half a million dollar grant. If something went wrong, it would not just be me who felt the pain.
So I panicked, and obsessed over figuring out a reliable and easy back-up system. And thanks to my OCD, I needed it NOW!
I had two main drives. One for storing my basic files (business correspondence, pitches, etc.). This file is 1 terabyte (I call it Terabytasaurus because it’s big and I think I’m cute).
The other drive is a 2 TB drive and stores all of my multi-media files (my video files, audio, etc.). I call it ‘Multi-Media Drive’.
After a panicked 24 hour research binge, and after trying out several options this is what I settled on. It’s fairly cheap, easy and reliable…
I needed two back up drives. Instead of buying drives – or at least drives with enclosures (casings), I bought two NewerTech Voyager Q Quad Docking Stations. These are docks in which you can slap a naked drive (a hard drive without a case – just the drive itself) into it, and it runs just like a normal external drive. The great thing about these is that you can unmount the drive, press a button and the drive pops out. You can then drop in a new drive and off you go.
Another great thing about these docks is that the drive is exposed so you don’t really need to worry about heat. Therefore, no fan. And by that I mean no noise!
I then bought two naked drives (you can get 2 TB drives for as little as $70. Just look around and you’ll be surprised).
I now have my two original drives (my old external drive), and two backup drives (in the form of my docking stations with naked drives in them.)
Yes I like saying ‘Naked Drive‘.
Now: for a means to back-up my data.
I tried several back-up software solutions including some which were fairly pricey. I finally settled on Carbon Copy Cloner. This application has been around for ages. Originally it was the only program that could ‘clone’ a start-up drive so if your computer’s main drive crashed you could just boot-up from your clone.
This piece of software has matured a lot and now it’s the most robust back-up solution I could find.
Best of all, it’s free (if you use you can give the developer, Mike Bombich, a donation. I did – and it’s the best money I have spent).
What makes this application the solution I was looking for is its ability to schedule back-ups.
I have mine scheduled for 2 AM. In the middle of the night my drives wake up. The contents get compared and files are back-up nice and safe. I don’t have to think about it. It just does it.
The back-ups are also incremental as well. This means if I need an old file I deleted a few days ago, I can still restore it.
This solution works like a charm. And when I need to expand, all I need to do is buy two more naked drives ($140) and then I’m good to go. Scaleability for little outlay.
Easy, cheap, scaleable and reliable.
So why does my new back-up system make me so happy? Why do I feel it’s worth writing about?
One week after I set up my new back-up system, my multi-media drive failed. (No, I’m not making this up. I must have known somehow.)
I would have lost everything had I not back-up.
Yes, I heard it a million times. It it’s been pounded into my head. “Back Up Your Data!”
I now know how important it is.