Boring Crap #47: Backups

Have found myself writing about my backup solution on various fora lately, so I might as well put it here and link to it to save myself trouble.

I have four disks in my Mac Pro. I have the following volumes of original data spread out on the disks:

  • OS + Applications
  • User data – all of the stuff I create (photos, music, docs, code, projects) and prefs, and the same for the few others that use this computer.
  • Media – music and video files that I’ve ripped from my collection of discs or bought on iTunes, etc
  • Games – Games dwarf my other apps in the space they use up, and from a disaster recovery perspective are irrelevant. Game stuff I create (like cars for Redline) is stored with my other projects.
  • Windows – VMs
  • Scratch – four disk RAID0 array made of the first 15GB of each disk. 300+ MB/s I/O for Photoshop use.
  • Whatever – 70GB of temporary storage
  • Laptop backup – has disk images for Time Machine and HDD clones from my MacBook.

These are on: a 1TB, a 640GB, and two 500 GB drives. I use one 500GB as a Time Machine disk for my user data. It’s automatic and runs every hour. Each of the volumes except the TM backup, laptop backup, ‘Scratch’, and ‘Whatever’ is cloned to an identically sized volume on a different disk every night using SuperDuper!.

Time Machine gives me versioning and is much more likely to save me from the oh-shit-I-nuked-my-Quickbooks-file problem than the clones (and has already done so). The cloned disks let me upgrade the OS/Apps with nothing to fear, as a reboot and clone back fixes all problems; as well, if a disk does go tits up, I have almost the same availability as RAID1 (I do need to reboot and change some settings).

Finally, my user data is backed up online using Mozy. Currently, I have 130GB online. Most of that (110GB) is my Aperture library.

Mozy has been OK in terms of service – random updates break for various people. When it breaks for me (twice now) I contact customer support and do the uninstall-reinstall dance with the first tier of support before my logs are passed on to the next tier that provides helpful advice that has fixed my problem. The last outtage lasted a couple of weeks, I was annoyed and was planning on looking at the alternatives before my service renewed. I was lazy and it got fixed just as they re-billed my credit card. Awesome.

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