My Comprehensive Backup Solution

I was asked recently what my backup strategy was.

I’m not the biggest fan of Time Machine. That’s a really loaded question. I use it on my MacBook Pro, but I exclude a LOT of apps and locations.

A lot of my “working” data is on a paid DropBox account, primarily for easy of use, sync, portability, and version control. I use a lot of cloud services from Picasa to S3 to FTP at Dreamhost to eventually Google Drive. I live in Evernote, Dropbox and Gmail. I use Backupify and Spanning Backup to automatically back up the data stored at Google. I use If This Then That “aka IFTTT” to send almost all social media (Tumblr, blog posts, whatever) to Blogger as an archive. I chose Blogger because they make it the easiest to get it back out.

All my bookmarks are mainly at Diigo, but also Pinboard with a subset at Delicious. I actually wrote a post on it.

90+% of my data is on 2 Drobos maxed out with 4 SATA drives each (I didn’t start with 4 or the larger sizes I have now). I swap out the drives for larger ones when I start to run out of space. If a drive fails (and they inevitably do), no data is lost. I think it’s somewhere around 8 TB now (lots of photos, video, and music).

I use either Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper for bare metal backups (though not as frequently as I should. My internal drives are just getting too big.

I use WinClone to backup my BootCamp partition.I also use ChronoSync to keep/backup particular directories, like documents, photos, and music in sync. It stores them in their native format, so they’re easily accessible. For example, I sync my photos from my MBP to my desktop where they’re on a Drobo and easier to backup to CrashPlan Central. Same type of thing backing up other data from my MBP to some location on my iMac.

I also have a NewTech Voyager that allows me to use cheaper (and more reliable internal drives) to backup large amonts of data that will be offline.

The coup the gras, though, is CrashPlan. They win a bunch of awards, and I prefer them to Mozy, Carbonite, and Backblaze. I have a bunch of different backup sets with priorities, retention schedules and stuff. Some of it is backed up “locally” to a Drobo (both MBP and iMac). The rest is backed up online to CrashPlan+.

I don’t know how many computers you have or how much data, but they have a 1 computer, unlimited plan as low as $3 a month and an 2-10 computer plan as low as $6 a month. Once you set all your backup sets and it does its initial upload (which can take awhile), you can forget about it. If it encounters errors, it can email, SMS, or send you a Twitter DM.

Backing up locally or to a friend’s computer is free.

It took awhile to get it all setup and in sync, but now it’s almost completely automated. The bare metal and swapping drives in the Voyager aren’t automated, but I can live with that.

Basically, if it’s not in 3 locations, with one of them being offsite, it’s not really backed up.

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