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Backups, backups or I want a fiber-optic line!

Last week I ran out of second hard drive space. My laptop (IBM/Lenovo T60p) is equipped with two hard drives (instead of hard drive and DVD-RW) – main (80GB) and secondary (60GB). Pretty much all work resides on main (that is – e-mails, contacts, client’s data, software, etc.), part on second (temporary data, raw documents/files, etc). Plus, as usual, some music, movies, small game or two to busy myself on the trip.

Total rough estimate of my E-mail archives + client’s files + other files including raw files that I believe should be available within reach is about 30GB. In other words, 30GB is the amount of data I would like to be able to back up at least weekly, preferably online – so that I will be able to grab them from any place.

There are a lot of online storage options available – ranging from AOL’s Xdrive and hosting services like to various dedicated business solutions. However, they all seem to have one problem in common: in case of a “disaster” the process of recovering 30GB of data off of the internet storage would take me much much longer then fetching a hard drive from home. Now, I’m not saying online storage is bad and is being (ab)used only by illegal software distributors (it is heavily used, though). Unfortunately, most of our internet connections don’t allow us to take full advantage of such services.

Obviously, people who only need to save couple of spreadsheets and contacts database (no matter how important they are) would think different, but as important those several megabytes of data to them, as my 30GB are to me. The difference between our options, however, is tremendous.

2 replies on “Backups, backups or I want a fiber-optic line!”

I use a combination backup method. That is, I back up my backup. Here’s what I do: My main backup is an old HP Celeron 466 in the storage room that has a 150 Gig hard drive. My wife and I are on the network and both of us use Smartsynch to backup our critical files to the backup server. My backup from my main desktop computer is scheduled automatically for 1:00 a.m. My wife is a writer so her’s is hourly. OK, that’s one backup.

I then subscribed to and their online automatic backup. As soon as changed files are detected on the server, which BTW runs Windows XP, those changed files are uploaded to the carbonite server on a low priority basis. I agree that a restore of 10s of Gigs might take a while, but at least if the house and computers blow away in a tornado, like almost happened last March, the data would be available and you can access just what files you want. It’s not all in one bit tarball or zip file.

About once a month I’ll plug in a USB drive and make a copy that way, too. Maybe I’m a little OCD about backups, but I’ve had some sort of computers around the house since the late 70s and I’ve been bitten more than once by a disk failure.

Why did you choose carbonite? Did you look at any other services?

Their pricing seem to be too good to be true 🙂

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