I find it helpful to plan a backup protocol and review it every now and then, since I need to access data from years ago quite often. During the semester I can lose track if my setup is not simple and I report to stop gap measures when a backup hardisk is full. So during the semester-break, I review my setup and fix the inadvertent lapses, feeling quite lucky when data is intact!
Last December, I visualised the arrangement as I had lost track once again. It did become clear that I had been quite safe – current data on my laptop is always backed-up onto cloud storage and I had local backups as well. So I just ensured I was paid up for adequate subscription to cloud services. I did retire a very full 2007 external hardisk and replaced it with an external 3TB hardisk to handle daily backups.
My archives were residing on external hardisks which had been replaced about every half decade to increase their capacity and pre-empt hardware failure. I would rather work with archives on my laptop especially when preparing lectures and talks. However, the very fast SSD hardisks on my laptops which make work so much faster, are not large. So older data must be pushed to external drives.
The visualisation highlighted the fact my very old archives were only on a pair of redundant hard drives. I will now add those to CrashPlan, a cloud based backup plan – it might take weeks to upload but is a background process. I will just have to ensure the drives are powered on until that is complete.
When not active, all hardware is powered off, and this visualisation helped me figure out the most efficient arrangement for cabling and a safe power supply arrangement. With a more convenient setup, I find myself doing local daily backups and shifting data to archives much more frequently.
Yesterday morning, I learnt that Copy.com will be kaput by May 2016. Some of my students had used Copy.com for their thesis work as it offered them a higher capacity of free space compared to Dropbox. With those projects completed, I’ll just need to shift the lot to Dropbox or the archives, along with all my keynotes for public talks.
Actually, I already did!