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#1
Hans van der Maarel

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I'm looking for some advice on a good backup solution.

Previously, I used 2 portable USB disks of 160 Gb each and made manual, alternate copies. However, they're rapidly proving to be too small. So I went ahead and got a 1 Tb external drive and JPSoft's "CascadePoint" backup software.

However, that's not really working out. I went for the scheduled backup option, but it took 45 minutes to back up about 230 Mb (of about 150 Gb that needs to be done), during which my system was agonizingly slow and unresponsive, so that's not working out. Hate to think what the 'archiving while you work' option would do...

I've gotten rid of CascadePoint ($35 down the drain, oh well...) and am considering setting up a batchfile to copy the contents of various directories on my data/projects drive to the external drive. I would like to know whether there's alternatives though (and I mean alternatives that work well with huge files).

I don't mind having to run it and then not be able to do 'big' things during that run, but running it during the night is not an option.

Would welcome any comments and suggestions you may have.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#2
CHART

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Hans,

I use WinZip. I created a series of winzip backup jobs and a DOS .bat file to run the lot (when I want to do a complete backup). I tested of lot of different backup software and this solution turned out to be the best fit for me.
Chart

#3
rudy

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Our own experience is that USB drives are much slower than Firewire drives when connected up to a Mac. Not sure what platform you're using but you might want to look into it.

#4
Sky Schemer

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I use Acronis True Image and it's fantastic.

USB is awful for this sort of thing. Really. The performance ranges from excellent to crappy and is dependent on your CPU, driver quality, endpoint hardware and read/write profile (bulk reads and write are best). Worse yet, USB stability is hit and miss, and there are a lot of bad implementations out there. Firewire is far less fragile for mass storage.

If you have the $$$ get a SATA card with an eSATA connector and hot-swap capability. Very few motherboards support hot swappable drives.

#5
Hans van der Maarel

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I use Acronis True Image and it's fantastic.

USB is awful for this sort of thing. Really. The performance ranges from excellent to crappy and is dependent on your CPU, driver quality, endpoint hardware and read/write profile (bulk reads and write are best). Worse yet, USB stability is hit and miss, and there are a lot of bad implementations out there. Firewire is far less fragile for mass storage.

If you have the $$$ get a SATA card with an eSATA connector and hot-swap capability. Very few motherboards support hot swappable drives.


Thanks for the USB vs Firewire comments, but I did have one Firewire drive croak on me about 3 days after buying it (and to make matters worse, I was using it as a main project drive, not as backup...)

The problem is that I'm dealing with limited space and (slightly less) limited budget. I'd love to add a dedicated pc in my network with lots of storage and a big tapestreamer, but at the moment that's simply not an option (my X-mas wishlist includes a house with dedicated home-office, maybe Santa will be nice to me this year...)

I'm kinda tempted to go with Jacques Winzip-option. Maybe not Winzip, as I have plenty of space on the external drive, should be able to save 2 versions of everything there, plus the latest one on my project drive.
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#6
Sky Schemer

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Thanks for the USB vs Firewire comments, but I did have one Firewire drive croak on me about 3 days after buying it (and to make matters worse, I was using it as a main project drive, not as backup...)


Firewire is an external interface, not a drive interface. Making a hard drive work with firewire is as easy as buying an external enclosure that supports it. In the US, these can be had for as little as $30. Some support both Firewire and USB, though that will generally cost an extra US $10. Just make sure the internal interface matches your drive, which is probably SATA.

If your drive crapped out on you, it was likely the drive, not the interface.

I'll plug Acronis briefly because it's worth the money. The nice thing about Acronis vs. home-brewed solutions is that you have a lot more flexibility in both backing up and restoring. I can make "differential" backups, where you have a full backup of your target folders/drives, and then individual backups that are deltas of the last full. I keep a week's worth of differentials and a full around at all times. This lets me restore any individual file or files from any point in time over the past week, and I only need two backups (a full plus the latest differential) to do a complete restore. True Image can also backup open files. The package can even manage backup areas by space, keeping as many backups around as you have physical room to store, and deleting old backups as needed.

The backup archives integrate with Windows explorer so you can double-click on them to browse around and extract files. Very handy.

There are a lot of areas where "free or nearly free" software is almost as good as more expensive, commercial packages, but so far, backups isn't one of them. There's a lot of absolute crap out there for US $40 or less.

#7
Holograph

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I have an HP Media Vault that I use two separate ways. I schedule SynchBack SE each night to make copies of all files that changed during the day, so that there is a daily shadow copy of my most important directories. SyncBack SE can be configured to just copy selected directories. I have one 80Gb drive that I use for most current projects, so that is the drive that I back up each night using SynchBack SE.

I have a second 250GB drive that contains large data files that seldom change, so I schedule a full backup of that drive once a week, using the software that comes with the Media Vault. That takes about 12 hours to back up to the Media Vault, but I start that backup on Friday night and let it run through the day Saturday. It doesn't interfere much with my weekend activities. The software does compression, so a 300GB Media Vault drive holds both my daily mirror and also the compressed 250GB backup, with about 100 Gb to spare. The Media Vault has a spare bay for extra storage and so can expand up to 1 TB, if I recall. You may even be able to install one of 160GB drives you already have into the Media Vault's second bay, but you would have to verify that.

The Media Vault software also can do synchronous shadowing, or can be configured to do offline shadowing like SyncBack SE, but I found that when my PC was rebooted the Media Vault reset to synchronous shadowing, which was annoying and slowed my work down. That's why I also obtained SyncBack SE, because it was well-behaved after system restarts.

#8
merft

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What I used to do, before we moved to a centralized project server, was used two separate external hard drives. I had a Seagate that backed up my project folders and a couple others each day. Then at the end of the week I would duplicate that Seagate to another hard drive and take it home. Our power is really flaky and we get lots of greyouts. Though everything is on UPS devices, I feel more comfortable having data offsite for theft, fire, lightning, etc., reasons. Then I know I will at most loose only a weeks worth of work. -Tom

#9
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I am using Mozy now for my personal stuff, which doesn't change that much. Incremental backups encrypted and uploaded to a server in Utah, for a very reasonable amount (unlimited storage). To bad that my upload bandwidth is slow, larger backup jobs can ran over 24 hours.
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#10
Hans van der Maarel

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Happened to see an ad for the Acer Altos easyStore (for some reason only available through Acer in The Netherlands, Acer Global denies it even exists... :blink: )

Basically it's a box with 4 500 Gb HDD's, does Raid 1, 5 and 10, hooks up to the LAN. Pricing is pretty decent, €1000 (a model with half the capacity is a bit cheaper). Been considering things like FreeNAS, but the whole "build the hardware and install Linux" is a bit too much for me.

Looks like I'll be working towards this in the future.
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#11
Sendhil

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I came across this new product called Drobo, which is a data robot. Looks like it automates the backup process, and you can use your existing hard drives - can take up to four. Maybe worth a look.

#12
Francis S.

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I came across this new product called Drobo, which is a data robot. Looks like it automates the backup process, and you can use your existing hard drives - can take up to four. Maybe worth a look.



Reviving this thread:

Has anyone used Drobo? I was wondering if ArcGIS behaved itself with Drobo. Also, is HP's MediaSmart useful as a multi-computer storage and access device (like Drobo)?

FS
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#13
frax

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Francis, are you looking for primary storage (e.g. work/data) or for backup? I don't think drobo would be useful for primary storage for data heavy applications, such as illustrations, gis and remote sensing, but feasible for backup - how it plays with the rest of your work is more up to your backup software. the drobo would have been attractive if it had esata or ethernet - usb2 or firewire doesn't cut it (I think).
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#14
Hans van der Maarel

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I ended up settling with a LaCie Bigger Disk (2 500 Gb drives mirrored), hooked up through Ethernet. Works okay in both Windows and Mac but my hub isn't fast enough to really push through large volumes of data.

Also, not unsurprisingly, I'm starting to fill it up quite quickly... The Drobo looks quite interesting though, especially if data transfer rates are fast enough.
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#15
Adam Wilbert

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I actually do have a Drobo that I bought late last year, and I love it. The v.2 has FW 800 and USB2, but the add-on network adapter only transfers over the USB connection, which is lousy. Mine is connected to a networked Mac Mini instead (using a firewire 800 to 400 cable), and I access all of the data over ethernet from my work computers through the Mini. Not the fastest solution, but it works well for me. Even though the Drobo drives are HFS+ formatted, ArcMap/ArcCatalog haven't had any issues accessing data when I run XP under Parallels. (it does require a little light duty alias hacking through terminal to get the link set up, but its fairly painless and I can help anyone interested in that). As far as the operating system is concerned, the Drobo is just a 2TB external disk drive. All of the data mirroring and drive health monitoring happen outside of the OS.

The selling point for me was the ability to have primary and backup storage in one system, that I don't have to constantly monitor or sync. I know that the version on that drive is the most current version, always. At this point, I save and work on everything off of the Drobo, I don't store anything locally anymore. Its made management between multiple desktops/laptops really simple. Take this with a grain of salt though, I don't regularly chug through data at the rate I'm sure many of you do. That said, I'm fairly confident that a drobo connected directly to your primary work computer would out-perform any single external hard drive, and would require significantly less work to maintain, and would not put your data at risk with any single drive failure. And when the disks fill up, just plug in another and get back to work! :D

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