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Don't forget your backup!

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#1
frax

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Hi all,

Just a friendly reminder to not forget your backup solutions! I recently had a drive failure, and I managed to get away without much problems - basically no data loss, and just a bunch of hours lost in hardware tinkering and restore operations (and some cost for restore/new disk). In the end I emerged with a bigger, faster and more reliable disk!

I had a RAID0 array in my workstation. I set this up a long time ago, to squeeze more speed out of my data storage and to get a bigger disk. When I bought the workstation, disks were much smaller than now... In case you don't know - RAID0 is a way to let you span your data over two disks. Since the data is read/written from both disks at the same time, you can get higher transfer rates (some 30% more, maybe?). You can also get a unit with a bigger disk size this way (it looks like one drive with the size = the sum of the size of the two disks) In the end I didn't feel that I gained much more speed out of it... The caveat is that you have a higher risk of failure. If one of the drives in the array fails, the risk is that all data is gone.

And this is what happened, and not with much warning.

I had most data backed up to an external disk, and the rest I downloaded from the online backup service provider that I am using (backblaze, I love you!). I ended up ordering a drive with the full backup from backblaze as well, easier than downloading files/directories.

Most of the time spent was in configuring and restoring the setup with the new disk - moving from RAID to ordinary disks.

And now I have one more reliable unit, with much faster transfer rates (a modern disk) and a size that will fit me for quite a while (2 TB).

So don't forget to look over your backup strategy now and then, and to do some dress rehearsals to make sure that everything works... !
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
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#2
GISRox

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I can certainly echo your sentiments. I ended up losing a few items. Most notably my Outlook PST file. Still don't know why that wasn't getting backed up. I basically lost about a years worth of contact info and other such items. I've since gone a bit overboard with my backup. I use three rotating external drives and also backup critical items to the cloud.

I'm curious to know if anyone else has any good tips or tricks for ensuring a successful backup.



#3
Robert2009

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There are free softwares that enable you to extract lost data. I had my external hard drive that was smoked and return back to my agency but I am not sure if they did this...so that is another way you can do...

Never heard of RAIDo before...

#4
Adam Wilbert

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I can certainly echo your sentiments. I ended up losing a few items. Most notably my Outlook PST file. Still don't know why that wasn't getting backed up. I basically lost about a years worth of contact info and other such items. I've since gone a bit overboard with my backup. I use three rotating external drives and also backup critical items to the cloud.

I'm curious to know if anyone else has any good tips or tricks for ensuring a successful backup.


I'm not sure there is such a thing as going overboard with backups. One of my GIS professors used to tell a story about his house getting hit by lightening and it wiped out all of his backup thesis Zip disks sitting on a shelf. Not sure how true that story was, but it certainly put the fear in his students!

I personally use a free Dropbox account for super critical files. All of my GIS data and project archives live in redundancy on a Drobo disk array, and the computer itself is constantly being duplicated onto an external drive through the Mac Time Machine program. And I'm still paranoid! The next step is to sneak another Drobo into my brother's house across town and mirror everything to that.

Adam Wilbert
CartoGaia.com & AdamWilbert.com
Lynda.com author of "Up and Running with ArcGIS"


#5
pghardy

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As someone said to me about 30 years ago, and even more true today -
"In this world, there are two classes of people - those that do good backups, and those that haven't yet lost all their data!"
--
Paul Hardy
ESRI Europe (phardy@esri.com)




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