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Backup, Backup and Backup

Yesterday I visited an meeting from the Apple Store business team in Frankfurt about backups. Very basic stuff, but I learnt a few little details I missed before and got a few new business contacts.

But please take a moment to check your backup situation. Here is my recommendation:

1. Bootable USB SSD drives
Get 2 or more USB SSD disks. Size should be bigger than your internal hard disk.
Using an application like Carbon Copy Cloner, you regularly create a clone of your boot disk (and other important data). Keep one of them at home and take one with your when traveling. In case your Mac is stolen, you can get a new one and simply boot from that disk without restoring first. Back at work in minutes!
For this you keep them separated. e.g. disk in jacket with you while laptop stays in hotel room. Just keep the separated, so one can be stolen.
And Carbon Copy Cloner can be configured to copy whenever the disk is attached. This way you can attach it before you do something else and go away.

2. Time Capsules or NAS
Get 2 or more Time Capsules or some similar NAS systems. We want automatic backups as they happen automatically and we don't need to start them manually. I recommend having at least two separate Time Capsules located in different rooms. Just to avoid having them die in the same water event. And of course having two makes it more likely that one actually is usable for restoring.
The Time Capsules can store 100+ backups from last months or years easily. And as they are local and you can use them over Ethernet, restore can be quick with 40 MByte/s copied. For restoring a folder you deleted last week that will be much faster than a download via Internet!

3. Remote Backup
Having a backup which works everywhere and even provides restoring when your house burns down, is a key element. You an either use a service like BackBlaze or crashplan or in Germany maybe Cloud Backup from Domainfactory or Telekom to do online backups.
Or be your own backup provider and use a software like Arq and provide your own hosting with your own Amazon, Google, Dropbox or SFTP storage account. This eliminates the middle man for management and can be less expensive, especially if you have that storage already. With Arq you can backup to several services in parallel. For SFTP storage in Germany, I can recommend the storage box from Hetzner with up to 20 TB.
The good thing is that even in an Internet Cafe you can work on a document and regularly it is uploaded.

4. Test Recovery
A backup is only as good as recovery. A good exercise when you buy a new Mac is to take the chance and try to restore to that new Mac for a test. Just to see if you remember the required login data, password and procedures to get back the last version of the data.

Backup should be mandatory for everyone. At least for business in Germany you can get penalties if you loose some tax relevant data. And some things I learnt over time: Have always at least two disks. When restoring, the disk is used heavily, so it is likely to die soon. And please encrypt all disks! And for software developers, additionally use version control.

What are you doing?
17 11 16 - 15:55
two comments

2 TB TimeCapsule and a 1 TB USB drive (SSD are too expensive for private users, though I do have a Transcend JetDrive 960 GB for sale at 444 if someone is interested. Wanted to update a 15in MBP from 2012 but bought the wrong drive (requires a 725), so can only use it as an external).

I also disable local backups on all SSDs to reduce wear.
Markus Winter - 18 11 16 - 20:17

I have a 5 tb local backup drive on my wifi network and use auto-backup/synch features of DropBox and Box for professional backup storage AND my remote MacStadium mini I use for development, I also use as an additional offsite backup. The current work/dev files in progress also follow me around on a USB thumb drive. I recently upgraded my Mac with max RAM and a 1/2tb SSD (major speed enhancement); the old hard drive gets specific backups too through USB 3 connection. Too much? Wait till you lose something.
William OKeefe - 19 11 16 - 03:44

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