Home Backup Project - Part 1: Identify the Problem
This is the first post in a series about how I have implemented what I hope is a solid data backup strategy for myself. I may be completely off of my rocker, but I feel a lot more secure about where my data are, and to a geek, this is important!
A couple of months ago, I decided that I needed a better backup strategy. Too much of my data were in one of the following locations:
- On a primary OS hard drive, doomed to likely failure in the next 18-24 months
- On DVD
- On a generic removable drive that has, at times, decided it no longer wanted to be a hard drive
I set out to figure out how to remedy this in a reasonable and cost-effective way. I don't want to break the bank or waste my time with ridiculous backup systems that are more of a hassle than anything else.
Here's what I determined I had to worry about losing and where it was stored:
- Documents and other archived files I need/want to keep - ~8 Gb
- Digital Photos - ~16 Gb
- Music - 200 Gb (I'm an avid collector!)
- Digital Video and Movie backups - _?? Probably 2+ TB (yes, that's terabytes), recorded to DVD+/-R _
- Non-CD Application Installers (Mac and PC) - ~18Gb
- Installation Media - ??
Scope of Backup and Other Considerations
Obviously I couldn't plan to back up EVERYTHING properly. I'm not going to sit down and re-copy all 300ish DVDs of video just to make sure I don't lose anything. I put them on DVDs for the very reason that they're something I could technically afford to lose. I have renter's insurance to cover my purchases. Same goes for my music, but since I access that a LOT more, I'd rather have it backed up digitally somewhere so that in the event that p00p does indeed go down, I can still hear my favorite tunes.
Any regular backup system I came up with needed to be 100% transparent. I don't want to sit at my computer every morning and approve something, or check something, or audit something. This has a low WAF/PAF ratio.
There are also many files I only have in hard-copy that I should probably have a digital copy of somewhere, so that's something I'll need to build into a project plan.
Initial Project Sketch
This is what I came up with to begin this process:
- Do a quick backup to an external drive NOW just so I'm covered.
- Figure out the end game for my data as well as what are some acceptable "for now" options
- Figure out any intermediate steps or tasks to prepare my data to be backed up
- Assign a time line and any additional resources
- Budget for anything worth budgeting
Each of these were inspiring or helpful in some what throughout this process:
In Part II, I'll get into what my "vision" is regarding my data. In addition, I'll set up a basic project plan for how I'll accomplish this new initiative.