Category Archives: Backups

That’s OK, just restore from your back. You do have a backup don’t you?

Living Dangerously

There are many enduring images of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The look of shock when Bush first ears of the attack. The aeroplane a split second from impact. Shocked survivors and onlookers alike covered in white ash.

Maybe I am just a computer geek, but one thing that struck me (and others) once people finally started counting the financial costs was the huge amount of paper scattered in the streets after the attack. Go have a look at some of those old photos. Go on. I’ll wait. More than just lives and property were lost on that day.

Sometimes forget the importance of backups.

Ask yourself. If your computer crashed right now, how bad would it be?


Would just lose maybe a day or two’s worth of work? A week? Something priceless? It is so easy to get so caught up with gear acquisition syndrome, and the business of being creative that we forget to protect what we have fought so hard to create.  Browsing the net you can find plenty  of horror stories. Of course they also all knew they should have backed up, or thought they had a proper backup in place.

RAID is NOT a backup

RAID is NOT a backup

So maybe you forked out and got yourself an expensive server with multiple hard drives running RAID. Good to go, right? Not so fast. RAID is not a backup, no matter how much the “Redundant” part of the acronym sounds like it is. RAID is only meant to improve speed or reliability. Things can, and do still go horribly wrong. What if a virus deletes everything? What if more than one drive fails at the same time?  What if your data gets corrupted? What if that intern, or kid sister accidentally nukes your data? What if you just do something really stupid. Yes, you.


These days storage is comparatively cheap. You have no excuse. Yes, you.

So how should you backup your data? Well, that’s really up to you. Generally you want your working copy, a backup copy and an off site backup copy. The best backup in the world won’t help you if your building burns down.

A lot of people are looking at cloud solutions as a tertiary backup, which is great, if you have a fast enough line and a  big enough data cap. Remember, in South Africa, even if you have a fast ADSL line, your upload speeds are still limited to about 512k. Raw footage will take a long time to backup. Google ( e.g Google cloud storage) and Amazon ( e.g. Glacier) both have excellent for short to long term data storage.

Personally I backup all my data to a local server, with automated incremental backups to multiple external drives. In addition I have an external drive that lives in a safe… OK, yes, it’s not in a different location yet, but I’m not perfect. In addition to these, I’m also looking at setting up cloud based storage for my long term data that does not change too often.

In a future post I will show you how to take an old computer or laptop and convert it into a backup server, so start looking for old hardware. A laptop with a broken screen would be ideal as they are cheap, and the server can run “headless” without a problem.

Questions or comments? Ask below.