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Can one back-up too often?
12-13-2012, 02:55 AM
Post: #1
Can one back-up too often?
Good morning

So my backup routine is as follows:
*iMac Time Machined to a Lacie (bootable)
*Primary iTunes files stored on 5D (about 5.5TB)
*Onsite Back-up of 5D to a Drobo 2nd Generation using CCC
*Offsite Back-up of 5D to a G-tech Thunderbolt Raid using CCC
*iPhoto, iMovie and Documents also backed-up to Crashplan & Amazon

So far so good, feeling pretty good. My problem is, how often to I backup my 5D...is there a balance between too often and too long, and if so what is it? My concern is that if I had a virus or corrupted files, if I backup too frequently, all my backups could be infected as well. However, if I backup too infrequently, I could potentially save myself from the virus/corruption, but lose important data that had appeared since my last backup.

Any thoughts about what other people do?

Regards

Alan
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12-13-2012, 06:15 AM
Post: #2
RE: Can one back-up too often?
It would only be a problem if your backup history is too short, i.e., less than a month. If you are keeping snapshots that are older than a few months, there is nothing wrong about updating as often as you feel comfortable doing. Crashplan does it every 15 minutes, if I'm not mistaken.

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12-13-2012, 06:22 AM
Post: #3
RE: Can one back-up too often?
(12-13-2012 02:55 AM)Albion Wrote:  how often to I backup my 5D...is there a balance between too often and too long, and if so what is it? My concern is that if I had a virus or corrupted files, if I backup too frequently, all my backups could be infected as well. However, if I backup too infrequently, I could potentially save myself from the virus/corruption, but lose important data that had appeared since my last backup.

My view is that backups have a cost, and data loss has a cost. The important piece is to identify those costs and find a reasonable balance.

I love online backups* because they reduce the marginal cost of performing regular backups to almost zero. I mean that I don't have to remember to plug things in or click on things. It runs automatically.

If you are concerned that something like a virus could affect all your backups, I suggest that you need a different backup technique. A client/server backup system is not usually vulnerable to such a problem. In the past, I've used amanda and Retrospect. Now I use CrashPlan for this.

*I do not consider a copy to be equal to a backup. A copy is just a point-in-time snapshot without the concept of versions, and it will silently inherit data corruption that occurs on the source. For this reason, I not consider services like DropBox to be true "backups."
In short, I ask 3 questions about a backup:
  • What data is backed up?
  • How far back in time?
  • How many dates are saved?

If it's just a copy, answers 2 and 3 are a disconcerting "these specific dates" and "once or twice."

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12-13-2012, 10:08 AM (This post was last modified: 12-14-2012 11:51 AM by bhiga.)
Post: #4
RE: Can one back-up too often?
Agree with rdo.

Regular "snapshots" are the way to go to be able to "roll back" from a non-failure (technically the backup is still working, it's just backing up unusable/undesirable data) situation.

It's analogous to System Restore Points or Time Machine backups compared to a drive mirror.

Too frequently/infrequently depends on how much and how often you use your system (essentially, how quickly you would notice there's a problem) and how much space you are willing to dedicate to backup snapshots.

If you have a backup solution that stores previous versions of files (like paid Dropbox) that will take you a step closer to a snapshot copy, but it's still not the same since you can't (AFAIK) grab all the corresponding versions from a set point in time.

--Brandon | WHS2011+Drive Bender/2x Drobo v2/Drobo S G1/ Drobo S G2/Transporter
Drobo provides fault-tolerance, it's NOT a substitute for regular backups.
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12-14-2012, 11:34 AM
Post: #5
RE: Can one back-up too often?
hi,
also if you are regularly installing new programs, or using programs to automatically scan and process/update multiple files on your computer, then it probably more likely that something might happen which is not desireable Smile

in which case probably good to take full snapshots, (and keep the older snapshots for a while, space permitting)


but,
if you are just using your drobo for "data files", eg as a dump of files/file store, then maybe another type of backup is ok, such as file synchronisation/mirroring, or other tool which can just update the destination with files that are on the source.
(as long as you dont use destination as source) Smile


also see http://www.drobospace.com/forums/showthr...http://www.drobospace.com/forums/showthread.php in case helpful.

(btw i have XP home SP2, a Drobo v1 with 2x 1TB/2x 1.5TB WD greens, & a bkp Drobo v2 with the same + a DroboShare: unused)
& a DroboS v2 with 3xWD15EADS &2x1TB in DDR mode on win7, & a drobo5D (all usb)
  • btw i did a sustained (write) operation for about 6 hours, and got 13.2MB / sec ...objection? "sustained" :)
    (16.7MB/s on a v2 & 47-96MB/s drobo-s)
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12-17-2012, 09:30 AM
Post: #6
RE: Can one back-up too often?
(12-13-2012 10:08 AM)bhiga Wrote:  Agree with rdo.

Regular "snapshots" are the way to go to be able to "roll back" from a non-failure (technically the backup is still working, it's just backing up unusable/undesirable data) situation.

It's analogous to System Restore Points or Time Machine backups compared to a drive mirror.

Too frequently/infrequently depends on how much and how often you use your system (essentially, how quickly you would notice there's a problem) and how much space you are willing to dedicate to backup snapshots.

If you have a backup solution that stores previous versions of files (like paid Dropbox) that will take you a step closer to a snapshot copy, but it's still not the same since you can't (AFAIK) grab all the corresponding versions from a set point in time.

Thanks for the confirmation on requirement for snapshots. Can you recommend software that would be able to peform this functionality? I think I saw Crashplan?

regards
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01-05-2013, 03:02 PM (This post was last modified: 01-05-2013 03:03 PM by NeilR.)
Post: #7
RE: Can one back-up too often?
I think you have highlighted the huge problem with backing up large volumes of data. Too often, not often enough... there is no right answer.

For my working Windows laptop I use ShadowProtect to do Shadowcopy incremental backups. That laptop has a 500gb data partition that is fairly active, but most of the data just sits there unchanged. Plus the OS drive.

Despite that, I find that I need at least 2x to 3x the space used by those partitions to store any reasonable amount of incremental backups. I am constantly filling drives and as a result deleting incremental and monthly differentials to resolve out of space problems.

I would not even try to do that with the 4TB of data I have on my Drobo. Although the data in principle does not change very often the reality is that it would take enormous backup volumes to hold those Shadow Copies, or any other incremental versioning strategy.

I consider this an insolvable problem. I resolve it as best I can by staggering the sync frequency of my 3 backup copies. YMMV, depending on the volatility of the data.

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Drobo S (V1) 2x2TB WD20EARS 1x2TB WDEARX 1x1.5TB WD15EARS 1x1TB WD10EADS
Single Disk Redundancy (for the time being)
WinXP SP3 via USB2.0
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01-06-2013, 08:48 AM
Post: #8
RE: Can one back-up too often?
hi neil, i know what you mean...
with a slight exaggeration, almost half of my drobo-s is filled up with a huge Acronis dump of my win7 machine.

i didnt partition it into os/data just a full dump.
with the main idea being that if anything goes wrong, i can use the acronis feature to restore the full drive to its last working config.

i heard somewhere that since xp, windows had some secret data using hardware id's or something to stop you replicating an o/s but it seems that acronis sells a version which works.

(ideally it will also work not just if i have to get a replacement blank drive, but if i get another machine - otherwise i'd be extremely cheesed off) Smile

- hopefully i wont have to find my self in the position to have to try the restore but thats not the point Smile

(btw i have XP home SP2, a Drobo v1 with 2x 1TB/2x 1.5TB WD greens, & a bkp Drobo v2 with the same + a DroboShare: unused)
& a DroboS v2 with 3xWD15EADS &2x1TB in DDR mode on win7, & a drobo5D (all usb)
  • btw i did a sustained (write) operation for about 6 hours, and got 13.2MB / sec ...objection? "sustained" :)
    (16.7MB/s on a v2 & 47-96MB/s drobo-s)
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01-06-2013, 01:28 PM
Post: #9
RE: Can one back-up too often?
(01-06-2013 08:48 AM)Paul Wrote:  i didnt partition it into os/data just a full dump.

i heard somewhere that since xp, windows had some secret data using hardware id's or something to stop you replicating an o/s but it seems that acronis sells a version which works.

(ideally it will also work not just if i have to get a replacement blank drive, but if i get another machine - otherwise i'd be extremely cheesed off) Smile

- hopefully i wont have to find my self in the position to have to try the restore but thats not the point Smile

Couple of reasons I always partition my OS install separate from a data partition and try, as best possible, to relocate as much data as possible to the data drive (my documents for sure, as well as some other things)....

The chance of my wanting to restore DATA to an earlier point in time is remote. But there are many good reasons to back up the OS partition to an earlier point in time and I have done it many times over the years, and for awhile on XP I was doing it as more or less preventative maintenance once a year or so. It's a PITA to get all the apps updated and whatnot but it helps to keep the crud under control and "refreshes" Windows, making it run better.

1. I currently have about 400GB of data on my main laptop but only about 40-50GB on the OS partition, without regard for swap files and hiber files, which are not saved or restored (using Shadowprotect).

The restores go much quicker.

2. Since I am typically trying to just restore and refresh the OS, it minimizes the amount of data that needs to be updated. And simplifies the identification of data that needs to be restored from all the various data folders hanging off the root drive, which ever drive that is.

For example, I might go back 6-12 months or more on the OS partition, and if I did that, not only would I have to unnecessarily restore 400GB of data but then I would need to also restore the last backup of my data, or somehow dif or sync the differences to a current state. I would have to deal with this any time I went back to some point prior to the very last backup.

Plus I would lose any work I did since the last backup, which may only be a part of a day (I do dailies) but it could be a problem in the event that I HAD to do a restore and could not do an "emergency" interday backup.

3. I also cull the old incremental and differential backups differently, simply because the data backups are so large (that partition is far more volatile in terms of gigabytes changed over any given period of time).

4. I also suspect that in the event of a power failure or other abnormal termination of the OS (BSOD's) there are far more files open in the OS side of things, and therefore the OS partition is more likely to get killed than the data partition. That makes it less likely I would lose some part of a day's work, or even more in the event my backups were failing for some reason And that happens from time to time when I am not paying attention to things.

5. Some people argue against splitting partitions under the theory that splitting is done to somehow increase performance. I understand that the overall performance across both drives can not benefit from that, and in fact the data partition will not perform as well as the OS partition...

But I think that is not a bad thing because most of the disk activity is done by the OS. If the OS partition is the first partition then all its tracks are in the faster inner cylinders of the drive. If a single mixed partition is used, then the initial OS install should get laid down first, on the speedier tracks. But if the OS is loaded first, then a huge slug of data, all the subsequent programs will be installed to slower outer tracks, as well as any volatile files maintained by the OS.

Just to say that the performance issue is complicated but overall I think there is a minor benefit to splitting the partitions (in the real world).

I recently had a legitimate reinstall of Windows end with the install refusing to activate. I made a decision to just reload windows rather than pursue it and don't remember the details. It's hard to predict what Windows activation will do. In general though, I have not had problems.

ShadowProtect has a "Hardware Independent Restore (HIR) freature that used to be it's claim to fame verses Acronis, where it supposedly would at least get a new machine functional such that you could then get all the drivers straightened out and updated. If you use OEM Windows then you still have to buy a new key. It may be that Acronis has added that feature but I am not that familiar with current Acronis features and it may vary depending on version.

Just following the Shadowprotect forums over the years, I'm not convinced it is useful in the consumer world. It is really intended for the Enterprise side where activation is not an issue and enough machines are involved in order to make it worth the time to slog through it.

IOW it is not usually a good one-off solution. I think I've done it successfully once or twice, just to see if it would work, and many years ago I tried it with XP and ended up with the new machine blue screening.

It is probably better to start a new machine with a clean install, assuming you are in a position to reinstall all your software.

Those are just my thoughts on that matter, with little personal need or experience with an HIR reinstall.

If you have never done an Acronis reinstall you should seriously consider doing it as a test, on a spare hard drive, even if you need to buy one to do it. Assuming the ability to do an OS reinstall is important to you. I have always tested my ShadowProtect machines because I don't want to find problems when I am stressed out and trying to get a reinstall done under the press of time.

In particular, if you usually need to access the Acronis files over your network, as I do, it is very important to work through the network driver issues while you have a good working machine so you can download drivers or do any required internet research, if necessary...

In my case, for my machines I need to keep working network drivers accessible some place I can access while doing a ShadowCopy reinstall under the optical disk's special boot-up. With ShadowProtect I have to manually load those drivers from some place I can access.

I keep those files on the Drobo, which I can always plug into any machine and access in the special boot environment (and I have tested that many times with each machine doing ShadowCopy backups). I also keep them on my data partitions, which is most convenient in the case where I am just restoring the OS partition. A Flash Drive is also a good place to keep those important drivers (and any other bits and pieces required to do the reinstall).

I have, on occasion, moved the required ShadowCopy OS partition backups to my data partition, and then directly restored them from there. That in the case where it is planned in advance and I have plenty of time to move that data, plus space available. It simplifies things verses scrounging up backups and drivers over the network, where it is easy to run into catch-22's where the network drivers are not accessible until those drivers are loaded :-). I also store those drivers in my data partition. Just another good reason to split the partitions :-)

I bought ShadowProtect many years ago. At that time, my research suggested that Acronis is far more likely to have restore problems, and the support was not as good. It was a "get what you pay for" thing, because ShadowProtect is relatively much more expensive (depending on the era and versions).

Some of that may have shifted over time, but I'm only suggesting you test an OS restore, especially with Acronis. It is a much less expensive app, with commensurately less support when you critically need it, assuming you have time to deal with any complex problems in a crunch situation.

_____________________________________________________
Drobo S (V1) 2x2TB WD20EARS 1x2TB WDEARX 1x1.5TB WD15EARS 1x1TB WD10EADS
Single Disk Redundancy (for the time being)
WinXP SP3 via USB2.0
Win7 Pro, via Rosewill RC-219 eSata HBA
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01-07-2013, 11:14 AM (This post was last modified: 01-07-2013 11:14 AM by Paul.)
Post: #10
RE: Can one back-up too often?
hmm, initially i went with acronis in Full drive dump mode, (as the single hard drive actually has a couple of other tiny pre-configures partitions, though 1 main bootable partition) and mainly because there were so many files (or info/configs) dotted throughout the windows profiles, pics/docs/etc that it seemed easier at the time to do a full dump.

(and the full dumps seem to be browsable via the dump file explorer)
plus some tech savvy friends recommended it based on their experiences
and it was cheap on offer at the time Smile

but theres a lot to consider here neil (give me some time) Smile
hmm, initially i went with acronis in Full drive dump mode, (as the single hard drive actually has a couple of other tiny pre-configures partitions, though 1 main bootable partition) and mainly because there were so many files (or info/configs) dotted throughout the windows profiles, pics/docs/etc that it seemed easier at the time to do a full dump.

(and the full dumps seem to be browsable via the dump file explorer)
plus some tech savvy friends recommended it based on their experiences
and it was cheap on offer at the time Smile

but theres a lot to consider here neil (give me some time) Smile

(btw i have XP home SP2, a Drobo v1 with 2x 1TB/2x 1.5TB WD greens, & a bkp Drobo v2 with the same + a DroboShare: unused)
& a DroboS v2 with 3xWD15EADS &2x1TB in DDR mode on win7, & a drobo5D (all usb)
  • btw i did a sustained (write) operation for about 6 hours, and got 13.2MB / sec ...objection? "sustained" :)
    (16.7MB/s on a v2 & 47-96MB/s drobo-s)
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