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Backups of Backups

After being gone for 4 days, I've got a little catching up to do. I try to be prepared before I leave, but I also like to be ahead of the curve, especially with the daily grind of articles, QODs, scripts, and of course, editorials.

 I took my video laptop on vacation, partially since I thought I might do some editing and my wife wanted me to edit a video for her. I did her stuff, but decided to enjoy vacation, didn't really look at email, and didn't edit down any of the footage on my laptop. It's still there, or it was yesterday am. Since traveling home I haven't fired up the laptop to see if things are still working.

 In going through things for today, I ran across this blog from Paul Randal on backups and thought it was interesting. When I was packing up last Thursday, one of the things I did was to connect my external WD drive to the laptop and run a backup. I used the standard Vista backup tool since I didn't want to pick through things and I have them fairly well organized. I didn't take it with me as I don't really need real-time backup. If the laptop fails, I'll deal with it when I get back.

However the blog got me thinking since we have lots of non-work related stuff spread around here. I typically try to get the pictures and video from the family life and get that onto my desktop and then process, upload, backup , etc. from there. I'm woefully behind, especially with kids stuff in getting pictures and video up on the web. Every once in awhile Tia will grab pictures from the camera for her machine when I'm slow, but I've asked her to leave the pictures on the camera so I can get them into one place.

 After nearly 7 years of digital work, I have many GB of stuff. There's an external drive up here, but I haven't backed up in a few weeks, something I need to do today. The drive flakes a little, so I don't leave it on and as a result, I don't regularly do backups. 

However moving to a more regular scheme means that we really need to then invest in backups. I have an old machine, but the spare drives were flaky, so it's off. Plus we were lacking power in the office. I probably need to put it downstairs in the "studio", use it to drive a monitor or two behind me, and also make it available on the network for a general storage place. It would be better than putting a Drobo up, at the $500-700 cost, but not easier or safer. At least not unless I put $300 in there and added RAID capabilities.

It's a similar problem with corporate data. Companies often need to invest quite a bit of  money in their backup schemes to handle the amount and speed of data. Add in the desire to capture stuff from laptops and desktops, and you sometimes are talking a few FTEs and lots of $$.

If you're really paranoid, you need to have a few backups. I've taken to carrying around a 4GB flash key that holds my password safe, important documents, and I transfer stuff with it. However it's not a great solution and it doesn't handle my larger Outlook/Picture stuff.

 And don't forget iTunes. It asked me today to backup my purchases since I bought a few things. It took 5CDs to do that, which is annoying. I need to see if they support DVDs, which is what I really need.

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


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