my back up system- curious what others think


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JoeZ
JoeZ
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I backup to 3 locations- my 2nd, internal drive, and 2 external drives- each day I do one backup, rotating the 3 sites.

My back up definition file says to retain 4 full backups on each and a series of differentials. But each time I trigger the definition file I can choose to do a full backup or a differential. Before I choose- I look at the files to see how big the last differential is.

I notice that after about 4 differentials, the last one is about 10% the size of the full backup.

So, without a good reason I usually choose the full backup when the last differential is about 10%.

I should think when the differentials get much more than that- they're not much more efficient than doing a full backup and they are probably less "safe" than the full backup. Since I have a very fast system- neither the full backup nor the differentials take much time. I just go get a cup of coffee while Macrium does its work.

So, with 3 backup locations- each with 4 full backups and associated differentials, I have a dozen full backups and up to 4 times that number of differentials.

Lately, I keep 1 of the external drives disconnected to ensure against any malware that could damage the entire system.

In addition to Macrium backups- I also do "manual" backups- by copying all my MS Office files and my photo collection to all of the above and flash drives- periodically. Saving the Office files is the most important thing I must do- with something like 12,000 files.

Is this a reasonably good practice?
Joe

Froggie
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Joe, it's way better than mine w00t  You seem to be well protected... the only thing you're missing is keeping one of those (2) external backups off-site, protecting you against possible site damage (fire, flood, earthquake, etc.).
jphughan
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If you already have 2 external drives, which means you can always have one offline at any given time as the ultimate malware/ransomware protection, then I don't really see the need for backing up to a third location, especially an internal disk that will always be online and therefore technically at highest risk.  There's certainly nothing wrong with making more backups to that disk, but I question the value.

If after 4 Differentials they're still only 10% the size of the Full, that still seems quite a bit more efficient than running a new Full to me -- 90% more efficient, to be precise.  As for safety, it's true that restoring from a Differential requires an intact Differential and an intact parent Full, whereas a Full has no other dependencies.  If you have the time and storage capacity to run frequent Fulls, then in theory yes that's safer.  From a practical standpoint, Differentials and Incrementals have been supported in a wide range of backup applications on the market for probably decades, and have been widely used during that time with great success, so if capturing frequent Fulls isn't ideal for you for whatever reason, then you shouldn't feel uncomfortable using Diff/Inc backups, especially if you've got a disk rotation across 2 or even 3 disks and you're performing daily swaps to keep them current.

For your Office files, what risk are you trying to mitigate by backing those up separately?  Assuming your Reflect backups are image backups, Reflect also supports File & Folder backups if you just want to some specific data to be included, and then of course you can run that on a more frequent schedule if needed.  If you just like having your data stored as regular data rather than packaged into a container file of some kind (or need that for functional purposes), then I use an application called Allway Sync to serve that need, and I love everything about it.  You can find out more by looking into it and experimenting, but some of the things I like about it:

- It has native support for all kinds of storage locations, e.g. local drives, network drives, FTP, lots of cloud storage providers, etc, and rather than a basic two-way sync, you can set up multi-way syncs (hence the name) -- so for example you can say, "Keep a copy of this folder on my C drive, my E drive, my Google Drive, and my network share".  Then you can either do a one-way sync where one location you designate as authoritative always overwrites the others with its contents, or you can do an "all-way" sync, where it will check which of those locations has the latest version and replicate that out to the others -- for each individual file.  So if the most recent version of File A is on Google Drive and the most recent version of File B is on your E drive, it will figure that out and make all other locations current with each of those.

- You can perform an "Analyze run" that will show you exactly what's going to happen if you decide to sync, e.g. "The updated version of File A on your E drive will update all of the other copies, File B is going to be deleted because you deleted it from Google Drive, new File C on your network share is going to get replicated", etc.  The beauty of this is that you can then manually override the default decisions before you actually run the sync, again for each individual file.  So if you just created a massive new file and don't want to spend time replicating it right this second, you can tell Allway Sync to ignore it just for the next sync -- or you can say that you want the older version of File A somewhere else to replicate to the other locations, or that it should be deleted everywhere instead.

- You can do automatic or manual syncing. Since my whole purpose for this is as an anti-ransomware measure by having data backed up into the cloud, I use only manual syncing, because automatic syncing would replicate the malicious changes right away.  But automatic syncing then has a variety of triggers that can be used to determine when syncs occur.

- You can implement rudimentary versioning/retention, e.g. "Store the last 3 versions of updated files before purging them" or "Store files for 30 days after they've been deleted", in which case the previous/deleted files go to a hidden subfolder at that location.



Edited 18 December 2017 2:09 PM by jphughan
JoeZ
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Froggie - 18 December 2017 2:02 PM
Joe, it's way better than mine w00t  You seem to be well protected... the only thing you're missing is keeping one of those (2) external backups off-site, protecting you against possible site damage (fire, flood, earthquake, etc.).

Froggie, that's a good point. I'm aware of that issue and I always think that when I take a serious vacation, I'll take one drive with me- but those vacations never seem to happen.

I've thought of also backing it all up to the cloud- but that would take countless hours. I think I will investigate which cloud would be best for me. Maybe Macrium also has a cloud? That would be ideal. I really like Reflect so I bet if they do have a cloud- it would be a good one.

Joe

jphughan
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Macrium does not offer a cloud backup platform.  Backing data up to the cloud is not always ideal, and not just for performance reasons, but for data security reasons.  There are of course ways to encrypt data on your own system before it even gets sent to the cloud so nobody else can access it, but that's an extra and often cumbersome step.

GO

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