Backup and Data Protection

AWG

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
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I've become a little paranoid lately about protecting our customer database, programs, forms, etc. It's really THE most valuable thing we own in the shop. Weekly we run the backup utility included with FullCalc and save the files to a CD. But I know that's not really enough.

I've searched the G about backing up and such and think I have the answer (or at least a couple of options).

I've read about Norton (?) Ghost and that sounds worthwhile. But I also wonder if we should also (or instead) have an external HD where we would archive everything on a daily basis. I checked out Dell and found a Maxtor 120G Drive with "one touch" backup for about $200. I also found an Iomega that does the same thing and includes Norton Ghost.

It seems to me that either would be sufficient - BUT I DON'T KNOW and am therefore asking the tech Gods for advice here. Thanks in advance....
 

MerpsMom

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Hi, Kassandra. and Tony. I feel the same. I try to back up to CD-R because this nice forum said that is a good idea. I also have an Iomega Zip drive to which I back up. I'd like to hope that I know what I'm doing. Ha.

I can't find the thread which discusses backing up to CD-Rs. If someone will post that, I'd appreciate it immensely.
 

MarkG1

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Centralia, IL
I also have an Iomega Zip drive to which I back up
I'm not a Tech God, but this is what I do also.

I'm not sure what the cost was, but I bought an external zip drive so that I could plug and play on any computer with a usb port.

Mark
 

MarkG1

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I save to the zip and take it home and load it on my home system for a hard drive backup daily, depending on how many changes I've made.

I also save to a cdr, but not everyday. I print paper copies of all my workorders & invoices and keep all of those also.
 

WizSteve

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Ghost is great for backing up a system so that if your HD dies (as in JFeig's recent case) you can restore a snap-shot of your OS without having to reinstall Windows, all your programs, etc. You don't need to run Ghost very often, usually only after you've installed a new program and it's been running smooth.

Everything else that changes on a daily basis that you consider important (customer lists, invoices, Janis Joplin song lyrics, etc.) should be backed up somewhere and there's plenty of software out there to automate that process.

I personally like making copies of my data in several places on my network as it's convienent and easy, but to be safe you should also dump it to external media such as a CDR or external drive. There's different media rotation methods out there to insure you've got full coverage just in case you need something from a month or so previous. You should also periodically store a copy off-site somewhere in case of a major disaster.

Finally, some people might say what type of media you're backing up to is important, which would exclude the use of zip drives for back-ups, but you didn't hear it from me.
 

Jay H

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At a TV station I worked at their computers had 10 hard drives. Every time you saved anything on one hard drive it was actually saved once in its entirety to one hard drive and then divided nine times. One ninth was saved on each of the others. That way you could totally remove any one of the hard drives in the server and it would still work just fine. You also didn't have reboot it at all. "Hot swapping" the geniuses who worked on them called it. If I could only fit one into my lunch box I would make you a good deal on it!
 

WizSteve

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Yeah, that's called a RAID setup..

we breifly touched on that subject here on this thread...
 

Bill Henry-

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Without a doubt in my mind, Dantz’s Retrospect is one of the three most useful hunks of software that I use.

Without fail, I back up my system once a week. With Retrospect, the program does “incremental” backups (i.e. saves only those files which have changed since the last save), so your disks, CD’s, ZIP’s, whatever don’t clog up with redundant files.

You can set up filters which will stop files (like browser cache files) from being copied. And the “saves” are fast, depending upon the media onto which you are copying. It takes me less than 10 minutes/ session copying onto CD.

Retrospect comes in both the “Express” and “Desktop” versions. I would suggest the more featured version, Desktop, although it is a bit more expensive. (I started with Express, then upgraded ‘cause it is so useful and allows more flexibility in selecting/deselecting files to be copied).

I comes in both Mac and Windows version.

I strongly recommend it.
 

Mike Labbe

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This is a very interesting and important thread.

I have very little trust for zip drives and have had several go bad. That being stated, we do our daily POS (Lifesaver DATA ONLY) backup to a zip disk. They're on a 14 day rotating schedule. (we can restore any day going back two weeks, if necessary)

Once per week I connect to the POS server from the house(with pcAnywhere), and download the entire working program directory to the house pc.(as well as MY DOCUMENTS folder) I connect to our Wizard machine in the same manner, and back it up to the house once per week. (no daily backups for the Wizard, because very little changes) This method is only practical for someone with broadband (DSL or CABLE) at both locations.

In the event of a crash, I'd replace the computer with a new one that has XP, install pcAnywhere, download the POS folder and MY DOCUMENTS folder from the house computer (takes about 3-5 mins), restore the previous night's data from ZIP DISK, and be up in a short period of time.

We also copy the program folders between the networked Wizard and POS Server computers. As a short term crash solution, we could load Lifesaver on the Wizard PC, plug in the USB Zipdrive, restore last night's data, and be up in just a few minutes. This option gives time to go out and buy a replacement PC or hard drive,(after business hours) with a temporary working POS to get you through the day. This may not work with all pos systems, because some require activation keys (copy protection) when they detect a change of hardware.

Zip Disks (100mb or 250mb capacity) are about $9-$12 each, and work at a snail's pace.

CDRs (~700mb capacity) are about $0.05 each, with sales or rebates.

DVDR's (~4,700mb capacity) are about $1 each, and have room to fit even the largest shop's POS data & documents.

Many of my clients use DAT cartridges to back up their server machines with a special drive. These can hold 12,000mb - 72,000mb(depending on drive), and can be scheduled to back up overnight. This option isn't cheap, but it's quick & reliable. Big boxes and larger shops surely use this kind of device. It's probably overkill otherwise


Copying to an external hard drive, and taking it home, is another great idea. A lot of grumblers do this. (I basically do the same thing, but over the internet to my existing home pc's hard drive)

The important thing is that we ALL have some kind of backup policy, because nothing can be as frustrating or disruptive as losing all of your data.

It's equally important to make sure this backup lives OUTSIDE the building. In the event of theft, flood, or fire - everything could be lost.

Do you think this would make a good future poll topic?

Mike

[ 02-11-2004, 11:22 AM: Message edited by: Mike-L@GTP ]
 
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