Importance of Backups

This is a short blog post noting the importance of backups. Everybody goes on about them and we should perform backups,but the reality is that we don't we never think a hard drive failure or loss of data will occur or happen to us. Well it did and I was lucky I had some backups already but not that recent. I was also lucky that I caught the early warning signs of disk problems appearing with problems when booting. So a quick execute of a backup program and a few hours later I managed to backup my valuable data. A few days later I went and got a new hard drive, re-installed the Operating System (Fedora 15 x64) and set the restore process. Within less than a few hours approximately half a day. I had enough of a working system to continue work. The point is that although we never expect it to happen and in general disks are quite cheap at the moment, they do fail and if I had not caught everything soon enough I would have been panicking.

I finish of this blog post with a simple run down of ways in which you can backup your data, none of which are expensive in the long run but all have their different advantages and disadvantages.

The first and most common one is to have an external disk which you copy your files to or use the backup software that came with the disk. These are quick way of backing up your files and not worry about them. My advice when using this method is to make sure the disk is bigger than your current disk, do not backup your operating system just your documents and files. Beware these disks can fail just like thehard drive in your laptop or desktop, just not as likely due to less usage. If you wish to backup pictures and music get a separate drive and look at backup elsewhere.

The second method which I use is to have a server with enough space on a disk to backup your data on. This is great if you actually have a server or the know how to have one. However not overly popular with home users.

And finally I would consider looking at alternatives like Dropbox, Google docs, Amazon Webservices S3 and Rackspace Cloud Files. These are all services that our run in the cloud and there are many of them, they all offer different services and benefits. Dropbox is a great way to backup small files and documents, you can even share these with other DropBox users. Google docs is similar to Dropbox but actually allow you to edit and share your documents, you can collaboratively work on these documents and serves as a good way of backing up those important documents. Amazon Webservices (AWS) and Rackspace offer different service based around the 'cloud'. In general terms if you have large amounts of data that you need to store or backup then they offer great services and ways of doing this for a relatively cheap value. These are great off-site backup services as well.

The bottom line is that in this day and age you should be able to back up your data. But be sure to investigate the different methods.