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How Do You Backup Your Data?

Displaying poll results.
External Hard Drive
  4946 votes / 49%
USB / Flash Drive
  377 votes / 3%
CD/DVD
  248 votes / 2%
Online Service
  691 votes / 6%
Internal Hard Drive
  824 votes / 8%
Online Service
  413 votes / 4%
Other
  854 votes / 8%
I Don't
  1542 votes / 15%
9895 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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How Do You Backup Your Data?

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  • by lwriemen (763666) on Monday January 28, 2013 @12:03PM (#42715739)

    I must be getting old.

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      Right. I took this to mean my personal computer. I used to use a tape drive at home but nowadays it's cheaper and faster to use an external USB attached hard drive.

      However I'm also responsible for the backups at work and we absolutely still use tape (LTO4). All of our backups are cloned and one copy is sent offsite daily to be returned 5 weeks later. Also we have monthly archival backups with a copy sent offsite for 10 years. Tape still makes sense for those kind of backups. We're looking at getting a

      • by vanyel (28049) *

        At work, our primary fileserver has an offsite (80 miles) mirror, with snapshots up to a month back. I'm working on getting something similar working at home with freenas (I work at an ISP, so the offsite isn't a problem for the home setup). Currently I'm doing a nightly rsync of my server to a readynas. My desktop is raid-1, but any data I care about, I try to make sure is on the server and don't further backup the desktop.

    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      My option isn't on the list either. I have a SSH account with 1TB at two of my friend's homes and I back up everything through rsync every night. Likewise, they both have an SSH account at my home with 1TB dedicated each.

      Works like a charm.

      • I took that to be "internal hard drive". I have both local internal and over-LAN internal HDD backups.
        • by Pieroxy (222434)

          If you go there, data on dropbox is also stored on an "internal hard drive" on a computer somewhere.

      • by dj245 (732906)

        My option isn't on the list either. I have a SSH account with 1TB at two of my friend's homes and I back up everything through rsync every night. Likewise, they both have an SSH account at my home with 1TB dedicated each.

        Works like a charm.

        This is the way to go. I personally use Crashplan, and back up the critical irreplacable information among my 3 computers (which only totals about 200GB). Then I also have a couple Crashplan "friends", backup to those is free and automatic. Finally when Crashplan offered a year worth of unlimited cloud backups for about $5 on Black Friday, I took the deal and do that too. I don't know if I will renew though. Their cloud backups service is very slow- less than 100kB/sec usually, when I routinely get my

      • by xaxa (988988)

        My option isn't on the list either. I have a SSH account with 1TB at two of my friend's homes and I back up everything through rsync every night. Likewise, they both have an SSH account at my home with 1TB dedicated each.

        Works like a charm.

        I do this, except one of the friend's is my mum (and it's my computer in her garage) and the other is my laptop (no fire or theft resilience, but still good for disc corruption).

        The --link-dest option is excellent, as it means I have a series of complete backups instantly available. I keep the union of: the last 10 backups, backups from the last 14 days, backups taken on a date ending in 5 and delete the rest.

        The relevant lines from my Zsh-script are:
        date=$(date +%Y%m%d-%H%M)
        older=( $backups/*(N/om) )
        rsync

      • by kwerle (39371)

        So... external hard drive. Thanks for the implementation details.

        • by Pieroxy (222434)

          By your standard, EC2 and Dropbox, Gmail, etc are all external hard drives. Little broad?

    • by danomac (1032160)

      I used to use tapes at home, now I just have multiple computers for really important data mixed with USB hard drives and optical media.

    • Still using tape here at home. About 10 years ago I got a deal on a used SUN-branded HP tape changer (12GB native x 6 tapes). Still using it. More than sufficient for the amount of data (e-mails, documents, spreadsheets, a little code) that we create each day. I just have to be careful with any big ISO downloads, DVD copies, etc. so they don't get backed up (I can always download or copy them again).

      Cheers,
      Dave

    • by tom229 (1640685)
      I had to choose other as well because NAS wasn't on the list, and I felt like that didn't apply to "external hard drive".
    • by msauve (701917)
      You must be old and rich or you're a corporation.

      I can backup all my hard to replace stuff on a single $100 2 TB drive, and I don't have to get involved with swapping physical media. A tape drive which could handle the same amount would cost over $2000, plus a SAS interface, and be slower. I guess if I had to backup over about 60 TB, the $36/3 TB media might make it cheaper, although I'd have to do a lot of tape swapping (or make it 100 TB, and buy an autochanger?).
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      tape is still around, pretty damn competitive for the media, but the drives are re-damn-tarded in price

      your looking at several hundred dollars for a crappy one

  • by Nimey (114278) on Monday January 28, 2013 @12:05PM (#42715775) Homepage Journal

    The fileserver itself isn't backed up, though.

    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      Is the data on your fileserver also on your local HDD?

      • by Nimey (114278)

        Yes, and other computers' HDDs. Aside from DVD rips, which won't be a huge loss if they're lost.

        • by NIK282000 (737852)

          I do the same thing, the server sits out in the unattached garage in case of fire/theft/etc so I always have 2 copies in 2 buildings.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      Cross-backups.

      I dump everything on machine A except /var/backup to /var/backup on machine B.
      I dump everything on machine B except /var/backup to /var/backup on machine A.

      Neither of the /var/backup directories share disks with the rest of the OS.
      Unless I lose both machines, I can always restore either of them.

      To save space/bandwidth/speed, I use a Tower of Hanoi approach with incremental dumps. With five levels, this gives me 16-31 days of backup always online, and no more than one day's of data lost if a s

  • by pwileyii (106242) on Monday January 28, 2013 @12:06PM (#42715787)

    For the data that I really care about, I use a USB drive and an online cloud storage service (Dropbox, Skydrive, Google Drive, etc.). I don't really trust either, but both would have to fail on me at the same time for my data to be lost.

    • by johnw (3725)

      For the data that I really care about, I use a USB drive

      Those are words you don't see very often.

    • by drosboro (1046516)

      For my home machines, I use Time Machine (external hard drive, basically) for all the bulky stuff, and Dropbox for the really mission-critical stuff. My Dropbox syncs to several different machines that I use, including a remotely-located server, just for good measure.

      For my main server (which hosts a bunch of web apps for clients, primarily), I use dual hard drives and a combination of tarsnap and plain-ol' S3 for external backup.

      Of course, just as important as backing it up - verifying the backups occasio

    • So did you select both "Online service" radio buttons?

    • I have a time machine backup to an external hard-drive, I store important data additionally on a NAS with RAID-5 (the next time I buy a NAS it'll be RAID-6 with high reliability disks [URE rate of at least 10^15]), and I also upload to an online service.

      I'm still toying with backing up the NAS to AWS, but I just don't have enough upstream bandwidth to make it comfortable.

      -- Pete.

  • I have two physical internal hard drives. First, I backup each to the other. I then encrypt the results and move the encrypted files to an external hard drive that I store remotely.

    I don't erase the backup files from the internal hard drives. They often prove useful if I mangle a file and want to restore it.

    The external hard drive would serve in case an internal hard drive fails or my PC is damaged.

  • I am afraid of the effects of electromagnetic fields on backup devices. A big scanner takes care of data restore.
    • I am afraid of the effects of electromagnetic fields on backup devices. A big scanner takes care of data restore.

      That's not totally crazy. My MS thesis (among other things) is backed up to 5.25" disks, and those are backed up to 3.5" disks, you know, so it's "future-proofed". Except the future just kept on coming, and I can't lay my hands on a working floppy drive right now. Or a computer with a floppy drive connector on the MB. I assume that at least one word processor I have access to can import WordPerfect 5.1 documents, but I've never tried it. These probably aren't insurmountable obstacles, but the only immediat

      • by magarity (164372)

        I assume that at least one word processor I have access to can import WordPerfect 5.1 documents, but I've never tried it.

        Reading old WordPerfect files isn't all that hard. Meanwhile, I've been trying to figure out how to read my old Leading Edge Word Processor files.

        • I assume that at least one word processor I have access to can import WordPerfect 5.1 documents, but I've never tried it.

          Reading old WordPerfect files isn't all that hard. Meanwhile, I've been trying to figure out how to read my old Leading Edge Word Processor files.

          If you figure that out, let me know, I've got a bunch too. On 5.25" 360K disks. Somewhere.

      • by Kittenman (971447)

        I am afraid of the effects of electromagnetic fields on backup devices. A big scanner takes care of data restore.

        That's not totally crazy. My MS thesis (among other things) is backed up to 5.25" disks, and those are backed up to 3.5" disks, you know, so it's "future-proofed". Except the future just kept on coming, and I can't lay my hands on a working floppy drive right now.

        Been there - I had a PC with a working 5.25" drive in it until just a few years ago - admittedly I never plugged it in. My wife finally nagged me sufficiently and I tossed it out (after letting out some of my frustration on the hard drive with a hammer, just in case...). I still have some floppies - I'm waiting for my grandchilden's 'show and tell' in the 2030s. I'll take along my slide rule too.

      • I keep a working 486 with both 5.25" drive and older 3.1 floppy drives as well as an old 2x CD burner and Dos 6.22. I boot it up once a year to make sure everything still works. It hasn't happened too often, but in the past two years I've had two clients were it's saved their ass.

        One was a small company that was still running their entire database off an old 386 box. Eventually it got to the point where their tape drive failed and it was time to move to a new system before they could sell their company a

  • Small company, 10 employees. Offsite to a Drobo (rsnapshot and Carbon Copy clones of various Linux and Mac servers). Back that up to another external drive.

    Separately back up key info from the servers, including complete email incoming and outgoing, to a portable drive, moved out of my office every night.

    Also site-to-site backup of key Linux servers.

    So I've got backups in London and two locations in Kent, for servers in London and Frankfurt.

    And still I wake in a cold sweat every once in a while...

  • 50 gigabytes for a rewritable BD-RE, and the media is actually durable. Drop your external HDD from the desk, and it's probably toast. Optical discs you can basically throw around and they are still readable. Only problem is that long exposure to UV radiation might do harm, but I'm not going to leave them lying into the sun anyway.

    I have all my data on about 5 BD-REs (most of them photos, some videos, and full e-mail archive. Operating system configs and the like are just a drop in a bucket).

    • 50 gigabytes for a rewritable BD-RE, and the media is actually durable. . . . Optical discs you can basically throw around and they are still readable.

      Maybe you're not throwing them hard enough.

      But seriously, as to longevity, have you seen any good studies? I'm serious. I did a brief Google search, and the only scientific results I found were in a French study from 2011 that concluded that BDs were better than DVDs under accelerated aging conditions. Except they didn't know just how accelerated the conditions were, just that they used 80C at 80% R/H and started seeing meaningful increases in error rate after hundreds of hours.

      So do you re-read and burn an

      • by Zarhan (415465)

        So do you re-read and burn anew your BDs a few times a year, or annually, or some other method? What's your strategy and experience?

        I have two sets of discs, one offsite (stashed in a cabinet at my workplace), one local. I do incremental increases on the local, and occasionally (twice a year or so) swap the sets, and when this happens I do a full backup on the new local set. Upon writing, I do and instant verification on whether it's readable. I don't care if discs fail years from now, as long as the data l

  • My PCs are fully backed up to my WHS every night. The WHS itself backs up nightly to a USB drive. The WHS backup, most of the WHS data, and PC backups are synced to another USB drive that lives in my office and comes home about once every two weeks.

    The WHS data is backed up online to CrashPlan, except my movies, which are backed up to another external drive that lives at a friend's house.

    I also have a bunch of stuff, mostly documents and notes, in Dropbox which is backed up online, to 4 different PCs, and i

  • What would I choose between Online Service 1 and Online Service 2? Hmm... I wonder...
    Apart from that obvious poll flaw, multiple methods. 2nd Internal HDD mirrored to two External HDDs for all my data that matters, and Online Service for some documents I absolutely don't want to lose and would like to access from different locations.

  • built from my old gaming PC with two 1TB drives in a mirrored configuration. The really critical data is also stored on an external HD at work.
  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Monday January 28, 2013 @01:04PM (#42716491)
    All my data is backed up by the NSA. System restore is just a FOIA away.
    • by Ken_g6 (775014)

      All my data is backed up by the NSA. System restore is just a FOIA away.

      Except after they're done removing all the "sensitive" information, you'll find that your backup is [redacted].

  • I'm going to have to go with "Online Service" simply because I don't really have any critical data that I store on my personal computer.

    I've got webmail. I use Google Docs because I don't have to worry about paying the Microsoft tax, and because it's really easy to collaborate with it. I've got a dropbox, because I work on other files in many different places.

    Just about the only real data that I store on my home computer is the media files that I torrent. And truthfully, if I need to replace those again,

  • If it's super important, I email it to myself. If it's double secret super important, I email it to work.
  • I have both a souped-up desktop at home, and a laptop I take with me most places. Anything important is stored on both hard drives. Anything really really important is already on someone else's system. Yes, it's conceivable that I'll lose something if my entire town is destroyed by a tornado or something, but under those conditions my lost data is the least of my concerns.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      Yes, it's conceivable that I'll lose something if my entire town is destroyed by a tornado or something, but under those conditions my lost data is the least of my concerns.

      Maybe in the short term, but you might be a bit annoyed a year or a decade later.

      One of my dad's relatives had some kind of old video camera, from the 1950s, and it's a shame their house burned down and I can't see the films. It's not that big a deal, but it's the only thing in that house I would care to have now.

      My backup of everything is in the room adjacent to the host system, simply because my internet connection couldn't handle the load otherwise, but my backup of what's important (~60GB) is 200km awa

  • My Synology NAS backs itself up to an ioSafe fire and waterproof external drive.

  • I am a freelance software developer, and photography is a hobby of mine (wouldn't dare to call myself a photographer :). I have a few computers in the home office/household that need to be backed up, and about a 1TB of pictures (JPG and RAW).

    After years of (occasionally) backing up my data to a variety of external USB drives I bought a Synology DiskStation DS412+ [synology.com] about three months ago, and I couldn't be happier. It holds 4 disks in a RAID (hot-swappable), offers Time Machine backup for the Macs, NFS for th

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      My backups are also to a NAS setup (in my case, an Airport Base Station with a fireproof external HD).

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      Same here - Synology NAS.

      Surprised NAS isn't an option on the list actually - surely this is quite common among Slashdotters. Or do drives in a NAS still count as 'internal hard drive'?

      Anyway yeah, my computers do a regular rsync to over the home network to the NAS. The NAS has drives in RAID 1 (yes, RAID isn't backup, I know that, but in this case the RAID array as a whole is backing up the computers).

      Additionally, every now and again, I pull a drive on the NAS and take it to my parents' place on the other

  • My server backs up on to the desktop. Currently the desktop backs up an internal drive. Once I upgrade the server (stalled, in part due to HD prices), I will backup the desktop on the server: a mutual backup exchange. When that day comes, I may also do a backup exchange with a friend's server located in another state.

  • I have two identical external HDDs. One of them is always inserted in my workstation. The workstation backs itself up to this disk nightly. On occasion, I will swap the current external drive with its twin, and take the removed one to storage at another location. Also, the nightly backup is also done across my LAN to a Samba file server. So there are three copies of my data at my house and one copy off site. I do not keep the off site copy as fresh as I probably should. Also, I try not to backup stuff tha
  • I *love* these things! Mundane unimportant crap gets backed up on second hard drives, but the huge many-year projects go on MO disks that I periodically swap out for the ones in a safe-deposit box at the bank. $25/year is a really sweet deal to have it not matter if my house burns down.

  • Another computer's drive, USB drives (flash and HDDs), etc. For me, mostly another computer.

  • Bittorrent (Score:3, Funny)

    by operagost (62405) on Monday January 28, 2013 @05:06PM (#42719651) Homepage Journal
    Upload to bittorrent with the title, "Best of Brazzers". Have 1,034 leechers right now.
  • I just tell my Mentat.
  • A server and two workstations. All "important" data is mirrored on all three. If I had any really important data I'd back it up off-site, but I don't.

  • I know I may be a bit over the top, but I have teamed up with a friend and with my brother to have a trans-national backup system with servers in three locations in two countries.

    I back up to my friend's server abroad via rsync. This server (which is also my main mail server) backs up to my brother's server (the backup mail server) with a Time Machine-like perl script so I have generations of backup available on my brother's system. (It is a deliberate choice not to have generations of data available on m
  • So I am one of the odd ones, but currently, I have 2 drives in my PC;

    D:\ 2.0TB
    E:\ 1.5TB

    Stuff I care about on D:\ backs up to E:\. E:\ is used only for this purpose.
    I am in the process of evaluating cloud photo\video sharing sites to have an "offsite" solution for media of that type.
    For music, tv, and movies, I use iTunes. I download all to D:\, and know that, unless Apple goes belly up, I can download all of them again with minimal fuss.

    As soon as i can afford it, i want to get a home NAS, though.

    RAID is no

  • I voted for external hard drives; but some of the backup drives are themselves mirrored, and some data is additionally backed other ways: DVDs, or Magneto-Optical drives.

  • I back my data up to a flash drive that's been reformatted with ext4. That way my backup program can use links to represent files that haven't changed and save space. Currently, I have about 17.3 GB data and 14.5 GB free space on a 16 GB drive.
  • Using a film camera. Then I scan the negatives for double redundancy and write the scans to tape.

    Of course, I spend so much time doing backups I never have time to use the source data.

  • by yorkrj (658277)

    If it's really important, I email a copy to myself via a free email account.

  • Well, I voted for "internal hard drive" but it hardly describes my mdadm raid6 setup with 5*2TB drives stacked in the basement and configured with rsnapshot to backup all my family's PCs twice per day.
  • Some things are just cache to the Internet - > no back-up. Other things I could get back with effort -> double internal drives, it's not a perfect solution but hey... if the house burns down or my place is cleaned out I have other problems too, you know? The really important stuff -> offsite, but in all honesty most of that is also backed up in my memories. You could say they're irreplaceable but if someone offered a fat enough check for me to walk away from my entire life, all photos and trinkets

  • I output everything to the card punch, and put each deck in separate drawer in the cabinet. Doesn't everyone?
  • I use several techniques:

    - Backup server with a nightly wake/rsync/shutdown script.
    - Tape drive.
    And other non-backup solutions that nevertheless mitigate the effects of hardware failures:
    - "Backup" hard drive inside computer (basically option #1 but internal), rsync'd to daily.
    - RAID-1 everything.

  • I have a remote VPS in a data center somewhere in New Jersey (Linode rules), and I keep a copy there of anything worthwhile. I let them back the whole system up regularly for me, assuming that they know what they're doing and won't lose my data. So far so good.
  • I think anybody who doesn't want to lose data should be using more than one of the choices above.

  • I have a home media server with all my data on it.

    About monthly I back it up to a hard drive which lives in a firesafe in the house. After the backup I swap the hard drive with an identical drive which I keep in the trunk of my car. The car drive goes gets the full back up and goes into the fire safe.

    The car is about as offsite as I can afford.

    So:
    * One online backup on my home server
    * One offline backup in a fire safe
    * One offline backup in my car

    FWIW I have just under 1TB of data, and use rsync to synchron

  • Personal PCs at home are backed up to an extrnal drive.
    At work I backup to a hard drive (backup server) which is then replicated to another server. The backups are also copied to tape for external storage provider (mainly for monthly and yearly backups)
    I suspect, in the future we will dispense with the tape backups unless we're really required to keep information indefinitely!

    On a side note, but still on topic, my brother's got an iMac and a Time Capsule. He had to change the hard drive a couple of months a

  • I'm fucking broke. I just put all my important data on my external hard drive usually, and rarely access those drives (though it is always mounted for easy access). It is primarily for storage. I can't just go out and buy a 500GB or 2TB drive for every type of file I have... it costs too much, internal drives can be a PITA (and "too many" are just not possible), and external drives can be unreliable (requiring ripping it out of its enclosure and converting it to an internal drive, like I had to do with o

  • is this some sort of subliminal reminder that you shouldn't rely on a single online service for backup?

    or is one of them supposed to be "online service" with the other one being "online service with complimentary government server monitoring"?

  • The bulk of my data is stored on redundant, external hard drives. Actually they're normally internal drives but I have the USB to HDD adapter...so they're as good as. Also I have a Media Center/Fileserver PC that has the third copy of all the important data. One of the drives is in a safe deposit box at the bank.

    But while the data is on a couple of drives, I also have some of the data I'm actively using on several other sources.

    Music for example is stored on the two drives but at the same time they're on my

  • I dont backup because I dont keep anything so important on my computer I can't do without it.

I tell them to turn to the study of mathematics, for it is only there that they might escape the lusts of the flesh. -- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"

 



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