The other day I had a friend ask me for a best practice in backing up his self-hosted WordPress blog. At some point his blog crashed and he lost just about everything. This is no good, especially when backing up and restoring WordPress has become so easy!
I follow a rule of data security that no data is secure until it lives in three different locations. For my blog that looks like this.
The fail here is that at any given moment, two or three of these might be in the same place. If I’m at home with my laptop, my portable hard drive and my Drobo, and my apartment blows up, I’m done for. Your third space should be someone in the Cloud or some other safe online backup location away from your other backups.
For my blog it is much easier. I use two plugins, WP-Database and UpDraft to do daily and weekly backups of my MySQL database and the actual files behind my blog. In addition, my host provides daily, weekly and monthly backups.
Here is my backup structure.
Most hosts will only backup your website files, not your database. They leave this up to you. But with a blog, all your most important content is probably the posts which live in the database! Let’s learn how to create a fail-proof* blog backup. Continue reading →
I bit the bullet today. Not buy choice but by necessity.
For the last several months I’ve wanted a Drobo. When the Drobo 2 came out with FireWire 800, my want became a crave. When my 1tb iTunes drive started clicking, my crave became a “oh shit I need to get this fixed” and when my laptop got to 2gb free and my desktop 50gb free and my TimeMachine ran out of space my “oh shit” became, “BUY NOW!”
So, with my tax refund, I bought a Drobo. Not the most exciting thing I could have purchased, and probably sealed the deal of me NOT going to San Francisco Pride, but I had to get it. Otherwise, I’m basically screwed. Either my hard drives are going to fully fail and I’ll lose everything (even my MacBook Pro drive is starting to click) or I’d just have to reformat and love everything anyways.
Western Digital 1.5tb, 32mb Cache, 7200 Green Drive
All that adds up to 6tb of space. Wow, glorious space! It’s super exciting to not have to worry about running out of hard drive space, at least for a while. Plus, when I do? I’ll just have to fork over whatever it costs for a 2, 3 or 4tb drive as those come out. The Drobo can store up to 4, 4tb drives so I have room for 10tb more.
Now I’ve just gotta cross my fingers that it comes in before my drives totally crash. While I was typing this post, my 1tb WesterDigital Studio Edition drive crashed on me… Scary stuff.
So, Friday, my Drobo comes in and so do the three of the four 1.5tb drives. I’ve gotta wait for the fourth drive to come in from NewEgg.com as Amazon.com limits you to 3 of these particular drives per month.
@RadZack asked how the data redundancy worked and how much space would be left over after the redundancy. I honestly don’t understand how it works except that it doesn’t backup entire disks but 1/3 of each drive is saved on another drive so one drive can fail while the other two drives rebuild from their copies of particular portions of it.
Drobolator Capacity Calculator
So you end up with much more space than a normal RAID which simply mirrors your data, it, my 6tb drive would have 2.75tb of useable space while the Drobo has 4.1tb of usable space, an increase of 1.35tb. That’s pretty awesome.
Clive suggested that despite this being an interesting solution to storage problems, it was expensive. While yes, it isn’t cheap, here’s how it breaks down. You’ll find that it’s really the best possible option around, especially at its price point.
@Clive Not really expensive. I haven’t found an option that’s even close to the price for 6tb of storage, expandable to 16tb with or without having to use all exactly the same drives like you can with a Drobo.
And remember, none of these have the same amount of storage space available as the Drobo or allow hot swapping of drives that are of different makes, sizes and speeds. My total was $450 + $139×4 = $1,006. That’s less than any other 6tb RAID array I’ve seen. If you build your own, yes you do save money, in fact you can save up to ~$200. But, you don’t get the feature set of a Drobo or the ability and flexibility in growth. Much less Drobo’s warranty and support, drive specific applications etc etc.
Both of my Mac’s are backed up on a Timemachine, it’s a 1gb Western Digital external. It does a good job but has now filled up completely and thus, my old backups are starting to get deleted. Sad.
So there’s one problem, limited space, and we haven’t gotten to Backblaze just yet.
My entire iTunes library has it’s own external 1tb Western Digital drive. It’s the MyStudio with the FW800. Unfortunately, that drive is down to 40gb of free space and quickly going down from there.
I thought I’d use an online service to backup my data. My iTunes drive is worth thousands of dollars with the media it holds and the idea that it might crash on me… absolutely terrifying.
I decided on Backblaze because of its Apple integration and ability to backup attached, external hard drives. It looked like it was a go! I got into the beta testing and got it all setup.
Only one problem.
Do you know how long it takes to backup 1.175tb of data?! I was only trying to backup the iMac and iTunes drive.
Yeah… I don’t have 125 days!
Another problem? Even if I pause Backblaze, it will start backing up things and eating up all of my bandwidth.
Even though it’s only uploading data to Backblaze, I am unable to do even the simplest of internet functions like a Google search.
Uninstalling Backblaze wasn’t easy either. Even after you uninstall the app, you then have to delete the preference pane from System Preferences. AppCleaner made this easier for me but a novice might find it too difficult.
And I do realize that taking 125 days to upload 1.175gb to Backblaze isn’t their fault. They have great feature though where they will send you a hard drive with all your backed up data if downloading it all isn’t your bag. Unfortunately, pricing for this service are not specified on their site. Now if only they’d send you a drive to back up your data to and mail to them to speed up this backup process…
So, it looks like I am just going to have to bite the bullet and get the Drobo. It doesn’t have any of these problems plus allows me to move all of my drives into one place with redundancy.