My backups are actually quite responsible. I use a Drobo configured with a 4 disk RAID array to protect against the failure of a single hard drive. My computers automatically back up to it using Mac’s built in Time Capsule software. I keep a few extra directories with a complete archive of countless hours of home movies, as well as less valuable stuff like my music collection. Once every month or so, I copy the most important directories over to a USB hard drive, which then stays unplugged in case of a power surge.
Of course, that hard drive should be stored off-site, but that would just create a situation where I wouldn’t actually remember to do it with any frequency. Plus this is sensitive information, so it would need to be encrypted and protected. The frustrating thing is that the whole of this collection is less than a terabyte (TB) of data. You can buy a TB of storage on a USB drive for — and these numbers still boggle my mind -- $130. Welcome to the future.
Friends suggested a variety of options including a commercial product called Synology, and a more geeky solution where I back up to an Amazon EC2 node. But I settled on one called Crashplan since it required an incredibly trivial amount of effort to install and comes with a 30-day trial account. I’m starting by backing up 236.1 gigabytes of data on my laptop. Unfortunately, Crashplan is telling me that it will take 40.9 days to back up just this one machine — and this is only a third of the data I want to save.
Fortunately, they offer an option to speed things up: They will mail you a hard drive that you can dump your backup to, and mail back to them. It turns out that the old Post Office is still good for some things, including the shuttling of terabytes of high latency data around the country.
If you don’t want to fork out cash, they offer a number of far more frugal options, including backing up to a friend’s drive: you can find a buddy and swap drives, and share with each other, and configure your files to backup to each other’s remote location.