How I Backup My Macs: February 2011

I was listening to Hypercritical‘s second episode, where they discuss backups, and I realized that I’m overdue for writing about this, as the last update was January 2009. Back then, I asked:

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want: encrypted, incremental, offsite backups. Ideally, I want small boxes [Linux or minis, I don’t care] that I take and put in my friends’ houses. I want to have an encrypted baseline backup when I place those machines in the field, and then I want to send encrypted incremental backups over the Internet to them. In return, I’m willing to host similar boxes for them.

Well, I haven’t gotten that, but Bert pointed me to the solution that I’m currently using in the comments:

I haven’t had time to look into it for my own company (currently I have a RAID 1, an external firewire (every hour incremental) and weekly DVDs stored outside the premises), but CrashPlan Pro may well suit your future needs now.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner. I’ve been very, very happy with CrashPlan, and I’ve done proofs-of-concept with limited datasets. One of the things I like about CrashPlan is that you don’t have to use their centralized service, but you can. You can share peer-to-peer. This is perfect for family and friends, people who are inclined to let you into their house to back up directly or over their LAN. For me, I’ve used the Central service because I’m backing up >1TB of data and want to keep from overloading a friend’s machine, especially one where they have to keep the drive mounted, etc.

Other than that, not much has changed about the backups. My backup system did save my bacon back in May, and now I’m on a newer iMac with a bigger (1TB) internal HDD, so the 750GB that was my Time Machine drive is now my nightly clone, with a new 1.5TB drive as my Time Machine drive. My frustration with Time Machine is that I couldn’t somehow move the files over from the old drive to the new one. It’s not a huge thing, but it’s one of those, “Really, Apple?” things.1 My Drobo is still the same, although one of the drives did fail. I had a ready spare, and everything was copacetic within five minutes. Yay Drobo!

Is there something that you’re doing that I should consider? I’d love to know.

  1. It’s entirely possible that you can do this, but I haven’t figured out how. If you know, please tell me.