Be Serious About Backups

Remember when I wrote in 2011 about how I back up my Macs?  Remember how that was an update on my backup setup from 2009, which added off-site backup?  Remember how that was influenced by John Siracusa on Hypercritical?

Well, I started backing up to Amazon’s AWS Glacier a few months ago using Arq, which leaves me with a 4-2-2 setup: four copies, two local, two off-site.  I’ve been happy with it.  Now I may really need it, because:

  1. My nightly clone HDD failed.  I think this is because the drive died, but based on newer information, I think it’s the filesystem that’s shot.
  2. I was slow in getting my replacement clone in place.  [Note to self: you need a ready spare.]
  3. The HDD in my iMac started showing problems, given that it just cut off one day.
  4. Booting into Recovery mode got me to where I could run the computer, at which point I tried to copy files on over to one of my Drobo volumes.
  5. The boot died before that finished.
  6. Oh, by the way: the Time Machine drive won’t mount.  Yep, my primary and secondary backups (as much as Time Machine is a backup, which it only sorta is) appear to be dead.

None of the three suspect drives is making thrashing sounds, so I’m pretty sure that the filesystem is corrupted.  I get this from Accidental Tech Podcast #40, where John Siracusa — him again — mentions that his wife’s Mac had filesystem errors that he noted because he was proactive about running Repair Disk.  He got them fixed, but right now I’m freaking out.  I have Repair Disk running on my Time Capsule right now, and after that finishes overnight, I’ll run it on the external HDD to which I’ve been cloning my Air.  I pretty much have to have the Air running right now, because it’s my only computer and finals start the 2nd.

I’m headed to the Genius Bar on Sunday to check out my iMac and hopefully get it running.  I’ll then probably have to reinstall everything and erase that Time Machine drive, which is probably corrupted beyond repair.  How will I get the data back onto the iMac?  Online backup, y’all.  Thankfully there’s nothing mission-critical in ~/Documents that can’t wait for an online restoration.  I will selectively restore because, again, I think the filesystem is hosed.

Le sigh.  Off-site backups are going to end up saving my bacon.

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