2010-12-29: I’ve updated my backup strategy post here.
I’ve been making backups since I started using computers back in the early 1980s. Software at the time came on cassette tape and 5 1/4-inch floppy disks before transitioning to 3 1/2 inch floppies and CD-ROMs. When my love affair with the Mac began in 1989, I knew what it was like to have a cavernous storage system. I recall thinking to myself, “I’ll never run out of 40MB of hard drive space!” I still have old issues of MacUser magazine advertising 20MB hard drives for thousands of dollars. Now, you can get a hard drive with 50,000 times the storage capacity for a $100!
My current camera generates files that are 14MB in size. Two photos alone would almost fill up my poor Mac SE/30’s hard drive were it still spinning today. My current data set is topping 4TB these days, so my need to keep my data safe and sound is critical. I’ve personally experienced hard drive crashes before, and they are not fun to recover from without backups.
Over the years, I’ve gone through many types of backup strategies: multiple hard drives, NAS boxes, storage robots, online, and off-site storage. I’ve finally developed a comprehensive multi-pronged approach for keeping my data safe and available.
This article will be useful for those who have massive amounts of data to be backed up. If you just have a single hard drive to worry about, get a couple of external hard disks or a Time Capsule. Use Time Machine and be done with it. On the other hand, if you have to worry about backing up terabytes of data, read on!