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Old 01-21-2017, 07:12 AM   #1
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Backups

A friendly reminder that if you're making music on a computer you should be backing up your work. Don't be that fool that loses hard work to a single drive failure. Backup early, backup often. And automate your backups so you don't forget. If you're already backing (dat azz) up, good on you. Be sure to verify your backups from time to time - there's nothing worse than a drive crash only to find out your backups are bad.

I'd love to hear what people are using for on and offsite backups, and if anyone has an novel solutions or particular problems. If anyone would like help getting backups set up, say something. I'd be happy to help, as would others I expect. It doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. In this day and age there's very little reason for data loss. Don't let your art be a casualty.

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Old 01-21-2017, 07:57 AM   #2
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Re: Backups

Thanks for the reminder, I use dropbox to back up my project files only (not enough room for audio for free) and keep the audio and projects on an external hard drive, but it's not automated and I haven't done it since the holidays. I lost my whole laptop a few months back, and luckily had backed up the night before it gave out on me. It took me a bit to get all my software onto a new machine and get everything to play nice again (seriously, that took a week), but once I did, I was able to pick up where I left off except for a few niche plugins I didn't keep the installers backed up for that I can't find anymore. No big deal, I have new replacements for all of them, just some old projects that have to be modified with the new plugins when I load them up. So, moral of the story, keep the installers or the .dlls around for your plugins, especially if they're coming from a small company, because if they lose their hosting or a new version comes along and they just wipe the old one from existence, good luck getting them back.

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Old 01-21-2017, 08:14 AM   #3
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Re: Backups

Man, that's a good call on plugins. I hadn't really considered that but I can definitely see it being a thing. Glad to hear you came through relatively unscathed. It's a scary thing to wonder if you're going to get your work back.

As far as automation, I recommend [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
. It's free, open source, lightweight, works on Mac/Windows/Linux and has a nice web interface. You pick the directories you want backed up, pick the target drive/directory, and pick a time to do it. It also does incremental backups, so if you're not adding a ton of stuff it doesn't take long. I set mine to 4am nightly and it works a charm.
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Old 01-21-2017, 09:54 PM   #4
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Re: Backups

I have 5 Drives inside of my workstation currently. x1 SSD for OS, x1 SSD for Projects & Samples, x1 SSD For Plugins & Kontakt Libraries, x2 HDD's for Backups. The HDD's are soft-raid in RAID-1 and I do a manual backup to external media once a month which is stored in a lock-down area with other valuables. It's a nice little system but it's still something I have to micromanage and I can make much better.

The eventual plan is to build my own Rack Server for a few hundred (ebay's fantastic for older gen Xeon Server components) and have that as a backup and file manager (not just for audio work though, I have plenty of other uses for a dedicated home server ). I want to move my current Xeon-E5 Workstation into a rack case probably around the same time as well so I can have possibly both of them rack-mounted in a locked cage underneath my desk. Then I can keep my main workstation offline entirely for extra security (maybe reconnect once in awhile to update licensing dongles) and just stick to a spare laptop for online business, double-up on security & stability!

I think with the amount of storage I would require if I was to take an online plan (for all of my critical bits like purchased plugins/libraries/project stem backups etc), it would end up costing me more to do that in the long term like over 2+ years than it would just to store it safely on local hardware I could flexibly use for almost anything, or removable media which I can just keep everything in an encrypted vault and then store in local lock-down or in a trusted off-site location.

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Old 01-21-2017, 10:06 PM   #5
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Re: Backups

Yep I have a striped RAID drive setup. Not that anything I make is worth saving...lol...but I have a lot of pay to play drum samples and such I wouldn't want to use.
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Old 01-21-2017, 10:09 PM   #6
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Re: Backups

I use a combination of external drives and the online service offered by [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
, which is OK for $5.99 per month. Their software runs in the background and automatically backs up your chosen files and/or folders to wherever you want to back up to.

That said, I started using their services, which is solid enough, but it was only meant to be a stop-gap until I set my own backup system in place..but I never got around to doing it..must do that, as there's really no need to be paying somebody else to handle your backups in this day and age.

As for what I back up..well, I have a complete fresh system drive image file that is stored both locally and online, as well as my email folder, all my paid software and plugins and all projects and related audio files.

The current total size is 79,625 files, which brings the total data backed up to 709.2 GB.

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Old 01-21-2017, 10:31 PM   #7
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Re: Backups

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Originally Posted by LichLord View Post
I have 5 Drives inside of my workstation currently. x1 SSD for OS, x1 SSD for Projects & Samples, x1 SSD For Plugins & Kontakt Libraries, x2 HDD's for Backups. The HDD's are soft-raid in RAID-1 and I do a manual backup to external media once a month which is stored in a lock-down area with other valuables. It's a nice little system but it's still something I have to micromanage and I can make much better.
Yeah, that sounds like a reliable setup. Air gapping the external is pretty key in overcoming stuff like Crypto and other really nasty virus's that take advantage of persistently mounted drives. Short of some fairly complex PS scripting or micromanagement of write permissions I don't really know of a good way to have both constant accessibility and full protection. I guess my only concern would be a system-wide event that took out everything (surge or PSU issue or whatever), but I guess the external takes care of that.

Quote:
I think with the amount of storage I would require if I was to take an online plan (for all of my critical bits like purchased plugins/libraries/project stem backups etc), it would end up costing me more to do that in the long term like over 2+ years than it would just to store it safely on local hardware I could flexibly use for almost anything, or removable media which I can just keep everything in an encrypted vault and then store in local lock-down or in a trusted off-site location.
Most of the good online services are a yearly fee for unlimited storage. I'm currently using [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
, though I've used both Crashplan and Backblaze in the past. At $60/year, I've yet to have any issues. I'm currently sitting on 15TB stored, and I know several people that are well over 100TB without a problem. That doesn't mean that they won't pull the rug out from under us at some point, but I think it's the deal for the near future. I push incremental daily with an rclone script (after Duplicati has deduped and encrypted it), but ACD has its own software that's super easy to use and there's lots of others that can sync up with it. You can also FUSE mount ACD for persistence if you're into that.

Crashplan was unbearably slow for me and Backblaze refuses to support Linux, both of which were ultimately deal breakers for me. They were fine offerings for other uses cases though. Any of those would probably meet your needs for unlimited online at a reasonable price if you thought you wanted it.
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Old 01-21-2017, 10:40 PM   #8
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Re: Backups

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Yep I have a striped RAID drive setup.
Striping is RAID0, which means if one drive goes everything is lost. It's usually used for speed and pooling drives together, not for reliable uptime. Is it maybe mirroring between the drives (RAID1)?

If it's RAID1, that's not really a backup, but it's better than nothing. It works in realtime, so if you delete a file it also deletes the mirrored copy. It's also really susceptible to corruption or infection, as those problems get mirrored right over to the other drive. It is good if one drive dies, as you can use or restore from the other one.

If you're actually using RAID0, you really need some sort of backup in place, because one thing goes wrong and everything bites the dust.
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Old 01-21-2017, 10:53 PM   #9
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Re: Backups

Its RAID something or other and when I built the computer what I read said it was a back up. How is it not a back up? I mean I guess if there is a power surge everything gets fried.

Must be RAID1. I'm 99% sure its not the other thing. Not too worried about corruption or infection (espically), I don't use the internet on my production tower except to do occasional updates or uploading finished tunes.

Honestly the only thing I'd really care about are my paid samples, but most of those are on external drives or DVDs. Whenever I buy from GoldBaby I always pay for a hard copy. And the other sample providers I bought from allow multiple downloads.

Honestly the rest of the garbage can go as far as I'm concerned. Next desktop I build will be all SSD drives and I'm really not worried about thos going dead.
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Old 01-22-2017, 12:15 AM   #10
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Re: Backups

I've been using ssd's for 6 years, and I've had one die on me, but that was a 2011/12 install, the tech has improved. But they do die, and it does come on fast, which makes consistent backup important (seriously, with mine it was working fine one night, took a few tries to boot the next, would not boot the third, dead). One I got in mid 2012, an intel with a 5 year warranty, is the next oldest, and still going strong, I don't have the computer that was in anymore, the hard drive is with a friend now, we'll see if it lasts until the end of the year.

You could have a striped raid array that's still redundant if it's like raid 5 or something, but you'd have to have at least 4 or 5 hard drives for that to work. The thing I don't think gets mentioned enough about raid (and part of the reason I've never bothered), is if you make it out of all new hard drives of the same make and model at the same time, they're going to have the same MTBF (mean time before failure). So once one goes, you need to get right on it and replace all of them, which can be quite the outlay and I know I'd never do it, which would likely mean I'd end up losing my data anyways. Better for me to just back it up externally.

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Old 01-22-2017, 12:24 AM   #11
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Re: Backups

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Originally Posted by relic View Post
How is it not a back up? I mean I guess if there is a power surge everything gets fried.

Must be RAID1. I'm 99% sure its not the other thing. Not too worried about corruption or infection (espically), I don't use the internet on my production tower except to do occasional updates or uploading finished tunes.
I'm going to belabor the technical stuff below for educational purposes and posterity. Feel free to skip it if it's not interesting. RAID1 is often advertised as a backup because it does perform like one in some situations, and a form of it is built onto most motherboards these days. OSs can also provide software RAID in a lot of situations. It's fine, it's better than nothing. I was really more freaking out on the RAID0 thing, because that's actually less reliable in a lot of situations than just using a hard drive.

Regardless, it sounds like you're pretty well set. As you say, most of your important stuff (the expensive bits) is available online or on disk.

**** TL;DR - RAID's not a backup, but it plays one on TV ****

So RAID's real function is uptime. It's made for enterprise environments where there's tons of people connected to central servers working really hard, and if they can't get on those servers to work it costs the company a lot of money. RAID's there so when a drive on the server dies all of accounting doesn't go home early while IT replaces that drive and rebuilds the data. Instead it just fails over to the next functional drive and Suzy and Bob down the hall don't even notice. IT can rebuild it at their leisure instead of it being a five-alarm fire situation.

A byproduct of that redundancy is that you can recover data in some situations. Like if you stick a new working drive in, the RAID array can just copy the old data onto the new one, provided everything's functional. Why it's not a backup is that it really only protects you from a drive failure, and only in the best of circumstances. It does nothing for corrupt files or viruses or all sorts of errors, nor does it really check the integrity of your data for you to make sure those things aren't happening. It also doesn't do much if the computer or power supply takes a header, as they're all connected to the same machine. It's ultimately not considered a backup because for every situation RAID recovers from there's about 10 situations it can't. Having a separate drive in a separate computer or enclosure, or backed up to an online service, is a much more reliable and functional solution.

*** END LONG BORING TECHNICAL SHIT ***
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Old 01-22-2017, 05:26 AM   #12
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Re: Backups

I appriciate the technical tl;dr stuff man, I will take a look. I didn't mean to come off as ungrateful lol. I guess because I've never experienced any significant data loss. I'm probably due for dissapointment. I'll have to whip out and format one of my old external drives and back everything up. Probably worth it. I do have a lot of synth patches in those projects, some of which might be worth saving. Also some samples I've collected myself.

I'm not super techincal and at the time I built my desktop...easily 7-8 years ago now...like I said everything I read said RAID1 was the way to go.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-22-2017, 06:26 AM   #13
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Re: Backups

HDD crashes are a gift; they delete my shit so I don't have to.

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Old 01-22-2017, 07:32 AM   #14
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Re: Backups

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Originally Posted by relic View Post
I appriciate the technical tl;dr stuff man, I will take a look. I didn't mean to come off as ungrateful lol. I guess because I've never experienced any significant data loss. I'm probably due for dissapointment. I'll have to whip out and format one of my old external drives and back everything up. Probably worth it. I do have a lot of synth patches in those projects, some of which might be worth saving. Also some samples I've collected myself.

I'm not super techincal and at the time I built my desktop...easily 7-8 years ago now...like I said everything I read said RAID1 was the way to go.

Thanks again.
I totally didn't take it as ungrateful. I've just been doing this long enough that I've seen plenty of eyes glaze over when you start in with stats and jargon, so I tend to keep that separate when I can. There's obviously different levels of comfort for people with regards to both the technology and wanting to keep data safe, and I don't want to promote a One True Way-ism here - there's as many solutions as there are people.

I'm mostly here just poking the hornet's nest to get people thinking and talking about data preservation, and to help anyone that wants it. I really didn't mean to come off as "you're doing it wrong!" or anything, because it sounds like you've got some protection and that's working for you. I'm probably being overly alarmist about the 'RAID isn't backup' thing, whether it is or not. It's definitely a sight better than nothing and offers quite a bit of protection for the average user.
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Old 01-22-2017, 05:09 PM   #15
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Re: Backups

So far I've been doing shit manually. I back up to an external drive every 3-5 days, which I keep unplugged all the other times for fear of power surges (already had a few nasty ones where shit around the house got fried, though all the computers were fine). And I keep an external hard drive at my parents' house that I take home and update about once a month.

I know I should have some kind of cloud back up going as well and have looked at Crashplan and Backblaze, so good info and timely post. My concern is for guitar heavy projects, where I do a lot of takes and editing, this creates a lot of intermediate wav. files that I don't need and that I typically purge at the end of each session. So it always felt that for any online real-time strategy, the service would be constantly uploading all these temporary files that I don't care about, eating up bandwidth at my house while other people are doing shit, going over Comcast's caps (not sure if they are enforcing those, though), and potentially slowing down/interfering with my sessions. How do you guys deal with that? Does the back up happen in real time or you have it scheduled to run at night or whatever?

Or maybe none of that matters at all. You guys are talking about TBs of data. Shit, all my project files are about 125 gigs at this point. Plus about 65 gigs of samples. And the OS image is about 80 gigs. So probably my mindset about this stuff is a bit out of date.

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Most of the good online services are a yearly fee for unlimited storage. I'm currently using [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
, though I've used both Crashplan and Backblaze in the past. At $60/year, I've yet to have any issues. I'm currently sitting on 15TB stored, and I know several people that are well over 100TB without a problem. That doesn't mean that they won't pull the rug out from under us at some point, but I think it's the deal for the near future. I push incremental daily with an rclone script (after Duplicati has deduped and encrypted it), but ACD has its own software that's super easy to use and there's lots of others that can sync up with it. You can also FUSE mount ACD for persistence if you're into that.

Crashplan was unbearably slow for me and Backblaze refuses to support Linux, both of which were ultimately deal breakers for me. They were fine offerings for other uses cases though. Any of those would probably meet your needs for unlimited online at a reasonable price if you thought you wanted it.
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Old 01-22-2017, 06:57 PM   #16
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Re: Backups

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Originally Posted by iDoG View Post
So it always felt that for any online real-time strategy, the service would be constantly uploading all these temporary files that I don't care about, eating up bandwidth at my house while other people are doing shit, going over Comcast's caps (not sure if they are enforcing those, though), and potentially slowing down/interfering with my sessions. How do you guys deal with that? Does the back up happen in real time or you have it scheduled to run at night or whatever?
Yeah, you can definitely schedule it. If you want up-to-the-second redundancy, that's actually the job of RAID or similar systems that deal in real time. For all the reasons you mentioned you mostly want it happening at 4am when everyone's asleep or 9am when everyone's gone to work. Depending on how much data you're generating, your internet speed, and how often you're uploading backups might only take 5 minutes after you get the initial payload uploaded.

There's a couple of ways around backing up temp data. One would be to back it up and not worry about it. Those cloud services don't care as long as you pay your bill, but it might be a hassle to sort through all the crap in case you have to recover. Or you might just make sure you've purged the temp data before whenever your next backup is. You could also just not backup the temp folders at all, which is what I do. I figure re-recording material in the case of a crash is a fair trade off for not having all that crap on my backup.

Quote:
Or maybe none of that matters at all. You guys are talking about TBs of data. Shit, all my project files are about 125 gigs at this point. Plus about 65 gigs of samples. And the OS image is about 80 gigs. So probably my mindset about this stuff is a bit out of date.
It's not the size of the stuff, it's the importance to you. My TBs of data is everything - music stuff, work and project data, home videos and pics, and a load of raw field recordings, most of my mp3 collection, some videos.. my entire digital life. I back it up because the service is unlimited and I might as well. There's probably 10-20GB that I really care about - family photos and videos, mp3s of my music, financial data and documents, stuff like that. I'd happily pay my $60/yr to back that stuff up; everything else is just gravy.
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Old 01-22-2017, 07:38 PM   #17
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Re: Backups

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You could also just not backup the temp folders at all, which is what I do. I figure re-recording material in the case of a crash is a fair trade off for not having all that crap on my backup.
Cubase keeps all the audio in a single folder (Pool) and even if you delete clips from the project, it still keeps the source file for undo reasons. You need to jump through a few hoops to really delete files, which is good I think. But, yeah, I think I got pretty used to purging all the unused files at the end of each session anyway. And like you said, if some of that crap gets backed up, it's not really a big deal.

I do use free Dropbox and Box plans to back up documents and other important non-music related things. But, yeah, if it's unlimited storage with these paid services, no reason not to back up everything.

I'll be looking into Amazon Cloud Drive for sure now. I'm assuming you can install this on several computers and specify which folders to back up/when and it does incremental back up (only uploading/updating the things that have changed). But it doesn't try to sync up multiple devices or anything like Dropbox, right? The stuff gets uploaded to Amazon's servers and then if you want to grab anything from any other devices, you manually chose to download that, correct? Also, would it work ok for multiple people on the same account or would you recommend separate accounts? My wife is a photographer and I really need to set her up with some kind of cloud backup solution too. 60 bucks a year is not a big deal either way in the grand scheme of things, but if it works just fine on one account (where I'll just make 2 top level folders for her stuff and my stuff), no reason to waste it.
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:13 PM   #18
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Re: Backups

Yeah, you should both be able to use it without an issue as long as you're willing to share your login/password. You're spot on about it being different from Dropbox. It doesn't do anything unless you tell it to. There's no syncing or copying or whatever, it just sits there and holds the files you send it. It sounds like that'd be a perfect solution for both you and the wife to get a safe backup.

Amazon has their own software (as does Backblaze and Crashplan) that allows scheduling and stats and whatnot. You can also use third party software. The aforementioned Duplicati will sync to ACD, as will the incredibly powerful if not quite as user friendly [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
. I haven't used their stock software much, but the little I played with it it looks fully featured and useful for most tasks.
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:48 PM   #19
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Re: Backups

I do glaze over w/ a lot of the tasks I have to do to be a home musician. We wear so many hats all on our own these days.
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:47 PM   #20
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Re: Backups

I have a microsoft office subscription that comes with 1TB of storage space. Most of my live projects get backed up to a folder on here and another on my NAS. I also take a drive image every couple of months of my VST drive and main windows drive.

A couple of months is perfect for me as I do very little in the way of changing my setup and it's mainly done to backup updates to the O/S and VST instruments.

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