I am a backup maniac. I backup and then backup the backup. Then, I seal up the backed up backup, stick it in a safe and plunge the safe in concrete. Even with all that, I will probably lose data eventually. I didn’t get like this overnight. I’ve had…let’s say…experience.
You know, it’s strange – with all the people out there who rely so heavily on all their computer files, very few of them ever back up anything. The worst part of it is that the majority of them work on laptops. I used to work with a girl who was in sales. One day, she came into work all upset that her laptop crashed and she lost all of her data. There was nothing she could do. When I say she lost everything, I mean the computer repair dude handed her back a laptop with wires hanging out of it. It was toast.
I said to her, “Oh don’t worry, just go grab your backup and we’ll load it up for you.” Her blank stare was priceless. I mean seriously, how long did she think her computer was going to last? It was bumped and bruised for years. Whatever. I knew she didn’t back up anything, I was just being a wisea$$. It was easy to pick on her because she had some pretty wild political views. I didn’t take too kindly to that.
Okay, onto my situation. I have websites. I back up all the data I have on the servers quite frequently. It’s a big job and it gets done a lot, but I just do it because it’s important. After the “Oh sorry sir, we don’t really have that backup up” I got from my old friends at “1 and…” hosting company, I decided to get real. I now have a pretty serious setup. Even with a new host and private servers, I still download everything. I don’t care what they tell me. One guy said, “A meteor has to hit this building for us to lose your data.” Yeah, famous last words.
Here’s a piece of advice for any of you who run websites – never trust what a hosting company says, no matter what kind of triple platinum guarantee they give you. When something happens and it comes time to get down, it’s awfully easy for them to tell you they don’t have what you need and to rush you off the phone. Here’s another piece of advice, stay very far, far away from technical support that is based in a foreign country. I don’t want to knock the support, I do want to say that the company doesn’t give these support people any power to do anything. They are basically telephone operators who create support tickets. With the old servers and “1 and…” (I forget the name), I actually had a server down for about two weeks. I just couldn’t get someone to restart Apache. I could have flown to the data center, walked in and restarted the thing myself. You want to talk about stress? Man oh man. It was rough living with me for those two weeks.
Okay, back to my situation. I back up my data from the servers. It’s probably about 15 gigs. Then, I have about 2 more gigs of working files on my desktop. So, overall, I have about 17 gigs that I really don’t trust sitting here on my computer. I back up on a portable drive, another external drive and online, all encrypted. I will say that devising ways to back up data gets quite addictive. Three backups is really enough, but I might have some others hidden.
It goes even further than that. My online backup can’t be in the same city as where my servers are. I know, I know, but trust me, when push comes to shove, it matters. Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc… Remember when I said that the guy from the hosting company told me that a meteor had to hit the building for me to lose my data? Well, during the first week of me hosting with them, a car hit a telephone pole in a main intersection near one of their data centers. They were forced to run on generators for two days. I now have my servers split up between two data centers in two states.
Up until today, I was using MozyPro as my online backup service. They offer a pretty good service with lots of great features. Luckily, I never had to recover any files, but I’m sure they would have done a fine job if I needed them.
A few days ago, I noticed that I wasn’t receiving my nightly summary backup emails. I looked into the reason why and it ended up that my files weren’t actually being uploaded to the backup servers. This was a Friday. I called support and was connected to an obvious foreign country. My face got red. I explained the situation and a ticket was created. Then Monday, I got a response that the ticket was escalated. Two full days had gone by with nothing done. I called support again and got nowhere. My next call was to sales to close down my account. I don’t deal well with outsourced support. I have a long experience with being politely told that nothing is going to get resolved.
Today, I set up an account with Jungle Disk. From what I hear, they are pretty good. My files are being backed up as I sit here and write. I am under no illusion that the support is any better, but I had to do something. If I need to keep jumping to different online backup companies, so be it.
There are a few things that I like about Jungle Disk (run by Amazon, bought out by Rackspace) that MozyPro didn’t give up too easily. First, I can download the software onto any computer and just run it under the same account. I can upload and download on any of my five PCs. I like that. I can even get files from the road. Second, they charge for usage. You don’t need to buy a certain amount of space and then worry about returning unused resources. That’s pretty helpful.
Jungle Disk was very easy to set up and is quite simple to operate as well. It’s also very affordable. To top things off, I trust Jungle Disk because one of my favorite relatives uses it, along with many of his friends. Hey, word of mouth…there ain’t no better way.