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Old 07-03-2008, 02:57 PM
midget2000x midget2000x is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3
Automated Backup Scheme with History

I have been using SD! for a while and love it. However, I run it manually, and therefore there is some risk because my backups are at the mercy of whenever I remember to do it. In the event of an emergency, my backup may be several days old. Also, I am not really protected in the event I unwittingly deleted a file *before* my last backup (i.e. I need some kind of historical archive to pull from). Basically, I really need to step up my game with backups, because my business depends on my computer. So, here's what I want to do:

1. Create a automated backup system that will run at night, automatically
2. Create historical backups of my system that are updated automatically
3. Be protected against data loss by theft, both when I'm in the office AND traveling

My first thought was to use Time Machine (I run Leopard on a MBPro). After some research I dumped this idea because most of my "Home" files (the files that I use every day) reside in a 30GB encrypted disk image which I mount when I log in (data security measure). Time Machine wouldn't be able to handle that properly. I don't want the files stored on an external drive in an un-encrypted state (in case it's stolen), which means TM would just be keeping historical copies of my 30GB disk image, which isn't an advantage over SD! I hear TM is buggy in other ways too...

So my next idea involves 2 external drives. One is a 2.5" drive that will contain nightly backups (I travel with this, in the event my laptop dies when I'm on the road), and the other is a 1TB external drive (amazingly cheap, btw) partitioned into 4 parts, each the size of my MBPro's hard drive. Each partition will contain a complete "All Files" backup of my drive that is x number of days old. So it will look like this:

250G Drive: gets complete backup nightly
1TB Drive Partition 1: complete backup from 1 week ago
1TB Drive Partition 2: complete backup from 1 month ago
1TB Drive Partition 3: complete backup from 3 months ago
1TB Drive Partition 4: complete backup from 6 months ago

The key here is that I need this stuff to happen automatically. If I have to remember to do it, there's just no way this is going to work. I know there's a SD! limitation that the computer has to be on, and the user running the process needs to be logged in, which does throw a wrench into things. For security, I do not auto-log-in any user (for theft protection). But I did some searching in this forum and it appears that if I schedule my mac to start up at a certain time (say, 3am), as long as SD! scheduled as root it will be able to run with no login necessary. Can somebody confirm that?

Provided I can do that, I should be able to schedule the nightly backup, and also schedule the "1 week" partition to update weekly, the "1 month" partition to update monthly, and so forth. And provided my 30GB encrypted disk image isn't mounted (which it wouldn't be, if I scheduled the computer to start up before SD! runs), then the backed-up data would be secure in the event one of the external drives was stolen.

Only problems I see with this are A) if my computer and both external backup drives are stolen at the same time (like, if somebody broke in) - I'm basically screwed. The only mild peace of mind I'd have is that all my sensitive files are in an encrypted disk image. But obviously I don't have my data so I can't do business. B) my backup drives are not RAID so if for example my 1TB drive failed, I'd lose all my backup history. Not a super huge deal since my data would still live in 2 other places (on the other backup drive and on the computer itself). C) My "historical" backups wouldn't be truly historical since I'd be updating them directly from my MBPro drive. For example, my "6 month" history would never truly be 6 months old because I'd update it every 5 months and 31 days with current data. So, on 6 months and 1 day, the data on my "6 month" drive is only 1 day old. Still trying to wrap my head around this. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Can anybody see any other issues with this? Anyone have any better ideas on how to accomplish my goals?
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