Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
k6ccc

Don't forget to backup your sequences

Recommended Posts

I'm going to bring this up (again), because we are getting close to Christmas show season, and every year at least one person shows up on the forum after having lost all or part of their sequences due to a hard drive crash, home burglary, fire, accidental deletion, or some other reason.  I'm hoping this reminder will keep at least one person from being in this awful situation.  The summary is:  Backup!  Backup!  and  Off-site Backup!

I know that some of you have seen parts of this before, but take this as a reminder. I am a bit unusual in that I have a domain controller / file server and all computers log into the domain.  Therefore, most of you can't do exactly what I do, but it should give ideas.  On both the show computer and primary sequencing computer, there is a mapped network drive of L: that is really D:\Shared\LOR on the server.  All the LOR files are stored on the server.  My normal routine goes something like this.  While I am sequencing, the file being worked on is saved with a new filename regularly with the date and time as part of the file name so it's easy to tell what is newer than what.  For example a file might be:

Hark the Herald Angles Sing 2014-06-30_2145.sup

I'll bet most of you can figure out what song it is, and exactly when that fictional filename was created.  Usually when I am completed sequencing for an evening (and happy with it) or during the next session, I will delete the intermediate versions leaving only the last version of the night.  The next step is to upload the last version of the night onto the cloud.  In my case I use Google Drive.

The D: drive on the server is currently two 1 TeraByte hard drives in a RAID-1 configuration.  This protects against a single drive failure.  I will shortly be adding a third identical drive as a hot spare (the server has room for eight drives), and when I need more space, I will add two more drives to the RAID array.  Note that in the event that the RAID controller detects a problem, it will immediately send me an E-Mail.  The hot spare drive will protect against a second drive failure (provided it happens long enough after the first failure that the RAID controller has moved it into a primary role and fully rebuilt the array).  The data on the server is backed up weekly to an external hard drive and taken into my office at work.  I have two external hard drives that swap places as the off-site backup.  In other words, there is always a backup drive at work that is no more than 8 or 9 days old.  And as noted above, important files are copied to the cloud right away.  In the event of a problem that takes out the server completely (house burns down, major theft, Sax's RansonWare, etc), the data is sitting somewhere else - usually more than one other place.  One note on cloud storage.  Some cloud storage solutions will create a drive letter on your computer.  That way you can save or copy files to the cloud just as easily as a local hard drive.  This is very convenient, but does come with one major gotcha.  Because it appears as just another hard drive on your computer, malware (such as a virus or RansomWare) can access it just as easily as a local hard drive.  In other words, your cloud storage could get wiped out at the same time as your local hard drive. Keep that in mind.

You will note that I have made several references to having backed up data off site.  I can not stress the importance of this.  There are several things that are quite capable of removing or destroying your backup if it's sitting on the shelf right next to the computer.  At least one person here on the forum had their home burglarized, and the bad guy took both the computer and the backup disks that were right next to it.  A fire can easily destroy both as well.

Just for good measure, this computer (what I normally use for sequencing), the LAN switch in this room, and internet modem are protected by a UPS that has about an hour of battery life.  The server, show computer, routers, and LAN switch in the data cabinet, are protected by redundant UPSes that currently are good for about 90 minutes (each UPS feeds a different power supply in the server), and when that project is completed, will have about 8 hours of battery (unless it's during the day when the solar will extend that).  I also get sent E-Mails in the event of loss of primary power for any of the UPSes.  During Christmas show season, all the active LOR files are also copied onto a backup folder on the show computer.  In case of a failure of the server, I simply change the mapped network drive of L: on the show computer so that it points to c:\LOR_Local, and all my files are there.  I did have to use that in 2014 when my ancient server was dying and kept re-booting.  I have a spare for the show computer too in the event that it dies.

In case you are wondering why I am so detailed in making sure stuff stays working, it comes from what I do for a living.  I run a regional public safety two way radio system with the understanding that under the wrong set of circumstances, failure of the radio system could result in someone dying.  We take system reliability VERY seriously at work!  That mentality rubs off at home...

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And if you need a backup solution for your computer, please shoot me a message.

I do have a product that I can refer you to. (Also see my post in Marketplace about it.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This post is probably one of the most important post you'll see for the remainder of the year.

At this point, we can't afford to lose everything we have built.

Great post Jim. :) 

Edited by Santas Helper
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a smple routine that i use to back up all data for Christmas.

robocopy "d:\Christmas\2016" /e "f:\Christmas 2016"

I have changed the normal storage area to Christmas\2016 (I name all my sub directories to the year).

The target is my usb drive.

 

I run this routine after each night of work.  My server backs up all my PCs each night as well.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO, an offsite backup service - such as Carbonite (or equivalent) - is the ultimate way to go.  Once you set it up, it takes care of itself and automatically backs up your files without you having to do anything extra and without you having to remember a thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Should have listened... My last backup was about 6 months ago. Last Sunday (Oct 30th) I lost my drive and lot of good custom sequences. Now I am sending my files to 3 different drives on 3 different machines.

Lesson learned... ugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/27/2016 at 0:29 AM, k6ccc said:

<snip>I will shortly be adding a third identical drive as a hot spare</snip> 

Spare backup drives over replacing the XP show computer?    B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The XP show computer works just fine.

Sent from my Droid Turbo via Tapatalk, so blame any typos or spelling errors on Android

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gaming, sorry that you lost your sequences, but to poke at you a little - I originally started this thread 4 days prior to you losing your drive. Sorry, I had to say that... ?

One suggestion however. You said you were now saving to three computers. Are they all on your property? If yes, add one more that is off site - either something in the cloud, or storing data at another location (I use my office 26 miles from work, and Google Drive).

Sent from my Droid Turbo via Tapatalk, so blame any typos or spelling errors on Android

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I lost my halloween show with a computer failure in august, my whole 2016 show was re-sequenced in 48 hours (I stayed awake for 2 days straight and reprogrammed everything 6 days before halloween because I put it off till the last minute...)

Lesson learned, and this thread applies to EVERYTHING on your computers not just sequencing, I now make backup a bigger priority.

Thanks for the awesome thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bump - because it's getting close to crunch time, and we just had the first person that I am aware of this year who posted a need for sequences because they lost everything.

Read the first post if nothing else in the thread...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recommend Google Drive for backups. It also keeps the 30 previous versions of each file for a few months so if you change a file and save it you can go back to the previous version.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/10/2017 at 8:01 AM, EmmienLightFan said:

I recommend Google Drive for backups. It also keeps the 30 previous versions of each file for a few months so if you change a file and save it you can go back to the previous version.

As I said in my first post, I also use Google Drive for ONE of my off-site backups, HOWEVER, I do not recommend depending on Google saving prior versions of the same file name.  Far better is to save with a new filename regularly because that way you KNOW when a file was created - and more importantly if you are editing the most recent version.  This is particularly true if you sequence on several computers.  It would be VERY annoying to find out that the three hours of sequencing that you just did were on an old version of the file because you THOUGHT that the newest version was on the laptop - only to find out that the desktop PC had a newer version than what you just edited.  In my case I use a filename that contains the name of the song, the date and either the time or a version letter.  For example:

Hark the Herald Angles Sing 2014-06-30_2145.sup

Hark the Herald Angles Sing 2014-06-30a.sup

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, it's an old thread, but we're certainly into heavy sequencing time, so here is your reminder to back up all your work.  If nothing else, read the first post in this thread.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have a 5 terabyte external hard drive I back up daily to much to loose

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, james morris said:

Have a 5 terabyte external hard drive I back up daily to much to loose

What about off-site backup?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, james morris said:

Have a 5 terabyte external hard drive I back up daily to much to loose

Yes you do my friend, yes you do.

JR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, k6ccc said:

What about off-site backup?

I'm still on the fence about offsite storage. What if their system crashes as well or as in Photobucket, they one day decide to extort us? I have over 50,000 videos and pics there and after all the years they decided to charge us "power users" $399 a year if we wanted to keep using the links. They considered me a "power user" because of my old Subaru forum that we shut down and the many other forums where I had pictures linked. I hadn't uploaded photos to websites or forums in years before they did this. I am still cleaning out my account and downloading all of its contents to my various drives.

They also placed ads making it painstaking to upload, download and even view our material.

Jim- whose the safe bet for offsite storage? I do have DB but that's all except for my 2 computers and  external drives.

JR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dibblejr said:

I'm still on the fence about offsite storage. What if their system crashes as well or as in Photobucket, they one day decide to extort us?

I did not say anything about having having the off-site as your only storage.  It is unlikely that both your local storage and whatever cloud based storage dies at the same time.  I am well aware of the PhotoBucket crap that they pulled.  Personally I had never used PB, but what they did sucked.

1 hour ago, dibblejr said:

Jim- whose the safe bet for offsite storage? I do have DB but that's all except for my 2 computers and  external drives.

There are a number of sites and services out there with varying levels of capabilities and costs.  Each has their advantages and disadvantages.  There are automatic backup solutions that take care of everything for you in the background (such as Carbonite), and there are lots of data stores such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox (just to name a few).  Personally I use Google Drive, and I have a Dropbox account (because that is how The Demented Elf delivered files).  I also back up the data storage drive on my server with an external hard drive and then take that into work.  That is the primary backup.  Even if you don't want to use a cloud based storage, the external drive that can be stored somewhere else works.  Hard drives are so inexpensive these days that cost is not really an issue.  The biggest issue is remembering to actually do it.

As I mention in my first post, be careful of automated backups or methods that create a drive letter on your computer.  Assume that a virus or Ransomeware will be able to access that data as well as your local drive.

One thing to keep in mind about any cloud based storage is security.  Unless you use strong encryption prior to uploading the data, at the very least the storage company can likely access your data.  For my light show data, I don't really care!  However there are some files that I won't put into the cloud at all or unless I encrypt it before uploading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×