Written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling
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Make a New Year's resolution and back up your important data and your computer's operating system.
One way to backup data easily is to get one of the many cloud products like Dropbox, Carbonite, Google Drive or Microsoft Sky Drive. We have recommended this in the past.
For an image of your computer's disk storage get a USB external drive and make a recovery disk that you update periodically. You can consult 'Help' on your machine for this.
I'm paranoid about backups. I have Terabyte drives that I use for disk image backup and restore. I have other 500 gigabyte drives for other backup purposes. I also have multiple locations on the Cloud that contain my data.
I have a Cloud instantaneous backup using Dropbox. Here is how I use it.
Every file that gets created either by a program or by other means gets put in one super folder on my machine. All the subfolders are stored in it. Dropbox pays attention to everything I do and updates the Cloud version of my super folder on its own servers. I can do the same with any of the other services mentioned above.
So my files are 'sync'ed' to the Dropbox image of my super folder one for one. The Cloud version is minute by minute an exact image of my hard drive files. You can look at the syncing process at any time. When I store this article it will be automatically uploaded to Dropbox and a little green check mark will appear on the file folder in my super folder.
Let's say I created a document in pdf format. I created it in my super Dropbox folder. Away it goes when I store it on my disk drive. It is automatically sent to the Cloud. It is 'Sync'ed' This is done for every file
I can get at the super folder from any place in the world, if I want to do so. Very neat.
So where is all this data stored? The other night I wanted to see how many 'hops' would it take to get from my machine on the Internet to the final destination server on the Cloud?
It turned out to be 21 servers and routers were involved.
I then tried Google and again I found over 20 hops to get to a Google Server Farm in Wisconsin.
Google has these huge server farms positioned all over the world. Microsoft has the same. The smaller guys have less redundancy and more vulnerability. Pay attention to who is taking the Cloud seriously. Redundancy is important.
The big guys use technology to write redundant records on some disks someplace on the Cloud. If a catastrophic accident occurs wiping out a whole farm, other information is still safe. How much syncing between farms occurs is unknown to me.
If you want to know something about redundancy, look up RAID technology.
One further piece of advice. If you are on an email service that is not on the Cloud, get off it and use Hotmail or Gmail and let them back up your email files.
The lesson is Get Sync'ed in 2014
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Friday, December 27, 2013