Chief Architect Help Database - Article Number: 384
What are the different methods I can use to backup my data?The information in this article applies to:
- Chief Architect X2
- Chief Architect X1
- Chief Architect 9.5
- Chief Architect 10
Having lost data in the past, I recognize the need to regularly back up my Chief Architect drawing files, as well as other critical data on my computer. What are the different types of backup methods I can use?
Automating the process of backing up your data on a daily or weekly basis is the most critical step you can take to prevent data loss. While human-dependent methods like writing your data to a CD RW or a DVD RW can be forgotten, neglected or completed incorrectly, automated backups will always correctly record your data, even when you are away from the office or otherwise occupied. When choosing a backup process, it is important to keep in mind that data can be backed up in a number of ways. This article will describe some of the basic methods used to backup data, familiarize you with the basic processes used for backing up data and will help you in defining the criteria you will need to implement your own backup strategy.
Full backup is the starting point for all other backups, and contains all the data in the folders and files that are defined to be backed up. Because the full backup stores all files and folders, frequent full backups result in faster and simpler restore operations. Remember that when you choose other backup types, restore jobs can be prolonged.
It would be ideal to make full backups all the time, because they are the most comprehensive and are self-contained. However, the amount of time it takes to run full backups often prevents us from using this backup type. Full backups are often restricted to a weekly or monthly schedule, although the increasing speed and capacity of backup media is making overnight full backups a more realistic proposition.
However, you should be aware of a significant security issue. Each full backup contains an entire copy of the data. If the backup media were to be illegally accessed or stolen, the hacker or thief would then have access to an entire copy of your data. Thus, when choosing a backup strategy it is important to think in terms of storing your media in a secure environment, away from anyone who might have ulterior motives for accessing it.
A differential backup contains all files that have changed since the last full backup. The advantage of a differential backup is that it shortens restore time compared to a full backup or an incremental backup. However, if you perform the differential backup too many times, the size of the differential backup might grow to be as large as the baseline full backup.
Use differential backup if you have a reasonable amount of time to perform backups. The downside is if you run multiple differential backups after your full backup, you're probably including some files in each differential backup that were already included in earlier differential backups, but haven't been recently modified.
An incremental backup stores all files that have changed since the last backup. The advantage of an incremental backup is that it takes the least time to complete. However, during a restore operation, each incremental backup is processed, which could result in a lengthy restore job.
Incremental backup provides a much faster method of backing up data than repeatedly running full backups. During an incremental backup only the files that have changed since the most recent backup are included.
A mirror backup is identical to a full backup. A mirror backup is most frequently used to create an exact copy of the backup data.
A mirror backup is a straight copy of the selected folders and files at a given instant in time. Mirror backup is the fastest backup method because it copies files and folders to the destination without any compression. However, the increased speed has its drawbacks: it needs a larger storage space. That is, the destination becomes a "mirror" of the source. You can even directly access files in the destination without needing to use a restore feature, because each file is just a straight copy of the original.
Scheduling Your Backup:
Automatic backup of your critical data is the most critical component of any backup strategy. Unless we are very disciplined, humans will often forget to backup critical data. By contrast, an automated backup needs only be configured one time, and it will run automatically from that time on.
A quick search on the Internet, using a search engine like www.google.com, www.yahoo.com or www.bing.com will yield a number of different kinds of backup strategies. Many of these will use removable media, like External Hard Drives, USB devices, Blu-Ray, CD RW, DVD RW as well as non-removable media like mirrored hard drives and mapped network connections. A good scheduler makes it easy to define the backup plan and set the program to backup daily, weekly, monthly or yearly at a specific time, and depending on the backup type, to use any of the media listed here.
Last updated on: May 27, 2010