Making the Most of Your Backups

Having a backup of your data is crucial. Being able to successfully restore your data is even more crucial.

For the last three weeks, I have been spending two hours a week on organizing/reorganizing all my data. One of my goals for 2012 is to be 100% sure I am backing up what I need and ONLY what I need. I have two backup drives here in my office that I use with Apple’s Time Machine. I also then backup remotely once a week to Amazon S3 using JungleDisk. I also have data on a remote server for all my web sites (including this one) that gets backed up on/off site. A few weeks ago I decided to centralize all my remote data on Amazon S3. All media/uploads/theme files/etc get served up from Amazon S3 which not only helps with my centralization of data – but it also speeds things up a bit too.

Now that I have everything flowing into one place – I realized I am backing up a lot of stuff. Stuff that does not need to be backed up and will only cause frustration and increased storage cost. So – when thinking (or re-thinking) about backups, make sure you also consider what you are backing up. I found I was backing up backup archives, photos I would never use/look at, etc that were completely a waste of space. By going through all of my content I was able to save significantly in space/cost in my backup solution.

So – if you have a backup plan – make sure you know how to restore from it (and actually test it). If you do not have a backup plan – take a few minutes to look into doing something ASAP. You will lose data at some time – that is a guarantee. You can either take a few minutes now and get something in place or you can spend hours/potentially thousands to restore “that data you really need”. Your choice. This has been your annual reminder.

Moving Everything to Amazon S3

Over the weekend I decided to move all my media to Amazon S3 for the majority of my personal sites. I have been using Amazon S3 now for a few years with my backups and have made the transition from local media > Amazon S3 for multiple clients. Everyone has been happy and the load times/cost has proven itself.

I run WordPress Multisite so things were a little more complicated when migrating the content – but I finally have everything in place. Plugins I used:

  • Amazon S3 – Gives you the ability to upload all new media to Amazon.
  • CDN Sync Tool – Synced all of my media files from my local install to Amazon
  • WP Super Cache – Makes sure all my theme/media files are served using the CDN

If you are looking for some speed improvements as well as a better backup/file strategy – consider doing the same!

Backup to Amazon S3 With Rsync.

Finally – I stumbled upon an article that outlines how to use rsync, Mac OS X, Jungle Disk, and Amazon S3 (all which I use). This will simplify and speed up my backup process. (Especially when my external backup drive has been acting a little irregular this morning.) If you do not backup your files, or have not looked at Amazon S3 yet – this is your chance!