Sunday, October 01, 2006

Simple Disaster Recovery for Macs

I've finally implemented another stage of disaster recovery for my mac system. I've always performed regular backups, and stored the files on separate media, and tested the recovery process. For all that, I use some shell scripts I wrote using Helios xtar for preserving the HFS resource fork data.

Today I have added another layer that will make me sleep better. My backups would still require a significant amount of recovery time because I would have to re-install the OS and then reload my backed up files. To improve on this process, I bought an external firewire drive that is the same size as my system drive (80 GB) and I created a bootable clone of my system drive onto that firewire drive. I bought an ACOMDATA 80 GB Combo drive from Fry's (cuz it was cheap). And then I used SuperDuper! to create the bootable clone. Simple really. Now I'll try to routinely create a new system clone - maybe every week or so. It only took 48 minutes.

So now if I have a horrible drive emergency, I can immediately boot off the clone and run diagnostics from there, or simply return to finish any task I was working to meet any deadlines I might have (and repair the primary drive later).


Joe said...

Great idea. It's an "occasional" RAID 1 setup.

michael said...

I read that you can setup an external HD as RAID and then the OS will automatically maintain a copy there. It's supposed to be tolerant of missing drives - so it won't complain if your external HD is not plugged in, or whatever. I don't know if the external HD is bootable though, but it could be made to be.