Four Drives in Two Months
There is nothing more nerve-racking than having a hard drive die. Multiply that by four and your stress levels tend to rise. All things come to an end, however, and it's important to be prepared. That's why I have backups.
Now that everything's in the cloud, there's little reason for the average joe to worry about it, and that's a good thing. In my case, however, where I have multiple terabytes of data to maintain, a more robust solution is necessary. Here's the recipe for success that I've come up with:
1. Local, incremental backups to an attached hard drive via OS X's Time Machine. Although it has its limitations, it is a good way to maintain a restore point in case you system drive dies on you and you want a relatively painless way to restore applications and user settings. It also has the side benefit of keeping multiple versions of your files, which allows you to go back to a previous copy. This is especially useful for applications that still don't support modern file versioning techniques (I'm looking at you, Adobe).
2. Local, scheduled backups via Econ Technologies' excellent ChronoSync. It has an excellent user interface that scales from very basic to very advanced, condition-based file backups depending on your needs. It's also not afraid of networks, making the use of network-attached storage (NAS) solutions very simple.
3. Off-site, incremental backups via Backblaze. One of the most important things to remember is that local backups don't protect you from the occasional, pesky volcano and other natural disasters. Even with four drives down, I was put out but not panicked. As I type this, I am patiently waiting for the first download (weighing in at almost 45GB) to complete.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.