Reliable Backup Solution

January 5, 2015

There is no question – the worst thing that can happen to a developer is having your entire computer crash and you loose all of your data. It will happen at least once. Maybe it’s just that one important file you really needed and accidentally overwrote it. Whatever the case, hopefully I can help you out.

A quick side-note, I am running a Mac setup.

Key Backup Factors:

I consider there to be a few main factors to consider when deciding a backup solution that properly fits your needs. In no particular order:

  • Budget
  • Disk Space available
  • Bootable (take backup and run OS and all files on whole different computer)
  • Ease of Use
  • Your Actual Purpose

Your Purpose:

Determining the purpose of your backup need I find to be the largest factor (thus first to detail). Some examples:

  • “Version Control” (hourly backups of all working files)
  • On Site Daily Backup (entire computer)
  • Off Site Backup (entire computer)


When considering backing up files related to your career and livelihood, you don’t particularly want to cheap out. Obviously you don’t have to go all in and purchase a massive storage bay – but be reasonable with what you need. Not long ago I snagged a 4TB HD from Best Buy for around $150 to use with my setup (which I’ll get to shortly) – and it works perfectly.

Disk Space Available:

I have approximately 500GB of actual data that I realistically need backed up. For Version Control, I wouldn’t recommend anything smaller than 3TB HD, as keeping multiple versions of your files will chew up disk space in a real hurry. At the same time, I have no real worry about accidentally overwriting files and loosing lots of progress.

On the other hand, if I am not using any file safety net and any file that deletes of the computer is deleted off of the HD, there is no need to have anything larger than 1TB. Obviously this will help on costs.


Having a bootable backup is very important. My main work station could completely fail and all I would have to do is grab the backup and plug into another computer.

This simply comes down to the software that you choose to use. While Time Machine on the Mac might be very user friendly and convenient, it does not offer bootable backup options. I highly recommend using Carbon Copy Cloner.

Ease of Use:

Carbon Copy Cloner version 4.0 is the easiest backup software you can purchase (and I’ve tried quite a few). It is extremely powerful, offering error reporting, scheduled tasks, bootable, safety net (I use for crude version control).

It is very easy to setup and I have not a single complaint with the software.

Favourite Backup Utility for the Mac

Favourite Backup Utility for the Mac

My Current Setup:

Currently I have the following setup for my main work station:

  • 4TB HD – backing up work files hourly, locally, with safety net (version control)
  • 4TB HD – same HD, backing up entire computer twice a day, bootable, local.
  • 3TB HD – offsite (when I remember to actually give it to a family member), manually backup entire computer, bootable
  • NAS QNAP – automatic scheduled backup of entire computer weekly (through network and Carbon Copy Cloner), not bootable, offsite.
  • NAS QNAP – local, daily backup of entire computer, not bootable.

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