Dear FileSlinger clients, colleagues, and friends:
The other night I got to watch the Ur-Guru making a network backup of a client’s laptop in order to reformat the drive. The simple version of how this works is:
- Plug the computer to be backed up into your network. (This machine had a built-in network port, so that was easy.)
- Designate a network drive on which to back up the machine. (Windows calls this “mapping” the drive.) This actually took some special utilities because the backup program we were using, Norton Ghost, works outside the Windows environment.
- Run your drive-mirroring software.
Presto: a copy of computer one stored on computer two.
Transferring data over a network is much faster than writing it to a CD or to a USB or even Firewire drive. It can also spare you having to get an external drive, as long as you have more than one machine on your network and the machine you want to put your backups on has lots of extra hard drive space.
It is possible that every machine on a network could go down at one time (fire, flood, earthquake, etc), just as it’s possible that both your computer and your external drive could be destroyed at the same time. But it’s not nearly as likely that two computers will die simultaneously as that one drive will fail when another is fine.
There can be some tricky bits involved in setting up network backups, depending on your hardware, and a Ghost backup won’t work over a wireless network. (Wireless networks are much slower than cable networks anyway, even if you don’t notice this in your day-to-day e-mail and web browsing.) But they can still be a good option for anyone who already has a home or office network set up.
More backup news next week,