A couple of days ago My MacBook Pro refused to boot, or even play the Apple boot chime, so I decided to start being paranoid about backups again. I used to have an external hard drive with a bootable copy of my drives, but I somehow lost the power adapter for it. External hard drive prices being what they are, I decided to buy a hard drive dock and just go with raw drives now. ($89.99 for 2 TB is cheap!)
For backups, I now do:
- Two separate bootable hard drive backups with SuperDuper!.
- Time Machine backup into a 900 GB volume on the disk that holds one of the bootable backups.
- Dropbox keeps a backup of most of my documents.
- Online Backblaze backup of all non-system files smaller than 4 GB.
- Arq backup onto Amazon S3 of documents and a bunch of other files.
At some point I should rent a safe deposit box and put one of the SuperDuper! drives in there.
With the cheap storage solution that the hard drive dock provides—if I can live with swapping drives back and forth—I should probably be more of a packrat. I keep a local copy of many of the financial datasets I use for research, which means I have to update them when new versions are available. When these updates occur, old data tends to change in unpredictable and annoying ways. One particularly bad incident was when the CRSP “Survivor-Bias-Free” Mutual Fund Database switched data providers from Morningstar to Lipper, dropping a lot of funds and introducing new survivorship biases. My plan is now to buy a bunch of 2 TB disks and keep a copy of every version I have access to so I won’t be affected if something like this happens.