In this video, the instructor discusses incremental backups—ongoing backups that require a restore process.
- If you're anything like me as a photographer, you capture lots (chuckles) and lots of images. Each trip, you might be capturing gigabytes of photos a day, and you want to make sure to keep all of those safe. But the notion of backing up your entire catalog of photos, that certainly seems like a daunting task. I have, oh, around five or six terabytes of photos right now. The idea of copying all of those photos from one drive to another, all at the same time, I don't even know how much time that would require, and it's not something I want to sit around and watch.
But fortunately, we have another solution for backing up our data that involves an incremental backup, in other words, creating an initial backup certainly, but then each time you update that backup, only the information that changed will actually be backed up. And so, for example, only the photos that you captured since the last backup, will be copied as part of the backup. A good example of that, on the Macintosh platform, would be the Time Machine backup that is built right in to the Mac operating system. There are certainly similar solutions for incremental backup on the Windows platform as well.
The basic idea is that we're using something of an intelligent backup solution that keeps track of what has been backed up and what has not yet been backed up, in other words, what files are new, and then it backs up only what's new. And so, here, for example, taking a look at my computer, I have my Time Machine drive. I have a specific drive that is designated as my backup drive for Time Machine. And I can configure Time Machine to backup not only my internal hard drive but also my external hard drive, as long as I have enough storage capacity on that Time Machine backup drive, and then I can perform that backup on a regular basis.
And in fact, in the case of Time Machine, you have the option to automatically backup, and it will preserve versions. Now, Time Machine is a little bit unique as an incremental backup because it goes beyond simply keeping track of what's changed. It actually enables you to, essentially, take a step back in time so that if you accidentally deleted a photo, for example, you could go back in time. In fact, I'll go ahead and enter Time Machine here, so that we can take a quick look at that. And if I browse within Time Machine, you'll see that, at the moment, I'm looking at my Desktop.
You'll see here, that I have a variety of copies of the Desktop. Those copies actually represent different points in time. And so I could go back in time. I could, for example, take a look at my Pictures folder and see what that Pictures folder looks like right now. And then I can go to my timeline and take a step back in time. And once again, looking at the Pictures folder, I could see what has changed from one time to the next so that I could salvage photos that had been lost along the way if I accidentally deleted some files, for example.
Now, one of the disadvantages of that incremental backup is that if we ever need to restore because of a catastrophic issue, I, for example, lost the hard drive in my laptop, it got damaged or corrupted in some way, I can certainly recover from that incremental backup, but that's going to involve a process. In other words, I'm backing up in lots of little pieces, now I need to reassemble all of those pieces again. So there are advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, the notion of backing up everything, all at once, every time you want to update your backup, copying the entire contents of one hard drive onto another, that can require considerable time, whereas, an incremental backup allows you to only backup whatever has changed since the last backup.
So that part is convenient. You do have a little bit of a drawback in terms of the recovery process, but I would say that because an incremental backup is such a simple solution, so here, for example, using Time Machine, as part of the Macintosh operating system, I make use of that as an additional backup solution, an extra, just in case, bit of insurance for backing up my photos.
- Organizing your media
- Anticipating risk factors
- Determining how many copies you need
- Backup frequencies: redundant, incremental, and synchronized
- Backup locations: local, external, and cloud
- Automating your workflow with scheduled backups
- Managing your backup workflow in the long term
- Cultivating good backup habits