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Backup & Archive

Because of limited computing resources the Department DOES NOT offer any Archiving services. The only backup service provided is a weekly backup of the data saved in your home directory on the Pharm server.

Often users mentioned backup and archiving in the same breath, however they are actually quite different processes, involving different capabilities and often with competing requirements.

Backing up data creates an exact mirrored copy of your information. It creates a “reserve” resource, should something happen to the original data.

Archiving applies to data that is likely to be needed again. Archiving is essentially an “intelligent” form of backup - logically placing information where it can easily be found and retrieved for future use.

Most of the information that users back up every day or every week really hasn’t changed so they are backing up things that aren’t necessary because they don’t change over time. The way to do backup is to first look at data that really doesn’t change anymore and archive that. This means you back up less and your recovery process is faster.

Backup jobs are pre-scheduled and initiated by the software application. Ideally, the backups are automated and can be scheduled for off hours and run unattended. Any abnormal results of the backup job are reported clearly and concisely by the software.

Archive and backup should be working together in harmony. The archive process ensures that only a single instance of the file ever makes the archive. Also as these files are archived, they are fully indexed both by their attribute data and by their content.

One can’t underscore the importance of backing up data. We have all had a terrible experience when we have lost our data. Of course there are hard drives, USB keys, CDs, DVDs (Blue ray disk now with more than 25 GB) and other data backup solutions. Lately online storage solutions like and Xdrive (free 5GB), DivShare, Crashplan, and Dropbox have become popular. Add hosted file service for sending large data files called YoubackItUp to this ever growing list of solutions.

Similar to YouSendIt and senduit, YouBackItUp holds your uploaded files for up to 20 days, and provides a link for downloading. This free ad supported service can be used for sending large files that they cannot receive over email. You can also use this service as a temporary backup solution if you are switching computers and have to transfer large files to different locations.

Each concept plays an important role in information lifecycle management, and each has different and distinct characteristics and applications.

Mac OSX Backup Programs

  1. Silverlining, by La Cie, is a freeware backup program that allows users to create an exact copy of a file, folder, or disk. If used to backup to the same disk more than once, it will do a comparison of the old and new data and warn the user of any differences. It cannot be set to backup information automatically on a regular basis and it does not compress the data. The version 6.4.8 can be downloaded from:
  2. Backup, by Apple, is a program provided to .Mac users. It is a simple-to-use backup program that allows users to backup to their .Mac account, a second hard drive, or even as Apple put it “Apple-supplied CD or DVD reader”. Users can select files or folders to be backed and schedule regular backup times and dates. However, users need a valid .Mac account before they are able to use the application.
  3. Carbon Copy Cloner is a shareware program that will make an exact copy of a disk or selected files and folders on the disk. It's easy to use as well as useful for people who want to make exact copies or backups of their hard drive because it is the only backup program that copies ALL the files on a disk--including the invisible ones. I have tried this program in the past and I found it very good.
  4. Deja Vu, by Propaganda Productions, is a shareware program that allows the scheduled backup of an unlimited number of folders to local data storage devices or remote devises using WebDAV, AFP, NFS and SMB. It will also allow for the synchronization of folder contents and it will accurately clone the OS X system disk, thereby producing a bootable copy. By far this is my favorite and the one I am using, I have tried it with AFP, SMB and with CDs & DVDs (Using my IMac).you do need version 3.2, it does come bundled with Toast Titaniaum. http://

If you would like something more challenging: security, encryption and backups try Knox 1.1 from

Windows Backup Programs

    1. Microsoft built-in backup: Most of Windows versions have a built backup program, is not an ideal but is simple and easy to use and does what it says which is backup your data to any chooser media.
    2. GoodSync: Good Sync is free for moderate personal use. People who use GoodSync a lot and commercial users should purchase a GoodSync Pro license (about £10). GoodSync uses an innovative synchronization algorithm to synchronize your data between desktop PCs, laptops, USB drives and more.
    3. SyncBack: is the "No Install" freeware version of the commercial backup software "SyncBackSE". Make sure you get the SE version if you're after freeware (Cost about £15).This program does just about everything - even has a built-in FTP engine to store data off-site. The catch? Many of the coolest features (like network speed optimization) are disabled on the free version. I typically dislike crippleware but this one doesn't seem to have any significant defects.
    4. Retrospect: Retrospect Professional remains the cream of the crop in desktop backup software. If you're a newcomer to this application, sample the trial version before you purchase the pricey full version which is about £45.