The ARCHICAD BIM Server has a very useful built-in backup function, if configured correctly. Find below some considerations regarding a proper backup strategy.
1. On Mac OS X we find that people tend to choose Apple’s TimeMachine as their preferred backup option. Although this is a perfect solution for your regular desktop, this is problematic on a server level as it is not easy to control, e.g. the time it runs or what to include or exclude – we use the excellent Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) instead;
2. We typically adjust CCC to backup after hours, with a preflight script to stop and post flight script to start the ARCHICAD BIM Server;
3. We also adjust the BIM Server backup settings to typically only do PLN backups, to ensure that in case of catastrophic failure, you at least have PLNs that you can use temporarily without a BIM Server (unless you have a few spare BIM Servers flying around)… note PLN backups are typically bigger in size than BIMSERVER backups;
4. We also choose to run backups after hours (not all at once at 1600h – not sure how Graphisoft determined that that might be good time to have all TW projects backup at the same time…);
5. Depending on your BIM Servers capacity and the number / size of your typical project files, carefully monitor that you do not run out of space (and risk corruption of the bimservers mongo database) – unfortunately there is no way to globally adjust the default backup settings easily, i.e. it is a manual process that requires regular checking to ensure that nobody has shared a few 4GB files with the default backup settings;
6. Offsite backups are essential but depend on your willingness to rotate backup drives / tapes offsite (we do it daily) or your internet connection bandwidth for cloud based backups. Do think twice about cloud backups though, although convenient restoration / download times for several GB of BIM Server data might be prohibitive (we only do tapes and hard drives to avoid massive downtime);
One last thing to keep in mind regarding the frequency of BIM Server backups:
If your practice works in large teams and you need to restore or roll back a project file (e.g. if a single user gets detached), we find that hourly backups are not really that useful, as you typically loose as many man hours as there are team members if you reset the project for the whole team (rather than just forfeiting a single users work for the last couple of hours).
Security sometimes only gets addressed when it’s too late. We have prepared an info chart that shows you a variety of options to stop or deter thieves from stealing your precious data.
OPTION 1 : Wireless
a) AirPort Extreme + USB HD
b) AirPort Time Capsule 2TB or 3TB
a) $249 + USB HD
b) $349 or $449
AirPort can be located out of reach and out of sight. No network cables to indicate where Backup device is located.
Option a) can connect to an external HD, possible to swap and take off site.
Facilitates wireless network access if not already present.
Relatively cost effective.
Slower USB 2.0 for external HD only (although wireless speed would be the limiting factor).
Option b) internal HD can not be taken off site.
Airport Extreme / Time Capsule are mainly intended to create a wireless network. Backing up to attached / included storage has a few known issues.
OPTION 2 : Padlock / Floor Mount
Some NAS devices have physical protection options included:
a) Anti Theft Floor Mount kit (for example for IOSafe NAS for USD$199)
b) Kensington Lock Slot for $90
c) Anchoring Point $10 – $20
Most cost effective way to secure a single Dedicated Backup solution.
Kensington lock will only prevent grab ‘n go theft.
Equipment is visible or traceable via network cable.
Lock needs to be securely bolted to structure to be fully effective, i.e. loop around table leg discourages the quick thief but does not fully secure.
OPTION 3 : Secure Cabinet
Depending on size and quality needed from approximately $100 – $150 to upwards of $1000
Cost effective solution to securely house a variety of equipment.
Deters the quick thieves.
Large Box attracts attention.
Wall mounted construction.
Determined thief will get access.
OPTION 4 : MacMini + Security Mount
A combination of both backup and redundancy.
MacMini : $749(,$999 or $1,249)
www.tryten.com : $49
maclocks : $79.95
Macmini as a clone of your server, minimal downtime on server failure. Unplug the broken, plug in the backup.
Cheap (keyed) sturdy lock can be bolted to desk or wall.
Creating redundancy to limit downtime on server failure becomes more cost effective (or necessary) for medium to large offices.
OPTION 5 : Cloud Storage
Carbonite : from $229.99 p/yr
Backblaze : $50 p/computer/yr
SpiderOak : $10 / 100GB / month
Offsite and impossible to physically steel, burn or drown.
Data accessible from any computer connected to the internet.
Pricey (>$500 p/m) high speed internet connection (such as the fibre optic) with high data allowance is essential.
Conditions differ per service provider (e.g. not all file types may be backup up).
No plug & play backups, i.e. backups need to be downloaded before you can use them.
This chart is for information only. Note costs are taken from supplier’s website and are subject to change. Prices are in AUD unless marked otherwise. Macinteract does not guarantee that provided information is accurate.
Apple’s Time Machine is an excellent backup tool which is extremely easy to use and preinstalled on your mac – so really there is no excuse to not use it.
However, the ease of use comes at the cost of control, e.g. Time Machine runs automatically every hour, thus at times interrupting what you do as it chews up valuable resources of your Mac.
Luckily there are a few options to regain control, one of the easiest to use is TimeMachineScheduler by Klieme (who btw. also do the fantastic ScreenSharingMenulet for both donations are appreciated).
TimeMachineScheduler installs as a System Preference and amongst other features enables you to change the backup interval to anything between 1 – 12 hours, to skip backups within a specified time range and to restrict backups to a defined network connection (e.g. to only run while you are connected via Ethernet)… it really does not get any easier than this and works on 10.5, 10.6 and 10.7.
If you are on 10.7 / Lion Apple now also includes ‘tmutil‘ a UNIX command, enabling everyone comfortable with the command line (use Terminal) to tweak Time Machine’s settings to your liking.
backblaze is an extremely easy and inexpensive (USD 5 per month) way to backup all your data online, i.e. if you have enough bandwidth to burn. setup is as simple as running an installer which installs a preference pane and prompts you for your account details, after that backblaze goes to work and starts backing up automatically. btw. according to backblaze’s website all data is stored safely and encrypted before it gets uploaded, so your data should be safe and sound.
restoring is as simple, and can be done either via a very intuitive webinterface for free or if you have a catastrophic harddrive failure they also offer to burn and send DVD’s or alternatively an external USB harddrive for a some reasonable fee.
sounds simple, is simple and very intuitive… unfortunately, however there also some downsides:
1. currently there is no user control of what gets backed up – on the first run backblaze backs up all your data plus all connected external disks at the time of installing backblaze, with some exceptions.
2. depending on your data volume you need unlimited bandwidth – which is rather expensive in some countries;
we had some email correspondence with their support team which was very responsive & helpful… at least during the private beta phase. equally impressive, they were very honest about the limitations they had to implement in order to make backblaze as simple to use as possible – thus at the time they had no plans yet for “advanced users” (myself… ;0) featurese such as selective backups.
update: macworld has a detailed comparison of online backup services (including backblaze) here.
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