Backing up files at SILS
SILS servers and faculty and staff computers (profiles and D: drives) are backed up at SILS. If your files are not in one of these locations, you must choose other options for backing up and protecting your data.
Students should not save files to the Lab computers. Any files saved on these machines, such as files in the "My Documents" folder or on the Desktop, are automatically purged when the computer is rebooted. It is imperative that users follow at least one method of backup.
You can back your files up to a server (such as your SILS home directory or Isis ) or to removable media (such as a USB data key , External Hard Drive , or CDs or DVDs ). Plan a backup strategy for your files.
SILS home directory
If you save files to your SILS home directory (the H: or M: drive on the SILS Lab machines), your files will be backed up nightly. You can put your files in your home directory by mapping to your folder as a drive (this is done automatically when you log into a SILS Lab machine as yourself, or you can map a drive on your laptop). You can use your home directory space for file backup, but please keep your total space used below 1 GB .
If you ever lose or accidentally delete a file from your home directory, it can be restored from backup. To get a file restored from backup, contact the Help Desk (962-8188). Backup tapes are only saved for two weeks , so if you lose a file, contact the Help Desk as soon as possible so that your backup is not overwritten. Your file will be restored to your home directory.
- Isis (AFS space)
If you save files to Isis (your AFS space or ITS H: drive), your files will be backed up. You can put your files on Isis by connecting to Isis via FTP and transferring the files that way. You also have a space quota on Isis (an amount of disk storage that you can't exceed). To check how much space you have, go to onyen.unc.edu and click "check disk space usage" in the lefthand column.
If you lose or accidentally delete a file from Isis, it can be restored from backup. To get a file restored, you must contact ITS, but contact them right away; they don't save backups for very long!
Removable Media Backup
External Hard Drives
External drives can hold between 5GB and 500GB of data, depending on the size of the disk and the drive you're using, so they are very useful for backups. Like regular hard drives, external drives can fail, so never save your only copy of a file on a drive. Use the drive for backup by making a copy of a file that is also on your home directory, Isis space, laptop, etc. When an external drive is attached to your computer, it appears as a drive on your computer and can be used in the same way as your primary hard drive.
Third Party Storage
Students may choose to use a third-party backup system called "Iron Mountain". The Iron Mountain client is available through UNC for $10.00 per month. The client will backup your computer's hard drive to the Iron Mountain server according to a schedule you set.
Dropbox also offers free and low cost back solutions but may not be used for university sensitive data.
USB Data Keys
USB data keys are small drives stored in a plastic case that hold anywhere from 128MB to 16GB of data (and perhaps more by the time you're reading this; as a new technology, they are evolving quickly). They are sold at the RAM Shop and work with any notebook or desktop system with a functional USB port. When you insert them into the USB port of the computer, they appear as a drive on the computer, and you can move files to and from them just as you would to a physical drive in the machine. These are a good choice for backing up files that change frequently, because you can overwrite old versions without having to waste media, as you would with a CD-R.
CDs or DVDs
CDs and DVDs are more stable media than diskettes or external hard drives, and they hold a large amount of data, so they may be a better choice for backing up files that are not likely to change, such as music or photos. (On the other hand, they can only be used once, whereas USB keys and external hard drives can be reused.) Even CDs sometimes fail, and of course they can get scratched, broken, lost, etc. So if you want to archive a file (make a copy and take it off of your server space or laptop), it's a good idea to burn two CDs of the file, just to be safe.
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