Did you know March 31 is World Backup Day

Apparently, this has been a regular thing for several years and the date was chosen as a humorous reference to April Fool’s Day – you don’t want to be the tragic fool who lost everything when it was easily preventable.


Onshape is not officially supported or endorsed by World Backup Day.

Backups are one of those mundane things that we all know we should do on a regular basis, but it requires a certain amount of discipline and dedication. When you lose your data due to corrupt or deleted files, hardware failures or computer viruses, that is when you discover how good your backup strategy really is.

For my own personal backups, I thought I was on the ball – my laptop is automatically backed up to my NAS several times a day. However, I only ever backup my phone once or twice a year. Of course, the inevitable happens – my phone gets bricked by a software update, but at least I knew I had a backup that I could restore from. Panic over. Or so I thought: When I received my new phone and attempted to restore the most recent backup, I received a curt message informing me that the restore process was unsuccessful. My photos, contacts, notes – everything – gone forever!

That’s when I learned a very important lesson the hard way: a backup is only worthwhile if there is more than one copy, every copy has been tested and backups are made regularly.

So I was intrigued when I received an email from a CAD reseller about World Backup Day. They wanted to share information  on how to backup my PDM vault, and other such topics as:

  • SQL Standard backup routines

  • Differences between one-time and scheduled backups

  • How to find and manage archived data

  • Options for PDM Standard and SQL Express scheduled backups

  • Necessary vs. Nice-to-Have for backup files

Backing up a PDM file server and SQL database is certainly complex enough to warrant its own webinar, even more so if your data is replicated across multiple sites.

Backups in the Age of Modern CAD

It is estimated that up to 30% of a company’s CAD files become corrupt or go missing over their lifetime. Therefore a medium-sized design team generating hundreds of files every day with old file-based CAD and PDM should make a backup at least once a day.

However, these backups must be run off-hours when (hopefully) no one on the design team is actively editing files, otherwise the backup may be incomplete or become corrupted. Then, if your files are accidentally deleted, become corrupt due to a software crash or are lost due to a server failure, at least you can restore your data from the most recent backup and just lose one day’s worth of work. That could be one day’s worth of work for the entire team, not to mention the time it would take to get the systems back up and running and restoring the data from the backup. In reality, your disaster recovery plan could easily cost you several days.

Fortunately, there is a better way. Onshape’s modern CAD system does not use files, nor does it store any data locally on your computer. All your design data is stored in a database in a secure cloud workspace and accessed through a web browser or mobile device. That means no dedicated PDM hardware or IT infrastructure to worry about. No servers to buy, install, configure and maintain and no backup routines to schedule. Onshape does it all for you.

Onshape's databases are replicated across multiple, geographically separated data centers. Your data is replicated in a matter of milliseconds as you work, so if something were to happen to one of the data centers, another one would take over immediately without you even noticing.

All of Onshape’s databases are backed up every 3 hours and data is restored from these backups and subjected to integrity tests at least every 3 weeks. In addition, Onshape’s security and data protection measures are far superior to anything that any company could implement (or afford) on its own.

If you’re using Onshape, every day is Backup Day. It’s not a special occasion.

For a more in-depth look at how Onshape secures and backs up your data – without you ever having to think about it – download your free copy of “How Safe is Your CAD Data?” In this eBook, you’ll learn about our multi-layered, modern approach to CAD data security as well as all the additional safeguards we deploy alongside our partner, Amazon Web Services.

P.S. I’ve just made another phone backup while writing this. I suggest you do the same.