Best media to backup data?

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Best media to backup data?

Post by hozer2k » Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:24 pm

I am working on research and trying to determine the best method to backup my data. Options:

1 - Internal hard drive (susceptible to failure and lightning)
2 - External hard drive (can be removed so not susceptible to lightning, but can be stolen or damaged in a fire, etc). Not highly portable
3 - Flash drive. Just had a failure with one of these so I think this is out. Dang, I have one about as thick as two credit cards that fit in my wallet and totally portable so not susceptible to being stolen or fire, etc)
4 - DVD. Good solution since it can be accidentlly overwritten or corrupted. Incremental backups easy. Not sure if I can get the size managable, can still be stolen or damaged in a fire.
5 - Some type of internet host. Could be slow, but I am interested in this option since I will always be there (unlike anything I own which can be lost or stolen, etc). Not sure about privacy issues though.

So that being said, can I get some thoughts on this? I need about 1-2 gigs now, but potentially a good bit more in the future and incremental backups would mean even more space. I am kinda paranoid, but a lot of effort has gone into this and with a couple recent failures, I am more concerned.


P.S. I guess I could always encrypt the data to store remotely...but kind of a pain to that on a regular basis...maybe not though. Anyone heard of something like this?

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Post by Aris » Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:19 pm

ive always really liked external 2.5" hard drives. there small and portable and still hold a large amount of data.

Also, if you own an Ipod and have alot of extra space on it, you can use it to store data on it also.

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Post by peerke » Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:16 pm

I would pick the HD option. DVD's take up too much room and can (will?) get corrupted even without touching them.
As far as I know HD's will hold their data indefinately as long as you handle them with reasonable care. Maybe store them at a friend's place a few blocks down the road to be safe against fire and theft.

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Post by Longwalker » Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:34 pm

High reliability backup is more a matter of redundancy than anything else. The chances of losing all your data are greatly reduced if you keep multiple backups in different locations.

In terms of media, external hard drives are the best bet at the moment. Most other methods are too slow or too awkward to use on a regular basis; with an external drive it's just a matter of connect, copy at 30-70MB/s, and disconnct. There are now triple interface models available that will work over USB2, 1394 and eSATA. All you need to get your data is access to power and a computer with any of the above ports.

For redundancy, get two drives and alternate between them every backup. Keep the un-used drive at work or somewhere else off-site. If your on-site drive is destroyed or stolen, you'll still have the your previous backup on the other drive.

A two-drive alternating cycle requires three failures for you to lose all your data: your main HD and both the backup drives. If you're not comfortable with that level of risk, just add more drives into the rotation.

If you can't accept losing a backup cycle's worth of data should your on-site backup fail, then use two drives per rotation or shorten your rotation cycle. You could also back up time critical information to a CF or SD card to carry around with you.

The bottom line is to avoid keeping all your eggs in one basket. In this regard, choice of media matters less than the number of redundant copies.

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Re: Best media to backup data?

Post by alock » Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:59 am

hozer2k wrote:I need about 1-2 gigs now...
Surely DVD must be the best option for this amount. Take alternate DVD's to different locations. Take the first to work and leave it in your desk drawer. Take the second to your parents the next time you seem them etc... When you've exhausted all locations start from the beginning again and throw away the old one.

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Post by jb_ » Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:35 am

Not only are DVDs unreliable, but you don't find out they've failed until your data is lost and you need to restore it. At least with a hard disk, each time you backup you'll have a high chance of detecting a failing disk.

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Post by Longwalker » Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:15 am

Touch wood, but so far I've never had a good DVD burn fail at a later date. If the DVD passes a byte-by-byte comparison with the data burned to it, then the DVD has remained good. Trusting DVDs without a post-burn compare is asking for it, though.

Another trick for DVD reliability is to make PAR2 parity sets for every few DVDs. Make a parity set for e.g. every five DVDs and you'll still be able to recover all your data even if one out of the six total disks goes missing.

Other things to look at for high reliability removable media are DVD-RAM and magneto-optical drives. Both DVD-RAM and MO are designed for high reliability--MO disks have rated archival lifetimes of 40 years--but this comes at a cost of lower data transfer rates than DVDR or other desktop products.

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Post by GamingGod » Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:52 pm

whats it for anyways? P0rn? JKing

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Post by ciz28 » Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:53 pm

If you're worried about a hard drive getting lost or stolen, you could look into something like this: ... sprocbit2u

I wish I had an AES version, but to be honest, even though my version with 40-bit DES is crackable, I seriously doubt anyone would go through that effort, not to say my data is even worth it to anyone :lol:

Also, does everyone else really have that bad of experiences with hard drives losing data during handling? I've never had an issue with any of my drives, and my 40GB Barracuda IV is pushing five years old now, I think. Even Western Digital claims that their drives can handle 65Gs of operational shock, and 250Gs of non operational shock: ... 1138290141

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