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Thread: Backup revisit

  1. #1
    Member kenkht's Avatar
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    Default Backup revisit

    I would like to discuss with fellow forumers here how you do your backup of your digital medias. For mef, I just have my data mirrored across 2 or 3 external drives using a free backup program from Lacie. It is all done manually and for home use, I guess, it is enough. However, recently I had 2 drives failed on me. Though I did not lose any data, I'm still worried. So how do you guys guarantee the survival of your data?

    There are 2 other solutions I was looking at. One was NAS running Raid on it. It comes with 2,4 or more drives. The problem is that it is quite expensive, like the Drobo.

    The other one is web based backup such as Carbonite.com. Again, gotta pay monthly subscription and depends on the amount of data.

    So, what are you using?

  2. #2
    Senior Member limwhow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    After having several external hard disks fail on me, I have totally converted to Drobo with 3 x 2T drives.
    It has been so far very reliable.

  3. #3
    Member kenkht's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    Are you working off the Drobo as well? I heard that it's a bit slow, but I also heard good reliability.

    I noticed that I have RAID facility on my mac. Anyone done this? ie throwing in a bunch of external drives and let the mac use it as RAID. I'm tempted because it's definitely cheaper.

  4. #4
    Senior Member limwhow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    Quote Originally Posted by kenkht View Post
    Are you working off the Drobo as well? I heard that it's a bit slow, but I also heard good reliability.

    I noticed that I have RAID facility on my mac. Anyone done this? ie throwing in a bunch of external drives and let the mac use it as RAID. I'm tempted because it's definitely cheaper.
    I only connect to the Drobo's when I am at home.
    Anyway I use the Mack Book Pro so I bring it along wherever I am.
    Compared with the other external hard disks, the Drobo is many times faster cos it uses the Firewire 800 (if I don't remember the number wrongly).
    Syncrhonisation that used to require 1 whole hour now can be done in just under 15 minutes.
    That is my personal experience.

    As for the RAID function on the Mac, yes I saw that too.
    But have not attempted to use it.

    My personal take is this: My photos are very valuable to me for memory and sentimental purposes (I am not a professional photographer). Thus having a Drobo simply gives me a peace of mind.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Backup revisit

    I back up all data to two disks: one internal, the other an ordinary internal disk running in an external enclosure. GoodSync is my backup software. So I always have three copies of my data.

  6. #6
    Member kenkht's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    OK. I'm in the process of preparing 2 of my external HDD to use the software RAID on my Mac. Will be using RAID 1 (mirroring) only. And then I will backup to another External HDD. So 3 copies at any time. NAS solution is a bit too pricey at the moment. I gather this way I have enough redundancy to starve off any point of failures.

    And let me tell ya, full formatting a 1.5TB drive takes about 12 hours. And I've got 2 of them And after setting up the RAID, copying in the data will take another day on USB speed. That's a few days work

  7. #7
    Senior Member lunas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    I'm bumping this thread up, as I am loooking for alternative backup methods.

    Please share with us

    Thank you.
    Nikon D300 | D800 - my flickr!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Backup revisit

    connecting harddrives via USB 2.0 will always be slow, whether its transfering files or formating them... it's the speed of the format... Firewire 800 (also known as Firewire B) will be slightly faster, but the preferred connectivity format would be either internal or external SATA as this would be the native format of the drives themselves and thus the speeds will be as fast as the harddrives can handle... SATA 1, 2, or 3 doesn't matter... the sustained read and write speeds of the drive mechanisms aren't fast enough to saturate the bandwidth of even SATA 1...

    or you can try the new USB 3.0 format, which should be even faster than Firewire B, and probably close to SATA speeds, and unlike SATA where the drives would still need an external power source, USB 3.0 can power the drive so you only need that one USB 3.0 cable, which makes it slightly less cumbersome than SATA... but unless you have a recent motherboard, you would probably need to install an add-on card to have USB 3.0...

    if you're using Macs, you're out of luck regarding USB 3.0 at the moment as Apple has yet to include it in the Mac environment, so either external or internal SATA would probably be a good choice if you want to maximise speed of backing-up...

  9. #9
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    For RAID, any attached NAS is definitely better. After setting up the RAID you can already start copying the data, the mirroring will happen quietly in the background. Also, in case one drives fails you just replace it and the NAS appliance does the rest. With USB drives it would require your PC/MAC to be working all the time and it will slow down the usable performance.
    Regarding outages : it pays off to skip the newest and cheapest hard drives and read long-term reviews. I came across this article from Storelab, an Eastern European market leader in professional data recovery. Read about their results of drive failures. Another point is proper handling. Heat is one nasty killer of hard disk, presumed that no mechanical impacts are there on top. A good cooling helps a lot and one should carefully think whether 7200rpm are really necessary - more rpm equals to more heat.
    On top: smartmontools or others are able to report health status and indicate slowly upcoming trouble. I just replaced a drive with weekly increasing "Reallocated Sector Count".
    EOS

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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    Please know that RAID is for high availability, this is a totally different issue with backup.

    If you have RAID running, should something happen to your NAS or your machine running RAID that make recovery impossible, you still need to have a backup in place.

  11. #11
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Please know that RAID is for high availability, this is a totally different issue with backup.
    If you have RAID running, should something happen to your NAS or your machine running RAID that make recovery impossible, you still need to have a backup in place.
    Can't stress the point enough.
    Luckily most of these NAS appliances run an embedded Linux and software RAID. Here a single disk of a RAID1 array can be mounted to a normal Linux system and data can be recovered if the NAS appliance is down and if the file system is still halfway intact. I'm not sure about Mac. Since it's BSD-based chances are good that it works somewhat similar to Linux.
    Windows and software RAID is case gone, to my knowledge.
    EOS

  12. #12

    Default Re: Backup revisit

    How about blu-ray disc? Anyone considering this option? Given the fact that blu-ray writer have dropped to about $200 for a 10x internal drive. Can get those blu-ray rewritter disc that comes in 25gb or 50gb (Dual layer) for backup purposes..
    Photos are our best diaries other then our subconscious mind. . .

  13. #13
    Senior Member lunas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    What is the actual Hard disk drive that you guys are using? Maybe can share the model for easy reference for me who is non-technical person

    Thank you.
    Nikon D300 | D800 - my flickr!

  14. #14
    Member Nemofish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    Can't stress the point enough.
    Luckily most of these NAS appliances run an embedded Linux and software RAID. Here a single disk of a RAID1 array can be mounted to a normal Linux system and data can be recovered if the NAS appliance is down and if the file system is still halfway intact. I'm not sure about Mac. Since it's BSD-based chances are good that it works somewhat similar to Linux.
    Windows and software RAID is case gone, to my knowledge.
    +++++
    juz to share abt the Raid 1 harddisk with embedded Linux on NAS.
    Even the Raid hardware NAS is dead juz remove one of the mirrored harddisk from the NAS.
    Plug it into a external casing and connect even to a Windows O/S PC/notebook ,using a software "EXT reader" and u can instantly read all the files inside harddisk. I did that for my customer.

    Also the NAS I use for customer also allow be to attached an external USB harddisk to use as 2nd level data backup. So beside 2 pieces of hadrdisks using Raid 1, there is another piece doing schedule backup at the same time

    cheers

  15. #15

    Default Re: Backup revisit

    For the HDD unless you can pick up enterprise certified ones, go for the smaller sizes you can find in Funan or Sim Lim today. The high density of today's drive causes much more frequent data errors and disk failures.

    While I have a RAID 1 external backup at home, I am
    In the process of moving my pictures and videos to the Cloud.

    As a MobileMe user, I have 20GB so that is what I will use.

    You may wish to consider other online storage provider. These memories are irreplaceable and a small monthly fee is worth it. Just have one less kopi-o a day will pay for the subscription fees.

    Cheers

  16. #16
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    Quote Originally Posted by lunas View Post
    What is the actual Hard disk drive that you guys are using? Maybe can share the model for easy reference for me who is non-technical person
    Guess I forgot the link in my earlier posting, here it is:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...elab,2681.html
    From my own experience: Samsung is a big No-No. I have replaced at least 4 of them in the past 4 years, one just recently where the "reallocated sector count" went up by 3 sectors a month.
    Normally, heat will kill a disk (if there is no mechanical impact). Now (and also based on that report) I have Hitachi, 500GB. Smartmontools report lower temperature (4 degree less, 39C stable) than the Samsung before although it's also a 7200rpm. WD Caviar Green is also a good buy, imho. Test have shown they actually run at 5400rpm, enough for most users anyway. Stable at 37C. Have good computer case and 120mm fans. Should be fine.
    As beowulf68 mentioned, don't use the latest and biggest models. The price per GB shouldn't be the main criteria. Replacement by vendor (3 or 5 years warranty and stuffs) is nice but doesn't include data recovery if the disk dies. For 40GB of data to be recovered you can easily pay a 4 digit sum to a professional company.
    EOS

  17. #17

    Default Re: Backup revisit

    Quote Originally Posted by kenkht View Post
    For me, I just have my data mirrored across 2 or 3 external drives using a free backup program from Lacie. It is all done manually and for home use, I guess, it is enough. However, recently I had 2 drives failed on me. Though I did not lose any data, I'm still worried.
    Another option is to revise your assessment of the situation. I often think that people go overboard in backing up data.

    The way I read your account above is that your system worked: Two drives failed, yet you still didn't lose any data. That tells me that you have a good system, not that you need to take more precautions.

    Assuming that you buy good quality drives and treat them properly, it is extremely improbable that three drives will fail at the same time. I'm not sure from your description above whether you had two failures at the same time. If so, even that is highly improbable.

    In short, if you have your data on three separate drives, you are very unlikely to lose any due to drive failure. It's possible, of course, but not probable. So why worry?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    I use 2 Synology DS110j and do a weekly scheduled replication across the 2 via ethernet. Then I do a quarterly full backup to an external usb hdd and store the hdd away from the NAS.

    Product info:
    http://www.synology.com/enu/index.php
    Last edited by ManWearPants; 14th September 2010 at 07:29 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Backup revisit

    on my home pc, i have 3 internal hdd
    the os is 300gb split into 2 (one is for the os and the other is for CS scratch disc, files and software backups).

    the 2 other drives are both SATA drive
    1st is 500gb in one partition which i use as the main backup drive.

    the 2nd one is a 1TB drive split into 2 partition.
    one of the partition is where i place all my photos i work on..

    also i do a separate backup of all the photos i have on the above pc to my laptop.

    i used to backup using cdrom but i find it ineffective nowadays as chances are, in a couple of years in storage, you wont be able to open it correctly which is what happened to me recently..

  20. #20
    Member kenkht's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup revisit

    PHEW!! RAIDS, NAS, SYNC

    After sweating about it for awhile (after all, I used to sell High Availability Redundancy Sun server to the cost of $250K), I still find it hard to decide and slightly confusing, especially for home use. If you think about, all these solution cost $$$ and simple solutions like Drobo and like cost upwards $1000 to $20K or more.

    Bottom line is there must be at least one other complete backup to the data AND one other copy offsite (at a different location).

    My case study:

    I have a portable MacBook and a desktop iMac. I SYNC between these 2 systems, so 2 copies there. I also do complete system backup on each machine, so adding up to 4 copies. I also have 2 external drive backup, counting up to 6 copies and lastly, a portable HDD sync drive to sync my 2 systems. Total 7 copies of my data. The portable HDD is actually not a real backup but it does contain my data. I treat my laptop and external HDD as my "offsite" copy because it goes wherever I go.

    Now the headache comes when I run out of space. That's why solutions like NAS and like are good because of expandability. It'll do for now.

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