Holy Trinity of Backup

A great article to support the same reasons we recommend backup for all users:

CBC – Backups

The best part of the article is that is explains that backup outside of the business world is for those items that are irreplaceable such as photos and home video of your family, friends and events.

When we talk of backup, we also refer to Disaster Recovery which is the more encompassing branch of data survival.

In Disaster Recovery, you are not only planning on restoring a backup of specific data but the whole structure for your computing needs. The focus is on redundancy and minimizing downtime. In the business world, that would include servers or file storage nodes but at home it usually means the 1 key computer that you need to access your stuff.

That is why we usually recommend at least 2 backup types out of various offerings out there. We break up the offerings into 2 groups, the first is straight data backup and the second is on the disaster recovery side whereby you backup the whole system.

Here is a breakdown of the current technology and what they mean to you:

1. External Harddrive – These are commonly found as USB external drives but can come in firewire, Esata, Thunderbolt etc. These are high capacity units that can act as both straight data storage, or as an image target due to the volume sizes. You can choose various capacities, speed of drives and even types of drives giving you the most flexible options on the market. In today’s economy, this option gives you the best capacity for the money but generally they are local and stay with the computer/server in use.

2. Online/Cloud Backup service – These automated services are subscription based and take your data offsite to a secured location that is accessible via any internet connected computer. The big advantage is that your data is safe away from your local site in case of any kind of disaster. The disadvantages are cost and the time it takes to backup large volumes. This type of service is recommended for straight data and not for large image files.

3. NAS/SAN – Network Attached Storage or Storage Area Network are larger corporate offerings but are finding their way down the consumer market as cost and implementation complexity are reduced. A Nas device is a network enabled device similar to an external harddrive but accessible as an independent device instead of being attached to a specific computer. A nas can be used in similar fashion to an external drive but can be located anywhere on the network (including across VPN networks or multi-site locations). With the price of technology coming down, NAS devices are finding their way into the personal computing world.

A SAN is an organized and dedicated network with a pool of backup devices and is usually fiber connected to an existing operational network for fast backup services. SAN offerings are expensive and designed for large multi-office style companies. SANs are utilized when companies have huge volumes of data that need to be stored offsite and cannot rely on traditional internet connectivity.

4. USB Memory Sticks – Those small thumb drives which in today’s world can carry up to 256GB of data. With the average cost of a 32gb going for about $15, this cheap device can storage vast amounts of data well above the needs of more personal users. The downside of these devices is that they are very sensitive to casual handling and get damaged easily. Also, as flash memory technology does not have redundancy, if a unit goes bad, there is little to no chance of recovery or restoration. These are great for quick data transport or short term backup but we would not recommend them for long term archiving.

5. Dual layered DVDs – Yes, people still backup to DVD. Why? Cost and physical storage. A spindle of 50 8gb capacity dual layer DVD runs about $50 and can burn data within minutes for long term storage. Physically they do not take up a lot of space when stacked and in most cases DVDs can be read by every computer in today’s market. You can also opt for blue-ray which are significantly more expensive but also hold about 50gb per disc and are just as fast as regular DVDs.

There are still older types of technology for corporate level backup including tape drives, raid configured disk arrays etc but generally those are for higher end applications and are being replaced with the SAN or NAS type devices.

In today’s world of data storage and transportation, reliable and effective backup is more critical than ever. A good rule of thumb is that 10% of your computer budget, whether you are buying a personal PC or a server for work, should be spent on your backup considerations. A little pre-planning can save you a lot of headache and a lot of downtime when things go wrong.

For more information or questions, feel free to contact us anytime.

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2 Responses to Holy Trinity of Backup

  1. The good thing about using a small external hard drive is that you can easily bring it with you on the go – it fit´s perfectly into your hand bag or camera bag and when you want to edit, you just plug it into the computer.

  2. Pingback: CryptoLocker, CryptoWall – the new evil ransomeware from hell! | Fix My Computer Now Tech Blog

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