[AUUG-Talk]: Power User Backups

David Newall david.newall at auug.org.au
Mon Jan 15 21:31:34 EST 2007


I think backing up to removable hard disk is the best solution.  Costing 
around $1/GB, this is a reasonably priced solution which has major 
advantages in speed, reliability, convenience and price over tape:

* In my experience, tape drives are rather unreliable, suffering from 
both drifting alignment and, more commonly, total failure of the unit.  
When you need to access an older medium (admittedly this is an archiving 
issue more than a backup issue) the new drive can't read (or even 
accept) it.  Hard drives have a longer shelf-life than tapes do.

* By setting up you primary and backup drives as a mirrored set, you can 
do an online backup; break the mirror when you want to remove the backup 
for safe keeping.  This is huge advantage.

* Multiple hard drives can span into a single filesystem, giving you a 
virtual single-medium backup capacity as large as your total online 
storage capacity.  Tapes can't do that unless you purchase really 
expensive hardware such as a silo.

* Hard drives are arguably cheaper than tapes: 1.2TB of disk (in, say, 
3x400GB drives) costs slightly over $1,000, which is less than 3x400GB 
tapes plus one tape drive to suit.  Add another tape drive in 2 years, 
after the old one has failed (back to my fast point, you see), and 
you're really miles ahead in price.



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