I'm looking for a new backup system for my home office and I'm feeling a bit like Goldilocks. Without blinking, I could reel off a half-dozen recently released storage products. There's the Nimbus E-class, logging in at 500 TB (“Too big…”). There's the Kingston USB flash memory for portable devices (“Too small…). What I need is the storage solution that's just right.
Back in the day, I had an Iomega Zip Drive with 100 Mb discs. Then I discovered the marvel of being able to buy a 1 Gb flash drive that would let me back up my entire Outlook .pst file (remember when 1 gig sounded like a lot?). That set me back about $100 at the time, which was before companies gave them away by the handful at trade shows.
Of course, the memory stick made me nervous, and I eventually went looking for a more dependable long-term solution. That proved to be a 160 GB external hard drive that has stood me in good stead for a number of years.
Unfortunately, over the last few months, my plucky little hard drive has begun to make unnerving bleats every once in a while. I haven't been able to discover the official meaning of the noise, but it can’t be good. I need to find another backup method that works quickly and is as reliable as it gets.
Working the engineering sites, I tend to see a lot of enterprise and embedded products come down the pike, but I'm far less informed about consumer products. And that doesn't even get into the whole religious war of whether it is best to have your storage at your fingertips or whether it should reside in the cloud. Of course, the shift to an online backup raises another question of which online backup.
I save a lot of e-mail, so my .pst file often hovers around 1.5 Gb. I work with a lot of high-resolution graphics, as well as MP3 files of interviews. Right now, I manually save folders that include new or modified data, but would love something that would automatically save only changed files – sort of like the old Iomega one-step back up.
I figure, who better to ask about a solution than y’all? What about it? Should I get another external hard drive? Should I use one of the online backup services? Opt for a different technology? What do you recommend? What has worked best for you?
Over the last 15 years I always was afraid of losing my files. Diskettes? I always knew they would fail as soon as I wouldn't expect they fail. CDs and DVDs? They are more reliable, but Ooops! it happened that the most important CD had fallen and "Voilà" now I own a circular risk! Hard drives? Suddenly a blackout happened and for my surprise the no-break (actually the battery) had already reached its lifetime and I hadn't noted before. Then when the system come back on line I scanned the disk and surprise! an infinity number of failed clusters. Finally, no more headache! I put all my files into the cloud. I have a number of services, the free one and the payed one, but for me is a good thing my files aren't centralized. Centralized or not, I think that the cloud is a better solution.
As a very simple solution, I like the Seagate Replica. It will backup your entire system. If your computer hard drive fails you can put in another drive of equal or larger size and get back to where you were. It works in the background to boot. Seagate may not be selling this anymore but the backup software was from Rebit so you could buy any USB external drive and still use the software. Here is a link to an article on Tom's Hardware about the Replica. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/hdd-backup-recovery,2450.html
Use *all* of your options, and make sure that at least one copy is physically transported off-site.
We also use Carbonite, and can testify that their cloud service genuinely saved our butts after a disaster.
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