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Affordable Home Backups for 10-100G Systems?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the portable-media-that-can-store-GIGs dept.

Linux 690

MichaelJames asks: "Ok, I have my MP3's streaming, all our digital pictures up, and a file server running on one machine in the basement. What would be the best way to do simple backups of the system and data? Get a tape drive Get a CDRW or DVDRW to backup the MP3 and pics, but use the old Zip drive for the file server data?" With drives in the 10-20 gig range only getting smaller and less expensive, what are we to do for backups, that have yet to scale well in the same range. For home systems with up to 100G of storage, what do you use to back up that much data, with a solution that's affordable to the average computer user? Have DVD writers become cheap enough for serious consideration as a backup media?

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Hard Drives (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689349)

> For home systems with up to 100G of storage, what do you use to back up that much data, with a solution that's affordable to the average computer user?

Given that a 100G hard drive is cheaper than any removable media solution, why not just buy another hard drive and install it in a removable (not hot-swappable, just removable) rack?

Racks are $20 at my local Fry's, and inserts for other hard drives are $10.

Re:Hard Drives (1)

cats-paw (34890) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689367)

That's the ticket.

I got me a firewire set-up.

Plug in 30GB - backup - unplug -turn off.

Takes about 6min.

Re:Hard Drives (4, Informative)

Marvin_OScribbley (50553) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689406)

This will also work for laptops. I recently purchased an external drive enclosure with a PCMCIA connector (also available in Firewire and USB), and a separate 3.5" hard drive. The cost of the two together was less than these external drives they advertise for backing up your notebook, plus I can reuse the drive enclosure for any 3.5" hard drive.

The drive enclosure was a bit more expensive than the rack mentioned above (under $100 with shipping) however it did come with a two sets of enclosures - one for the drive itself to use externally, and another to put in a PC cabinet if you want to hot swap the drive with it instead of using the card slot.

Re:Hard Drives (3, Informative)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689414)

I did exactly just that for a small office that I consult for. It backs up the entire server hard drive, and all critical information on all networked workstations, such as e-mail, etc... And for the backup software, I simply used Powerquest's DataKeeper software, that happened to come free on a driver disk for a Firewire hard drive bay I bought on a whim and never used. Compared to the tape back-up and other options, this was a no-brainer, both in the price and ease of use departments. Running the backup was reduced to a one-click wonder app, perfect for the "mature" staff in this office. ;-)

Does anyone have a better bang/VS/buck solution? I know CDRW's are quite cheap, but one has to factor in speed, as well as human intervention. Swapping disks requires attention, which requires a wage. The backup system simply is launched every friday after work, and does it's thing on it's own time, without need for people. And with 100GB, no sanely priced tape drive comes close.

Re:Hard Drives (1)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689419)

That's true. Hard drives are cheap nowadays. However, storing data in hard drives can risk your data, namely in bad sectors problem. Don't rely on MTBF scores, they're not too reliable.

You'd probably want to have the backups in any flavor of DVD discs -- 8.5 G for double sided discs, about $10-20 each. DVD lifetime is claimed to be 50+ years(?).

Or, alternatively, you can make a IDE-disc based RAID system to overcome data losses.

How about this one? (2)

corky6921 (240602) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689445)

The 100GB Western Digital Special Edition hard drive [] with 8MB of cache.

Supposedly, it performs just like a SCSI drive, but it's IDE. A couple of these in the aforementioned rack in a mirrored RAID combo would make a perfect backup.

I'm definitely swapping out my current configuration for two of these once I can afford the $600. :)

Re:How about this one? (2)

pivo (11957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689509)

Well, it's only "just like SCSI" in that it has a larger cache. There's much more to SCSI than cache. Anyway, that site says $339 for the drive, where'd you get $600?

Hard Drive != Long Term Backup (2, Redundant)

Christopher Bibbs (14) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689466)

This is really only a short term backup. Since the storage media and the reader are one unit, if either fails the back up is toast. If you have two drives, you might as well setup mirrored RAID.

Real backup is done on semipermanent media (>10 year storage) in a format that can be taken off site easily.

Re:Hard Drive != Long Term Backup (2, Interesting)

Sxooter (29722) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689492)

In Linux, and many other flavors of unix, you could buy three drives, set them all three up as a mirror set, then pull one of the drives and take it offsite. If one drive dies, you can replace it without interuption, if both fail, you can just bring in the one from offsite and plug it in. Given the speed / price / performance of modern IDE hard drives, you could have two offsite drives AND a mirror set for less than most medium to large tape drives, and as far as I know, hard drives have a pretty long shelf like (usually >10 years) assuming they are treated well.

Re:Hard Drives (2, Redundant)

Uruk (4907) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689499)

One of the reasons that hard drives are lousy back up medium is because they don't address some of the needs of serious backup systems.

Sure if it's removable then you're probably mostly OK, but if some power accident fries your box, and your backup hard drive is in there, oh well.

Another principle of good backups is to have another copy in another location, since having an extra hard drive won't help you if your house burns down.

For average users, I think the only real solution to backups is going to come when network storage is dirt cheap and bandwidth is just as cheap. God how I'd love to backup my data with one entry in a crontab:

0 * * * * scp -r /

(Using the SSH keysystem to avoid entering passwords, of course) :)

Tough problem (3, Informative)

phr1 (211689) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689352)

DVD media is about $6 per 4.7GB disk now, but do you really want to use 20 pieces of media to back up a 100 GB disk?

One thing some people do is back up their HD to a second HD.

Zip disks seem practically useless these days--recordable CD is just too cheap and universal by comparison.

Tape drives are the high-end solution, but expensive.

Re:Tough problem (2)

bonzoesc (155812) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689400)

Back in the day, people would use far more than 20 pieces of media to back up a 60 MB disk.

ARG (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689353)

I am the FP Kingpin Biznatch.......

Maybe it's not fancy, but... (5, Funny)

Strange_Attractor (160407) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689354)

Just get a lot (A LOT) of 1.44MB floppy disks...

Re:Maybe it's not fancy, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689386)

Wouldn't that be about 71,228,572 disks? No prob...! Better get started early though!

Re:Maybe it's not fancy, but... (5, Funny)

extremely (1681) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689462)

I'm pretty sure it is ONLY 71,111 diskettes. =) Which makes a stack just over 1/10 of a mile long...

First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689357)


Cheapest way might be another hard drive... (1, Redundant)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689359)

It's been said before, but tape drives are still fairly small compared to current hard drives unless you want to spend thousands for DLT or something similar. With 100GB+ hard drives around $300 or so, you might just want to throw a drive rack and a removable HD in for backup.

One more thing...First Post! :-)

Re:Cheapest way might be another hard drive... (1)

codingOgre (259310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689401)

If you have a dlt7000 (heheheh) you can buy 40-80GB DLT IV tapes for 50 a pop. Not too bad

Re:Cheapest way might be another hard drive... (4, Insightful)

nbcjones (463617) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689408)

Dangerous. As long as it's plugged in to a computer, there's a chance it'll get fried.

I once worked at a place where we had a lightning storm. Within a week, about half of the hard drives had failed, out of about a dozen. RAID won't save you then. And how fast can you get replacement hard drives installed, anyway?

All the affected machines were plugged into good UPSes, too.

Moral of the story: Always use offline backups.

Re:Cheapest way might be another hard drive... (2)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689496)

That's why it's a REMOVABLE hard drive. Kinda like the hot-swappable ones that servers have. Just pull it out of the machine and put it someplace safe when not needed - you know, someplace the cat can easily rub against it!

Affordable DVD burners (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689360)

Here is a link to some affordable dvd burners I found on Google [] .

JonKatz (-1)

Reikk (534266) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689362)

is a fucking fag! use a beowulf cluster of assholes as a backup. fuck!

raid 1 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689363)

I'd get a cheap raid card, set up raid 1 simple mirroring and poof... some backup but not off site...

Re:raid 1 (1)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689478)

You dont even need to go that far. Sofware RAID can also provide you with a cheap alternative.

Many know that Linux has software RAID, but that is not your only choice.Windows 2000 [] also provides software driven RAID.

Re:raid 1 (2)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689500)

RAID (even RAID1) is not backup, it is fault-tolerance.

The difference becomes clear when you say ">" when you mean ">>"!


More Drives (1, Redundant)

Liquid(TJ) (318258) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689364)

Seems to me that, anymore, the only cheap solution that's got any speed to it is more hard drives. OF course, if you're looking to do weekly's or something then it's no fun changing out a whole drive for it every week, but then it's not THAT much work either...

Re:More Drives (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689473)

> OF course, if you're looking to do weekly's or something then it's no fun changing out a whole drive for it every week, but then it's not THAT much work either...

No work at all if you go removable.

(Removable drive rack review [] )

All of the removable IDE (or SCSI) racks are pretty much the same as the gadget in the review, with minor variations on the theme.

As a bonus, they make futzing around with other operating systems and/or distros (benchmarking, porting, fooling around) a piece of cake, and are a great way to "use up" those old Other uses - sneakernet with 20G removable media. If you live in an apartment and can't h4x0r j00r w4llz with cable runs, it makes loading content onto your "MP3/DiVX jukebox" computer a snap.

I've got two on my "main" machine (one to boot from, one to use as a backup / "gigabyte floppy drive"), and one on each of my "media playback" machines.

Thirteenth post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689365)

Thirteenth post!

100GB data storage (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689368)

First one!

One word: RAID (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689369)

Am I missing something?

raid (1, Redundant)

geekoid (135745) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689370)

since drive are so cheap, maybe systems should start coming with a standard raid set up?
also you can by many tape solutions.

Re:raid (2, Insightful)

darkwiz (114416) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689459)

Raid doesn't address one of the other common modes of data loss: catastrophic failure/natural disaster. If your raid gets set on fire, shocked with 1MV lightning, or doused in water, it will probably be completely gone. Offline backups (such as removable, or offsite backups) are much more reliable (it isn't likely your house is going to burn down at the same time your bank is subsumed by a tidal wave).

Another thing that some of us are looking towards is finding a trustworthy friend to share capacity with. If you each buy the extra hard drive (or have space to spare), and rsync nightly with each other, you can get reasonable coverage, and offsite backup. Just pick one reasonably geographically far from you so your data doesn't get sucked up in the same tornado.

Or if you don't trust the "friend", use an encrypted filesystem, or crypt the files first.

Re:raid (2)

xant (99438) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689481)

Mirroring isn't backing up. RAID (-5 or -1, at least, not -0) will protect a working system from hardware failure quite nicely. But it won't protect you from user error. The biggest source of failures in my personal experience has been installing software that destroys your partition, installing software that throws your system configuration into chaos and accidentally deleting or overwriting software that you really, really needed for system operation.

RAID won't protect against those types of accidents. Indeed, RAID will happily mirror your screwup for you, automatically. Real backups, on removable media, are the only way to keep a working copy of your system. A separate, permanent hard drive would work too (although it doesn't provide the mental separation between "secure backup" and "live system" that DVDs or tapes would). The important thing is that you perform your backup manually, at a point when your system is in a "known good" configuration.

Veritas (1, Flamebait)

alen (225700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689371)

Borrow a copy of Veritas Netbackup Datacenter from work. Get a tape drive and some tapes on ebay for cheap.

That's kinda illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689436)

... and, depending on the $$$'s involved, could be a felony in some states.

Inexpensive raid motherboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689372)

You can get inexpensive (ide) raid motherboards and a couple of big discs. Cheaper than a dvdrw solution (although not as flexible and neato)

Recycle and save the environment! (5, Funny)

meckardt (113120) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689374)

Hey, I've got all these 5 1/4" floppy disks sitting in boxes in a back closet. I bet if I added them all up, they would amount to close to 100 GB.

Re:Recycle and save the environment! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689458)

> I probably have 100 GB in 5.25 floppies...
Unless you have 83,000 of them, no. And if you have 83,000 floppy disks, assuming 20 per inch, that's a stack 345 feet tall, or 57 6ft tall stacks. That's 11500 cubic feet.

That's a pretty big basement.

Re:Recycle and save the environment! (2)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689472)

Oh yeah...I've got a box of 5 1/4"'s I've been planning to burn to CD's forever.

I can just see this as a backup solution ... "Just 4 more weeks and my Groundhog Day backup will be done...oh look - more trick or treaters" :)

Re:Recycle and save the environment! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689477)

1 floppy=1.4MB. thus 100GB=71000 Floppies
3 floppies are about 1cm thick. So there is a stack of 238m length of floppies or, packed in a box you have over 2 cubic meters of floppies packed compact.

That's 83,333 (and a third) 5.25" floppies (1)

blach (25515) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689490)

That's a lot of 5 and a quarter floppies dude

Not big enough (3, Insightful)

paulywog (114255) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689377)

I don't really think CDs and DVDs really aren't big enough for regular backup of large sets of files. It's just too inconvenient to have to setup a bunch of different 5GB backups, one per DVD (or swap DVDs). The only convenient solutions are to do what the first poster said: use a second harddrive, they're relatively cheap. Or buy a tape drive to store the backups.

Personally, I backup to a second harddrive.

Hard Drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689382)

have "become cheap enough for serious consideration as a backup media". (I know, technically the '.' doesn't belong there. I'm putting it there, deal with it.)

Tapes are still the way to go (5, Interesting)

still cynical (17020) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689383)

CD-R/CD-RW are too slow and too small, plan on spending a day or so swapping disks. You can always mirror to another hard drive, get a basic RAID card or just use a Ghost-like program to do manual backups. But tape is still cheaper per megabyte and more reliable. Sure, you can damage a tape, but it's harder to do than with a hard drive. SCSI tape drives are more expensive than another drive, but fast enough, and allow you to keep multiple versions or copies of your backup. Try that with hard drives and you need arrays. Tape starts looking REAL cheap then.

Tarballz! (5, Informative)

rantenki (66616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689384)

I have a 100BaseT network, and a server computer that resides in a different room from the rest of my systems. I rotate backups using those aluminum drive caddies. A pair of 60G drives turned out to be MUCH cheaper than the equivalent size tape backup. Every day, I rotate out the drive at the end of the day, and swap with the other. The spare I keep in a fireproof safe. Just tarball the appropriate directories. Done. Poof. Much faster than the average DDS3 tape drive too. Runs at night and I don't even notice it.

With Onboard RAID controllers being common... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689389)

features on motherboards, just incorporate a mirror or RAID5 array for your data as a means of "backup" with an added increase in performance!

The question I have to ask... (5, Insightful)

weslocke (240386) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689390)

I have to say that this is coming from someone with a total of around 280gig at the house, but...

Out of 100gig, how much do you really NEED to back up?

The vast majority of my space is taken up by MP3s (where I converted my CD collection), but that could easily be replaced. To tell you the truth, of the things that I would need (documents, pictures, etc), I could easily fit it all onto a CDR. Well, maybe two. (I take lots of pictures)

Basically it boils down to, do you really need to shell out the money for that extra drive?


Another hard drive (3, Informative)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689391)

That's what I use. As you said, "drives in the 10-20 gig range [are] only getting smaller and less expensive," so buy two and use one as a backup. If your box is full, put the backup drive in an old 486.

Actually, what I do is make the new (largest one I own) drive the backup drive, put the old backup drive into use as the primary drive, and retire the smallest one. Just make sure the new drive is as large as the others added together.

CD-R's are OK, but why bother with the hassle? Just run a cron job to copy the files every evening/hour/whatever.

486 era BIOS can't see beyond 4GB or thereabouts.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689468)

If your box is full, put the backup drive in an old 486.

You'll be lucky if the BIOS on that 486 can see beyond 4GB on an IDE drive. The BIOS on many high-end Pentium Pro servers can't see beyond 8 GB or so.

Onstream (4, Informative)

wackysootroom (243310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689393)

Onstream 30 or 50 GB ADR Tape backup.

Can be found for under $100
Linux Support!

Tapes are expensive

Easy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689394)

Go buy an album and put some pics in them. It's much easier to grab an album than a hard drive in the event of a fire.

Mirror the Stuff... (1)

Filberts (35129) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689395)

I've encountered the same conundrum when faced with backing up my machines... Removable media drives seem to be not that cheap. I've actually acquired a backup 80 GB. ATA hard drive, which I use to copy off any important data (.mp3's, video files, etc.) With the large size of DV files (pre-Final Cut 3,) and the amount of footage I like to archive, I've considered purchasing an external firewire drive: Problem is, not all machines have firewire (like my machine @ work that needs backing up, too!)

Get a USB drive (2, Interesting)

biscuit67 (517991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689398)

I got an external usb drive for $248 for an 80G unit. It's the cheapest, fastest, least hassle way of backing up your data. Yeah, of course, you can buy internal drives at a much lower cost but I also needed a way of carting the data to other machines easily. Even though I don't have a USB2 interface, backing up my 40G or so was complete overnight. I'm sure if I had usb2, it would have only taken 2 or 3 hours. Sure as hell beats tape. Tape is a thing of the past. It's NOT cheap.

Re:Get a USB drive (1)

vought (160908) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689469)

"I got an external usb drive for $248 for an 80G unit. It's the cheapest, fastest, least hassle way of backing up your data."

Except for a FireWire drive.

I backup my PowerBook G4 to my desktop G4 each night by plugging in a 6-pin FireWire cable, mounting the PowerBook's drive on the desktop. Then I use the desktop machine as a backup server of sorts. At around 2 a.m., an AppleScript finds the files on the PowerBook that were changed that day and backs them up, to a drive in the desktop machine, directory structure intact. I'm sure folks can put together similar home-baked solutions for Windows or Linux.

I think FireWire or IDE disks are cheap enough these days that it's silly NOT to invest in them for casual or incremental backups.

As far as external storage goes, FireWire's much faster than USB, and when I modify 2+GB of image files a day, the speed is nice to have.

Hard Drive (1)

nuxx (10153) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689402)

Since most people here have another box somewhere on the network, the answer is simple. A hard drive. Set up an old machine as a linux box and backup over the network. Even schedule it. Some motherboards will power on at a certain time of day so schedule the thing to power on in the middle of the night, suck your data over, then turn itself back off. Perfect off-line storage, nice and quick, nice and automatic. Or, find an old DLT drive or something. Used tapes, while often still good, are especially cheap. Use the same system... Automated remote backups. You'll just have to go tape switching every time you do a full.


Tape didn't quite catch up... (3, Informative)

tcc (140386) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689403)

Ultrium [] tapes can backup 100GB Native but the price tag is way out of line for small buisness or home use (5000$+ a 100GB drive, ouch).. same goes with any dataloading systems... The only cheap tape backup I've found that was giving the best storage/price (aside from buying those used DSS 4/8 gig drives) is those 33GB Native VXA drives. []

Actually... (3, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689407)

First, on a typical system, not all data is really worth backing up; the OS and all applications can be reinstalled in the event of a crash (for Linux, it might even be slightly beneficial, as you'll reinstall newer versions and get rid of various cruft you've forgotten you have). Some data has been saved just because it's convenient or simply less bother than having to actively remove it (for me, I tend to collect old logs, various mails I never will look at again and documentation that's several revisions old). A lot of mp3:s and movies may already be burned onto CD:s. That filled 40Gb drive may actually 'only' contain 4-5 Gb of data that actually needs to be backed up.

The data I actually need to back up I manage by having the important stuff an specified directories, then mirroring them over the net to my machine at work. By doing it incrementally, there is little time or bandwith wasted.


OnStream? (1)

xee (128376) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689409)

I haven't heard much about the quality or reliability of these drives, but the price sure is right. Media is big and cheap and the speed seems OK too. If anyone has experience with these drives please post it.

Re:OnStream? (0)

KevinGale (537574) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689508)

I've been using the USB Onstream 30GB model for about a year now under NT and 2000. No major complaints. It's reliable and easy to use. The software also makes it look like a just another disk drive. So it can be used for things other than backup. Being a tape drive the seek time is rather slow but still if you have some very large files that you need very infrequently you can just copy them to a cartridge and pop it in when you need it.

Another solution (2, Interesting)

Outlet of Me (90657) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689412)

Another solution might be to pair down what you backup. It isn't strictly necessary to backup everything on your hard drive. OSes and programs can be reinstalled, but the data that you create with them is the more precious commodity. Of course, figuring out exactly what you need to backup is the problem, and you still lose some information that isn't easily backed up or restored (like settings for programs in the Windows registry). It's taken several reinstalls of Windows before I figured out exactly what I needed to save...

LZip Compression (2, Funny)

zutroy (542820) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689416)

To minimize your storage costs, try using LZip: Lossy Compression [] . Sure, you won't be able to restore your system to EXACTLY the same state, but you can compress your files to as little as 0% of their original size!

What i do is.. (1)

KingKire64 (321470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689418)

I have several Machines at home and instead of using one as a file server i use one machine for mp3s, one for Ware^H^H^H^H Applications, one for videos.... etc. Each of those drives are mirrored. That way hey if everything gets scewed up on a machine including the backup I dont lose everything. I know you guys have at least 3-5 machines at home.

FTP (1)

jd10131 (46301) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689423)

Perhaps you should consider the Torvalds method? =)

"Backups are for wimps. Real men upload their data to an FTP site and have everyone else mirror it." -- Linus Torvalds

Cheaper? (1)

skware (78429) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689427)

I think not: (prices in Aussie $ and are guestimates)

100GB HD - $500 (real rough guess, however I saw a 80G for $449 the other day)
$5/GB ongoing

Burner - $150 -> $300 (depends on the quality)
100G of CDs - 156 cds * $1 = 156 (prolly cheaper in bulk)
max outlay $300
$1.56/GB ongoing

The strange thing is that I was thinking about this the other day when contemplating buying a new HD and how I was going to back it up.

30/60 GB IDE Tape (1)

perplex (543131) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689428)

I went through this dilemma last month, and settled on the 30/60 GB IDE tape drive from Onstream. I ordered it last week and can't wait to crack it open! Tech support of the firm who wrote the software that comes with it (Yosemite Technologies -- says it will run over mapped drives via samba from a PC or via smbmount/smbfs from Linux...

Here (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689429)

Get norton ghost, get a hard drive to fit your size.

Once a week, remote dump your house to a central backupserver. No only does it offer compression, its fast and very easy.

DVD Burners (1)

The Great Wakka (319389) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689430)

Until all the problems with them are worked out (and Linux drivers are widely avalible, of course :-) ), I would recommend staying away from them. Untested Technology == Bad Nasty Crap

Why bother? (5, Insightful)

crow (16139) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689431)

Why are you bothering to back up your data?

That may seem like a stupid question, but you need to consider the reasons you want to have a backup before you settle on a method.

Are you afraid of your drive failing? If so, then using a RAID solution should cover you.

Are you afraid of losing your whole system (perhaps due to lightning or theft)? If so, then your backup must be kept physically isolated from your system.

Are you afraid of accidentally deleting files (such as `rm -rf /` or a virus)? If so, then a RAID solution is useless.

Are you afraid of having your system down for an hour or two while you replace a drive? If so, then regardless of other issues, you need a RAID setup.

Do you want to use your MP3s with some other device? If so, you probably want CD-R copies.

Of course, there are other considerations that I haven't mentioned or thought of.

What I did - Linux Software RAID-5 (2)

Azog (20907) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689432)

The cheapest backup media now is more hard drives. Really!

So I got 4 x 60 GB Maxtors (cheapest MB/$ ratio when I purchased), two Promise Ultra TX2-100 controllers, and set up a 180 GB software RAID-5 under Linux. I'm running ReiserFS on it, so I don't have to fsck 180 GB if I crash the system running an experimental kernel, and I keep the whole thing on a big UPS. Total cost for hardware was about $500.

I mirror data onto the RAID using rsync from my other computers, (or just drag-and-drop to the Samba server from the Win2K box). I think this is cheaper and more effective than a tape backup system for 180 GB of data.

The Linux software RAID gives me the reliability - I've inadvertently tested it when a power connector popped loose from one of the hard drives - I didn't even notice until I read the kernel log (for a different reason). After powerering down, I plugged the drive back in, restarted, did the "raidhotadd" command, and away I went again. No data loss, no hassle.

For stuff that I really, really want backed up beyond the reach of thieves and fire, I use CDR's and a safety deposit box. Luckily there is not too much stuff that falls into this category - source code and documents for projects I've worked on, my email, stuff like that - it still all fits on one CDR.

If you don't use Linux, I think Win2K can do software RAID too. Never checked though.

Re:What I did - Linux Software RAID-5 (3, Informative)

zulux (112259) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689487)

RAID using rsync from my other computers, (or just drag-and-drop to the Samba server from the Win2K box).

Cygwin has RSync for Windows. Works really well.

get an external HD enclosure (1)

ChenLing (20932) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689433)

Along the lines of other posts, it seems that the only storage technology that scales with the speed of growth of hard drives seems to be other hard drives. Your best bet is probably to get an external hard drive enclosure, and swap out the hard drives like you would a tape drive....only the hard drives are faster and cheaper.

You can get one such from Addonics [] .
They have USB1.1, USB2.0, Firewire, PCMCIA, and CardBus interfaces. Plus the thing supports Linux and Solaris (although not yet in Firewire, but check with the Linux Firewire people about that...I think they are supported now).

IDE Raid (1)

sporri (70882) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689434)

LTO is still to expensive for the home user and I hate having my backups on multiple tapes. Get an IDE Raid controller and a HD caddy and some extra HD's. Use mirroring and exchange disks regulary. Simple, cheap and effective

Obligatory comment (5, Funny)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689435)

Clearly the answer, for easy backups of a 100G drive, is 21 iPods.

DV Camcorder + firewire (3, Informative)

igrek (127205) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689437)

There are several programs allowing to use your DV camcorder for backups. For example:

You need something different. (0)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689440)

With a file server full of ripped MP3z or ripped DVDs or ripped pr0n or warez I wouldn't use any backup system for an emergency.
I would rather recommend a working data destruction system for the inevitable emergency.
This is much more difficult then you think because law enforcement authorities know about IBAS/Ontrack labs and use them.

The other way for security is not storing illegal data. I think this is the safest.

Tape drives (1)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689442)

I bought a SCSI DDS-2 Tape drive off of E-Bay a year or so ago for under 100 bucks. (4-8 gigs a tape) ...It's kinda slow, but it works fine for weekly or monthly backups, plus my work had a ton of old tapes they weren't using anymore, so I have *well* over a terrabyte of storage... Most E-Bay sellers will toss in a tape or two and a cleaning tape too.

Re:Tape drives (1)

sirPaul (119432) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689483)

I ebay'd an old DEC DLT III that, while it takes 10 tapes, keeps my ogg/mp3 collection safe. It's not the fastest thing in the world, but it was only $200 with 20 tapes.

External Drive Bays? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689444)

At work we have several external scsi drive bays that hold 4-6 scsi drives that is attached to an external scsi port. This would be perfect for backup if scsi disks werent so expensive,. Does anyone know of any external solution like this that uses ide drives in the bay instead of scsi?

Cheap CD backup. (1, Informative)

Lefty2446 (232351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689447)

Ok, I have my MP3's streaming, all our digital pictures up

Given that MP3's and digital pictures don't change with time like databases, documents etc, why not do what we do and back the whole lot up once. Then as you download new MP3's, pictures, whatever. Put them into a directory say Not_Backed_Up, and burn that to CD also when you have enough to fill a CD. Then migrate this with the rest of the data and start fresh with the next CD to be filled.

FWIW if you have the money to buy 2 identical drives RAID 1 might be the way to go.

Incremental backups... (4, Informative)

nl (158427) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689453)

Agreed that just backing up to another HD provides the best overall method for creating a complete backup of 100MB of disk storage.

However, I would suspect that most users don't change a huge percentage of their HD's content on a daily basis, unless you are routinely d/l'ing or ripping MP3s and MPGs on a daily basis (and I note that when I do generate that kind of traffic, it is usually because I am making a compilation CD, and while this does generate a few GB of "new" files on my HD that day, that data doesn't need to be backup up because I've got the original CDs anyway).

As a result, it seems to me that a reasonable solution is to create a "baseline" backup, say to a CD or DVD, at system install time, when there is (relatively) little on the disk, and then each day (or week, depending on needs), do an incremental backup of changed data only to another CD.

This approach is obviously quite inefficient if you have a complete HD failure, in that you have to recreate a new drive by starting with the first backup CD and then restore EACH ONE thereafter until the final CD restores the disk to it's last backed-up state, but for a more common problem of losing or corrupting an individual file, since that is more likely to happen with a recently modified than a remotely modified file, you are likely to be able to restore a last good version within only a few CD's of the most recent incremental backups.

Hard drive . . . rsync (5, Informative)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689454)

A lot of people have mentioned that disk to disk backup seems to be the best way to go.

I agree.

What hasn't been mentioned is rsync [] , which makes disk to (local or remote) disk backups fast and easy.

It is trival to set up a second disk that is a "stale" mirror of your primary disk(s) that backs up nightly, and will boot off a floppy. This captures some of the advantage of RAID (quick recovery) while being an actual backup, not just fault tolerance.

Rsync can use ssh as a transport, so you can securely back up remote disks as well.


RAID5 (2)

greenfly (40953) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689460)

I already have 2 30GB drives, and after hearing horror stories about hard drives crashing recently, I've decided my next step is to get another 30GB drive and run RAID5 across them all. Linux can do this in software by the way, and this way you can be assured that your data will stay intact if one of the hard drives crash or not, plus you won't lose half of your drives to backup.

If you are concerned with recovering deleted files, simply use tar or something similar to backup to either a separate directory, or create a separate partition on the RAID array. Another advantage is that you can always increase your storage by slapping in an additional drive, partitioning it the way you want, and then adding it to the current array.

Try RAID or Ghost (1)

civik (244978) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689463)

Tape media is quite expensive in those higher capacities. They arent that useful either unless you are interested in archiving multiple sets of data for long periods.

A better solution would be to set up a cheap drive mirror with a cheap RAID card. Or better yet, put a backup drive in your computer, and use Norton Ghost to save an image of your data drive to it. Set the backup drive to spin down after a short period to save wear on the drive.

why manual second-hard-drive backups? (1)

Hooya (518216) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689470)

ok, ok, you can script that in but... as the fp guy suggested, as cheap as the harddrives are, why not just do a raid-5 type setup. the only 'real' investment would be the raid controller. but then so would a serious tape drive or a dvdrw drive etc. as i see it, with raid-5, you get redundency on the fly. you can select other raid configurations if you want. but i think a raid setup is far better than just plain mirroring. i mean, you've gotta do some interval to do the mirroring, + you've gotta comeup with some rules to only do updates... why bother? just do raid and forget. yeah you need additional harddrives but they're cheap. and they're relatively fool proof. you get instant mirroring so if it were to fail midday (presuming you do backups at nights) you don't lose a day's worth of data.

my $0.01. 2 cents is 2 expensive in this economy.

Backup solutions (2, Interesting)

Haywood68 (531262) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689475)

Go onto ebay... you can pick up a DLT (15/30GB) drive for around $150. scsi card $50. media are a little expensive (~$25 ea), but for around $275 and a little opensource backup software, you can get reliable backups.

RAID is _not_ backup ! (5, Informative)

morzel (62033) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689480)

I've seen some commenting that creating a RAID array will suffice to secure your data, but that's really not true:

RAID offers good protection for some things: hardware failure (ie: HD crash) and uptime. That aren't the only woes, however... You can loose data in a lot of ways:

Disaster (fire, quake, flood, nuff said)

Hardware failure (disk, controller, ...)

OS failure (FS corruption, ...)

Application failure (User space applications malbehaving, virii, ...)

User failure (accidental deletes, experimental children - trust me on this one ;-)

RAID will protect you from the second, but will happily add nothing in case of any of the other failures. Backing up to another media is a necessity.

Adding an extra disk (or two, or three), and some tar/cpio cronjobs will add basic protection. (No disaster recovery for you, unless it's off-site :)
Removable harddrives (firewire, frames, ...) are a plus, but more cumbersome.

Tape is considered a more 'trustworthy' backup medium because the mechanism and data storage are separated (ie: tape drive / tape), while in a HD it's in one single package, and it's not as easy to replace the logic board/stepper motor if this flunks. With tape it's easier: just get a new tapedrive.

Anyhow: don't rely on RAID to save your data - it won't.

Sweet Setup for Off site / redundent backup! (0)

override11 (516715) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689485)

I setup a few different networks with a Promise U-ATA Hot Swap Kit, comes with a RAID card, 2 External Hot Swap Bays, and cables. Then you just get 3 identical drives, install one internally, and have the second inside of a hot swap cage. Set the system up w/ RAID mirroring. When you need a current, bootable, up to the second backup, simply pull out one of the drives, and plug the 3rd drive in (which is already inside of one of the hot swap bays) and let em re-sync. For about 5 - 10 mins the system runs a bit slow while re-synching, but its a no down time, 100% backup, redundent, and off site backup!! I love it! Sorry bout crappy format of post, heading home. :-)

Problem with RAID (1)

thermo99 (100137) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689493)

the problem with raid (1) is that both drives are running all the time. this can lead to both drives failing from use after a while. the way i have it, all my mp3s are backed up onto a 2nd hd that sits on the shelf. no chance of it getting worn out while sitting there. if the drive in use fails, rip it out, shove it the like-new backup drive.

DVD's would be ok. maybe even CD's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689495)

A few folks have mentioned that for 100G you would spend a day swapping CD's. This would only be true for the first backup. After that you would be doing incremental backups that could probably easily fit on a single CD or DVD. Of course every few months or so it would be wise to do another complete backup and start the process over. The problem with using a harddrive as a backup medium is its reliability. CD removable media is good for 5years or so. A harddrive can crap out the next time you power it up. So if you do decide on a harddrive make two backups just in case.

Backups-a-must (1)

obfuscated (258084) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689497)

I've gotten burned for the last time with my cheap hard drives going down. My solution is two fold.

1) Throw together a cheap linux box and just have weekly uploads of whole directories to it. You could even go so far as to do your whole computer.

There are great programs out there that will just 'diff' all of your files and then update what's necessary. Over 10/100 ethernet, it's a good deal.

2) Then for your 'mission critical' files; I opt for a weekly offsite backup. Just another computer that I have access/control over at work/school. Since most of my mp3's and movies I don't consider to be important, they don't go there, but things like photoshop files, 'my documents' and photos so.

I figure $300 (minus drives) for the machine-in-the-closet and the cost of hard drives (if that) at your preferred offsite location.

I'm also assuming you've got broadband. =)

Back up hard drives not a good idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689498)

Backing up your hard drives onto other hard drives sounds like a good idea (price, amount of storage, etc.).

If you a backing up things that would be inconvenient to loose but not mission critical then this method may be fine.

If your are backing up irreplacible data then I would suggest using a different method.

I have experienced the meltdown of two systems where in both cases it was the power supply that failed. Unfortunately, the when the supplies failed they took out pretty much every component in the systems (including the hard drives). I can only guess at the voltage that was pumped through everything but between the two systems I found 5 chips that were cracked or blown apart (1 of them on a hard drive controller board)!

These incidents happened at different times, in different locations, on different types of computers.

If you do use hard drives for backup consider removable hard drive bays and don't leave the back up hard drives in your system.

Just my 0.02.
Can't be bothered to login.

Use spare hard drives (1)

SVDave (231875) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689502)

I'm currently backing up about 12GB under Win2K using an Onstream [] 15/30GB tape drive. They sell a 25/50 model as well, but neither they nor anyone else sells anything bigger than that, for a price that a home user would find reasonable. The IDE version of the 15/30 model goes for about $200, and tapes are about $30-$35 each (I have three and cycle between them). Add a couple of hundred dollars for the 25/50 model, or for a SCSI model.

Given those prices, I've got a different plan for when I outgrow my tape drive. I'm thinking about just buying 3 hard drives (whatever I can get for $100 each; right now that's 40GB), a copy of DriveImage [] , and a removable drive bay (with three drive enclosures, one for each hard drive). When I want to back up my system, I'll pop in a hard drive, use DriveImage to make an image of my system and store it on the removable hard drive. Like with my tapes now, I'll cycle through the three hard drives.

That strategy will probably cost me about $400, which is less expensive than an Onstream 25/50 (plus three tapes). It will also hold more data than the Onstream, and will be substantially faster as well.

Don't forget about off site media (1)

Xcruciate (261968) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689504)

In an enterprise sense. I know you are talking about home backup use, but for people at work and backing up enterprise data, it is good to have media that you can store off site in case of natural or unatural disasters. A lot of good RAID will do to protect your data if your server(s) are molten slag on the floor after a fire, etc.

The story Slashdot doesn't want you to see (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2689505)

Hmm... Lets see... Didn't Slashdot used to report every little violation of the GPL they could find?

But now that Red Hat is doing it, Slashdot refuses to tell the story. In fact, I don't believe I've ever had a submission get rejected so quickly.

Perhaps Slashdot is Red Hat's little bitch.

But anyway, here's the story [] . Red Hat is not allowing people to distribute Red Hat Linux. If you do, they insist you call it something else. A clear violation of the GPL if I ever saw one. I guess if its someone like Red Hat or VA, they can violate the GPL as much as they want and Slashdot could care less.

And before anyone tries the obvious rebuttal, I'm perfectly aware that Red Hat owns its own name. However, they licenced their software under the GPL, a license that permits redistribution within its rules. And if the GPL says I have the right to distribute Red Hat, then I have a right to distribute Red Hat. You certainly don't see Apache and Perl being called something else because someone else distributes it. Red Hat is trying to change the rules in the middle of the game.

Worth it, but not bad if you do it right. (1)

ds37577 (532118) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689506)

Personally, I have a lot of data to backup, plus I serve a lot of data to other people. The tape drive was worth it to me. I bought a refurbished DDS-2 drive on ebay for $180 with a full Seagate warranty. Tapes are about $3. I have about 80GB of data to back up, but can split the data into small chunks that will fit on a DDS2 tape (~6GB w/compression). Amanda takes each slice and determines when in my 2-week cycle it should get a full backup. Each slice gets backed up incrementally each night and a full at least every two weeks. Works beautifully and has saved my ass several times.

EBay is your friend (1)

nt2UNIX (16001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689510)

I would suggest looking on E-Bay for a DLT drive. You can pick some up pretty check. The only catch is that the media is pretty expensive.

Even with E-Bay the drive at most would hold around 80 Gig compressed. So, you would have to use 2 tapes.

Removable Hard Drives are the Answer (1)

mprinkey (1434) | more than 12 years ago | (#2689511)

The buy-another-hard-drive answer is easy for home applications, but it is also true in large installations too.

We have about 2.0 TBs of RAID storage that need to be backed up. I built the RAID servers using IDE Promise controllers and 80-GB Maxtor hard drives (the largest back in the day). Right now, hard drives make the most cost effective sense for backups on this scale too. The current plan is to build a backup server with 4 to 6 removable drive bays and set them up as backup devices using scripts/tar or bru.

Right now, I am testing hot swap bays with Linux to verify that the system stability will acceptable. Also, I am looking into cheap gigabit interfaces to connect the raid servers to backup server. This could be a nice backup scheme for larger applications too.
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