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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Manage Your Personal Data?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the it's-2012-how-do-you-back-up? dept.

Data Storage 414

New submitter multimediavt writes "Ok, here's my problem. I have a lot of personal data! (And, no, it's not pr0n, warez, or anything the MPAA or RIAA would be concerned about.) I am realizing that I need to keep at least one spare drive the same size as my largest drive around in case of failure, or the need to reformat a drive due to corrupt file system issues. In my particular case I have a few external drives ranging in size from 200 GB to 2 TB (none with any more than 15 available), and the 2 TB drive is giving me fits at the moment so I need to move the data off and reformat the drive to see if it's just a file system issue or a component issue. I don't have 1.6 TB of free space anywhere and came to the above realization that an empty spare drive the size of my largest drive was needed. If I had a RAID I would have the same needs should a drive fail for some reason and the file system needed rebuilding. I am hitting a wall, and I am guessing that I am not the only one reaching this conclusion. This is my personal data and it is starting to become unbelievably unruly to deal with as far as data integrity and security are concerned. This problem is only going to get worse, and I'm sorry 'The Cloud' is not an acceptable nor practical solution. Tape for an individual as a backup mechanism is economically not feasible. Blu-ray Disc only holds 50 GB at best case and takes forever to backup any large amount of data, along with a great deal of human intervention in the process. So, as an individual with a large data collection and not a large budget, what do you see as options for now (other than keeping a spare blank drive around), and what do you see down the road that might help us deal with issues like this?"

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414 comments

Keep a spare blank drive around (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467313)

I think you already have the answer

Re:Keep a spare blank drive around (-1, Troll)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467411)

http://goo.gl/rIh07 [goo.gl] [goo.gl]
Backblaze backs up your data on your computer for $5 or less a month for unlimited storage. It has a free trial so you can see how it works, and has options for backing up which files you want as well as upload speed and scheduling and backing up from external hard drives.

Unless he has data caps, this is actually a very easy solution. The initial upload will be huge though (but they even calculate the amount of time that takes too). I use it for my computer, and it helps when I accidentally delete a file.

Re:Keep a spare blank drive around (3, Informative)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | about 2 years ago | (#39467717)

This doesn't help much for those of us with crappy internet - I've only got about 300K (bits) upload speed, and at that speed backing up 1TB would take around a year.

FWIW, my strategy is to keep truly important stuff on a raid enclosure (and backup to other disks periodically), and to just live with the fact that there's really nothing irreplaceable about the rest.

Re:Keep a spare blank drive around (5, Informative)

Jabroney (900831) | about 2 years ago | (#39467811)

https://www.googleapis.com/urlshortener/v1/url?shortUrl=http://goo.gl/rIh07 [googleapis.com] { "kind": "urlshortener#url", "id": "http://goo.gl/rIh07", "longUrl": "http://www.backblaze.com/partner/af3012", "status": "OK" } Trying to sell cloud solutions on Slashdot? You must be new here.

Re:Keep a spare blank drive around (5, Informative)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467535)

Agreed. I've been gradually rotating larger backup drives in and smaller backup drives out over the last 10 years or so. Right now I have about 2 TB's of unique data in my archive which is kept on the host machine if it is regularly accessed or duplicated on another external hard drive. Everything (I care about) has two copies at all times. As my archive grows, I'm going to have to upgrade my archive device's capacity, but that's a given, no matter what you do, if you want it stored locally, you'll have to add capacity somewhere obviously. DVD-R's and BluRay discs aren't a viable option in my opinion, because I've got a ton of old self-burned discs that I recently had to toss because they were rendered useless from laser rot, even though they were in sealed containers in a cool, dry place.

The cloud is, to me, not a backup solution. I see it as a way to globally access my data and I use it as such. No sensitive data of mine will go to the cloud because the likelihood of needing access to it without warning is completely nil, so in my case, it's limited to media that I want constant access to. Now, the cloud definitely has the potential to serve as a backup solution, don't get me wrong, but there's just too much uncertainty involved in the cloud these days, especially as concerns the government nuking sites from orbit without warning, whether justified or not [slashdot.org] .

However, I agree with some others that are telling you to do some house-cleaning. I recently went through my backups and found 300 GB's worth of crap that I hadn't accessed or used dating back to the early 2000's that I was saving for some stupid reason. Disc Images for ancient games that don't even run well on modern systems (or require a lot of fucking hassle to get running well), music that I haven't listened to in half a decade, old-ass videos that I'd downloaded from the internet back before there was such a thing as youtube, etc. Not to say that everyone's data is as silly as mine was, but it just added up over the years...

Re:Keep a spare blank drive around (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#39467739)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817707228 [newegg.com]

HDDs are kinda cheap. Keep one drive running and from time to time, run off a copy of the storage drive and slap a label with a date on a backup target drive. Do a daily task that checks the health of the HDD... automate it and send anything other than "green/healthy/pass" to yourself in email so you know when it's time to duplicate your main drive to retirement.

I love those HDD duplicators. They don't care about your OS and make perfect copies. They beep at you when they find bad sectors and stuff like that too.

I guess it doesn't really answer the original question, but using a HDD instead of an optical disk for backup just makes a lot of sense to me. Capacity isn't going to be a problem and neither is compatibility. Just keep stacking and rotating your backup hard drives. Use something like:

This -- http://danbeahm.blogspot.com/2010/02/bare-hard-drive-storage.html [blogspot.com]

or This -- http://techcrunch.com/2008/09/04/cardboard-hard-drive-storage-box/ [techcrunch.com]

Re:Keep a spare blank drive around (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#39467865)

I have a Media PC on the TV in the living room, and a desktop, and a laptop. My e-mail is on all three. Most work type documents are on the desktop and the laptop. Bulk media is on the desktop and the Media PC. Total redundancy. (As long as I keep growing the drive space.)

Solution.. buy hard drives! (4, Informative)

FrozenFood (2515360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467317)

1. Buy hard drive from brand A
2. Buy hard drive from brand B
3. put in seperate esata enclosures
4. backup to both drives.

Re:Solution.. buy hard drives! (2)

Ichoran (106539) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467387)

Exactly. If you can't afford two new drives from different vendors large enough to hold your data, then you cannot afford to keep your data safe.

Don't bother fiddling with RAIDs unless you have many terabytes of data. Single drives are a lot faster to get and use.

Re:Solution.. buy hard drives! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467627)

Seconded/thirded.
Also, don't buy Western Digital. I've lost more personal data to their failures than I have from other manufacturers. Yes, I'm aware that there's really only 3 HDD makers, now.
The main pain that you'll have is having to copy to both HDDs when the time comes around for backing up your work, family photos, etc.

Re:Solution.. buy hard drives! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467793)

blah blah.. I've lost more data to Seagate than any other manufacturer, so maybe you should only buy OCZ.

Re:Solution.. buy hard drives! (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#39467737)

RAID is nice in that it helps with uptime. A drive failure doesn't mean you have to copy a bunch of stuff all over again. Just reboot, replace and let it resync on its own. It is also really nice to have all your storage in one giant blob of space, even if it isn't multiple TB (beyond the size of a single drive). On the other hand, I am comfortable with how RAID works and I find it easier to manage than a bunch of single drives and various copies. Not everyone might have the same comfort level.

Re:Solution.. buy hard drives! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39467683)

My approach is to buy a few drives at a time of exactly the same model. I've had more electronics failures than mechanical failures - this way if a drive fails electronically, I can swap in the board from another drive to get the data off.

RAID array on a spare box (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467325)

I run a RAID5 array on a spare box for backups, totaling 8TB before file system and RAID takes out its chunk. It's only turned on during backups, and is a fairly cheap solution for lots of storage if you look for sales on drives.

Re:RAID array on a spare box (4, Interesting)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#39467701)

That's not a bad idea. I started with the OP's problem, trying to keep data from multiple machines in sync and backed up and with enough room to spare. After having spent more weekends copying data back and forth to clear out a drive in order to replace it, I decided to go to the fileserver paradigm. I built a machine with three 40gb drives RAIDed together and made that the only place useful data would be stored. I've since expanded it up to 3tb in various increments, and it has worked well. It has saved tons of time and money by allowing my computers to use whatever cheap harddrive was available and just restore from backup when it went TU. But with the need for increased data availability outside my house (IE, making my notebook my main computer), I'm starting to reverse course and move to your idea. Using robocopy on the clients and shell scripts + hard links on the server, I've set up a workable versioning backup system that doesn't take up too much space.

I also use Dropbox for some stuff.

Delete some stuff (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467329)

Stop packratting and delete some stuff. How much of that data do you truly need? Unless that is all video/photos, seems like you have an excessive amount

Anyways, giant raid array is the answer. Copying data off once you start to see issues, is a guaranteed way to get data loss. If you need removable media, look into tape drives.

Digital Diogenes Syndrom (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467331)

Sounds like you have the digital diogenes syndrom. What about you tidy up your room.. i mean, data ?

Enjoy your delusion (4, Informative)

Trixter (9555) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467337)

"I'm sorry 'The Cloud' is not an acceptable nor practical solution." Not sure what brand tin-foil hat you're wearing, but there are cloud backup solutions that encrypt your data *before* it leaves the machine. I use CrashPlan (I can't speak for others) and I've verified the encryption myself by capturing the traffic leaving my machine, even when CrashPlan was backing up to other machines on my own private network. Even the data it writes to locally-attached hard drives is encrypted. So there's at least one company who gets it right.

Re:Enjoy your delusion (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467377)

It's great that you know how fast his connection is and exactly what data restrictions his ISP imposes. I'm actually rather impressed you can be 100% sure his computer is connected to the internet at all. All I know is that if I had that much data, the time it would take to upload would probably be longer than the time it takes for the HDD to wear down and implode.

Re:Enjoy your delusion (5, Funny)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#39467827)

I'm actually rather impressed you can be 100% sure his computer is connected to the internet at all.

Well he did post his question to an internet forum...

Re:Enjoy your delusion (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467863)

In typical "I need IT advice, but I have preconceived notions about how things should work and am not willing to budge on that" fashion, the asker has discounted some reasonable options without specifying the reasons that won't work for him, and failed to provide some super useful info like how large his data actually is, how often it changes, how much existing data changes, how much new data there is, and how quickly it grows.

So it could be that the reasons for his concern are unmerited, and GP merely points out that if his concern is privacy, there's ways to use the cloud safely. In typical Slashdot fashion, you rebuke the potential shortcomings of the advice without knowing whether those shortcomings actually apply to the asker.

Backup should be provided in depth, several prongs provides the best redundancy and the least single points of failure. Cloud storage is an excellent option for one of the prongs given certain factors. If most of the data rarely changes (pretty typical for very large data sets), incremental bandwidth usage past the initial storage is usually not much more than the data growth rate. As observed, it can be done in a way that respects privacy and safety.

Cloud storage has two main advantages over local backup solutions. You won't run out of disk space, and it's off-site (so a house fire won't take out your data set). Any on-site solution automatically fails that level of redundancy. Storage on S3 is ridiculously inexpensive any more.

I have about 6 TB of data that I need to keep backed up. I have about 12 years of digital photography and video originals, including stuff like wedding and honeymoon photos, as well as the birth and first years of my children's lives. When people suffer house fires, one of the most common and greatest laments are the things that can't be replaced - usually photographs.

My solution is four tiers. I have a local RAID0 in my Mac Pro. I have Time Machine backups of that (this is hands-down the best consumer on-site backup solution on the market). I rsync those files to a local RAID10 NAS device (Synology are a bit pricy, but they are completely worth it, really excellent built-in software with a lot of features you might find surprisingly useful, and you can purchase expansion bays to extend capacity as you're running low). Then finally I back up to Amazon S3 in encrypted form with JungleDisk (I no longer recommend this software, I own a copy of it from before it was bought by RackSpace, the quality has gone down since RackSpace bought it and "improved" it, plus I gather you now have to pay a monthly subscription, AND pay for your own storage - crap).

The only way my data is in jeopardy is if my house burns down (takes out 3 local redundancy & backup solutions) on the same day that Amazon has critical failure. And it's all 100% automated, Raid0 happens at time of write, TimeMachine alerts me if there's problems creating a backup and gives me local history, my NAS warns me by email & SMS if it so much as writes too slowly (my rsync cron script emails me if it can't reach the NAS for some reason), and JungleDisk does a nightly sync with S3, and sends me weekly reports so I can be sure that it's doing its job. I have quick local access, and slow offsite access if everything else fails (I'd probably go bum my work's huge pipe to do the initial restore if I had to rely on that).

Re:Enjoy your delusion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467391)

Yes.. Network usage couldn't have been his problem. Or any of the number of other possibilities.

Re:Enjoy your delusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467399)

He could be talking about the volume of data, rather than just the security factor. Uploading a couple TBs of data on a home connection could take weeks, and forget about doing it if you have data caps.

Re:Enjoy your delusion (5, Informative)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467407)

You're assuming that it's encryption that's the problem. In my case, it's a problem with the size of data vs. how much bandwidth I can use. I get an allocation of 20GB a month, and even that's very expensive. Backing up my 5+ TB to the cloud is simply not an option.

Cloud is very trendy right now, but that doesn't mean it's a one-size-fits-all.

Re:Enjoy your delusion (1)

Trixter (9555) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467475)

You're assuming that it's encryption that's the problem. In my case, it's a problem with the size of data vs. how much bandwidth I can use. I get an allocation of 20GB a month, and even that's very expensive. Backing up my 5+ TB to the cloud is simply not an option.

This doesn't prevent the OP from using local backup in the meantime. I backup to local storage as well as cloud. The local backups complete quickly in case I need to retrieve a file, and the cloud is there for if my house burns down.

The OP stated in his question that he has a lot of data but no money to buy redundant storage -- well, that's his real problem. If you have 3T of data, buy 3T of backup. I don't know what the OP is looking for other than a magic compression answer or something.

Re:Enjoy your delusion (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467543)

You're assuming that it's encryption that's the problem. In my case, it's a problem with the size of data vs. how much bandwidth I can use. I get an allocation of 20GB a month, and even that's very expensive. Backing up my 5+ TB to the cloud is simply not an option.

Cloud is very trendy right now, but that doesn't mean it's a one-size-fits-all.

Crashplan has an option where they will send you a hard drive to seed your backup locally and mail it back. That way you only have to do incremental backups once you do the initial seed.

If there's no offsite backup, the whole scheme is worthless. What happens if there is a fire?

Re:Enjoy your delusion (4, Informative)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467555)

You're assuming that it's encryption that's the problem. In my case, it's a problem with the size of data vs. how much bandwidth I can use. I get an allocation of 20GB a month, and even that's very expensive. Backing up my 5+ TB to the cloud is simply not an option.

CrashPlan will let you Fedex them a hard drive to get the backup started. From then on, you only need to send deltas.

Try free, open-source SparkleShare (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 2 years ago | (#39467767)

SparkleShare looks and works like Dropbox, but is actually just a fancy automated self-hosted GIT repo, (which you can interact with using GIT commands on a remote repo if that is what you want to do).

The wiki explains how to encrypt things (and the encfs recipe doc'd on the wiki also works with Dropbox, etc.)

I think the project has matured really well, but still isn't really well-known, and doesn't even get mentioned much on the slashdots, although that's where I heard about it.

www.sparkleshare.org

https://github.com/hbons/SparkleShare/wiki [github.com]

Re:Enjoy your delusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467435)

Not sure what brand tin-foil hat you're wearing, but there are cloud backup solutions that encrypt your data *before* it leaves the machine.

How do you know they don't have the decryption keys at the destination?

Re:Enjoy your delusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467437)

Wow, it's great that you're so gung-ho about cloud storage, but it's pretty myopic if you think that you need a tin-foil hat if you don't want to store all your backups online. It looks like the only concern you have about data storage is whether it's encrypted.

There are plenty of us who don't want the slow speeds, bandwidth usage and charges, online-only requirement, non-guaranteed uptime, and reliance upon a company that may not be around next week that relying on cloud storage requires. Sometimes local storage requires local storage, and along with OP I am eager to hear options that work.

I wish you the best of luck when you learn the hard way that Internet fads die out eventually.

Re:Enjoy your delusion (1)

sir-gold (949031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467545)

"...there's at least one company who gets it right." Until that company goes out of business....

Re:Enjoy your delusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467569)

You are just plain stupid. Go away and play with Facebook.

Re:Enjoy your delusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467715)

Unless the company provided backup services has an issue:

1. Goes bankrupt
2. Has a design flaw somewhere in there back-end that causes loss of data.
3. Virtually every retailer and large data services company has been breached, Encryption does matter if they hackers get access to the Keys (aka RSA), or they figure out a security flaw that allows them to bypass the encryption, such as a man-in-the middle attack.
4. Gets shutdown by the Feds because of piracy concerns or by some other issues.
5. What are the odds that the Feds or other gov't agencies have backdoor access to all of the data. The backup services make a great way for terriorist to share data in a abscure way
6. Cost! Using these services for a few Gigs of data is OK, however they become costly when you need to back up Terabytes of data.
7. You're an idiot, because your extreme arrogant and condescending!

Bare Drives and a USB Drive Dock? (5, Informative)

wanderfowl (2534492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467357)

One way to save a bit of cash is to buy a USB eSATA drive dock (single or double) with some bare eSATA drives. This cuts the enclosure out, and allows you to buy bare drives, which are often cheaper than enclosed drives.

You could also consider Drobo or one of the Wiebetech multi-drive RAID containers. But encryption + cloud isn't all bad.

Budget (4, Informative)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467373)

"large data collection and not a large budget"

This is your problem right there. You can't enter into a a situation like this without planning a budget for the inevitable failures. I suggest purchasing a new larger drive (3TB are common now) and migrating the data from the problematic drive. Then migrate the data from several older smaller drives. This will reduce the component count (points of failure), save you power (cost in the long run) and keep you ahead of failures. You should plan on doing this periodically to maintain the integrity of the data.

Re:Budget (1)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467561)

And don't forget nightly incremental backups..

Re:Budget (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#39467855)

The old smaller drives could go in a dedicated NAS box using software RAID. Doesn't have to be on all the time, just for periodic backups.

Look into MultiPAR for redundancy for your most important stuff too.

rsync FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467401)

Of course you have to have enough drive space, but spinning storage is fairly cheap (modulo the hopefully temporary price bubble from the flood).

I use rsync (try "man rsync") from my main machine to mirror all my data to another machine nightly, and yet another machine weekly. This only copies the incremental changes, so it's fast. E.g, if you check something new into a SVN repo, only the last day/week of checkins will be copied by rsync.

For the *really* critical stuff, which is much smaller than everything, I also rsync it to a rolling set of several USB sticks, at least of which is always off site.

Buddy NAS (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467405)

I have a solution I call the "Buddy NAS". Go out and get two cheap computers. It could be a PC or a mini-NAS or a low-end server. Anything that will hold multiple hard drives. You jam both full of hard disks and use them as a backup/NAS server. One PC is kept at your place, the other at your friend's house.

Both computers have an account for you and an account for your friend (it helps if your friend is nerdy and "gets" backup solutions). Both of you now have a backup solution in your own home and a remote backup server at a friend's place. Two copies of your data, one remote. Basically it's like having local and cloud storage for you and your friend and it'll cost less than a grand if you shop around. If neither of you have static IPs you can use dyndns.org to connect to the remote boxes. Bandwidth shouldn't be an issue if you use rsync to backup changed files nightly.

Re:Buddy NAS (1)

toygeek (473120) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467509)

I wish I could mod that up, its actually a pretty decent solution with lots of potential for win.

Re:Buddy NAS (1)

Teun (17872) | about 2 years ago | (#39467753)

An excellent solution for those with enough bandwidth.

I see one little problem, these computers are Always On' and will fail sooner than a disk that's connected once a day or once a week.

That's why I have two large HD's, one at home and one at the GF's place, we rotated them about once a moth.

Re:Buddy NAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467821)

Also, you can use sneakernet to handle bulk data once in a while. This includes the first time, when you can mirror the machines locally before transporting one, and later, when you can carry an external drive or laptop between sites and push a lot of data at once. You can even be a little sloppy as the rsync will later fill in the gaps or fix up slightly stale files.

I've done this for years using a relative's house, including even when I was living overseas for a few years. Passing through on a business trip or holiday visit, I'd sync up bulk files like digital photos or FLAC music that I didn't want to try to sync over the ocean. Rsync is also great for being able to set specific include/exclude patterns to be selective about what you replicate.

Synology 2 disk NAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467417)

I have both personal and business data that I can't afford to lose. The primary storage location for this is a 2TB data drive in my main machine.

I bought a Synology DS209 and installed a couple of 2TB drives in RAID 1. I have a scheduled rsync job that backs up the important local files to the NAS. Since the NAS is RAID1 I actually have 3 copies should one drive fail in some manner. Luckily I bought this last year before the flooding drove HD prices up, and the thing is actually worth more now than when I bought it :)

Bonus side benefits of the Synology include the fact that it runs on linux and is hioghly configurable. With lots of built in services it can stream my music to me through a browser window or act as a DLNA device. The file system is also directly accessible from my network which means I can easily access anything on there from my laptop while working in the garage, etc. and can keep my main machine tightly secured.

Re:Synology 2 disk NAS (1)

ericdano (113424) | about 2 years ago | (#39467765)

Except the latest batch of Synology machines (like my recent DS1512+) seem to have a hardware flaw. You reboot them and they die. And then just TRY getting Synology tech support over the weekend........NOT HAPPENING.

Raid and an NAS is a great thing. My Infrant (Netgear) NV has been solid for 5 some years now. Synology seems like a nice product, but if the thing is going to freeze up and die on a reboot and I can't get tech support for it over the weekend........fuck that.

One spare isn't enough (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467423)

I have invested in USB backup drives of about the same total capacity as my primary storage drives. Yes, that's a lot of hard drive space for backups, but it's really the only practical solution that I have found. Just think of it as the cost of not losing all that data to the inevitable drive failure.

An external eSATA drive dock and a stack of 2TB drives might be a somewhat better way to go about it, at least backups and restores would be faster than the USB drives.

Re:One spare isn't enough (1)

sir-gold (949031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467589)

One of my friends uses the stack-of-drives method, he stores the spare HDs in their original packaging for protection

Here's a couple of solutions (2)

jchawk (127686) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467433)

I can offer a couple of suggestions... What I did was buy a used Dell Poweredge 2950 on eBay for about $500 bucks shipped and I added 4 x 1tb SATA drives to it and I run a raid 5 setup with 3tb of usable space across the four 1tb drives. This solution cost me less then $1000 and I have a nice playground to experiment with VMWare ESXi.

I know that's not exactly budget conscience but it works great for me.

If I were on a tight budget I would just buy a 2tb USB drive from Newegg or somewhere similar. It looks like you can buy a name brand for about $130 bucks.

If you have a little bit more money to spend you could always buy a couple of 2tb internal SATA drives and run RAID-1 mirroring on them. You could put these into an old computer and make a little NAS linux server...

If you're saying you have no money to spend then maybe you need to consider cleaning up your data. Often times all those "personal files" that you think you need to keep... Really aren't required. Just my 2 cents but this problem is very solvable.

I delete stuff (5, Insightful)

Amiga500_Rulez (988955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467441)

Seriously. How much crap do you really need to keep around?

Is your time more valuable than a new disc? (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467549)

Deleting stuff is all very well. But unless you just do an "rm -rf *" and just be done with it. you need to invest some time in deciding what to remove, what to keep and whether that directory called family-photos really does contain what you expect it to. Even at minimum wage rates, the time spent trawling through a couple of TB of "stuff" could easily exceed the cost of a new disc - and then a background copy / backup onto it.

Obviously you still have an issue of tracking things down on the rare occasions when you actually need some of your family photos. But you can rest assured that they're in there somewhere and weren't purged last time you needed a few GB for more webserver logs.

Maybe the first step is to de-dup the existing data. You'll still have some manual intervention to check possible duplicates, but it's a first step towards tackling the bigger problem.

Re:Is your time more valuable than a new disc? (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#39467789)

Agree. It is way easier to just buy new drives and schedule any purging you need to do for some later time. That way you can decide what stuff is important without the cloud of impending failure hanging over your head.

Re:I delete stuff (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467571)

Grow up. Families takes a lot of photos and video of kids and events, that's now digital. Just because you're a pr0n pirate, doesn't mean everyone else doesn't generated TBs of their own content for their own consumption.

Re:I delete stuff (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39467735)

True... but in the experience of my own family, none of it ever gets looked at. It just becomes data you are obliged to keep safe forever even though no-one really cares to access it.

Obligatory FreeNAS comment... (1)

UncleRage (515550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467445)

Cheapo used market PC, invest in some large drives and a couple of drive docks, install FreeNAS.

Take a weekend to organize your data however it makes sense (by year, subject, file type, whatever), and store it on a particular drive. Rinse wash and repeat. Depending on how important the data is, store in a fireproof safe onsite, or offsite. When (read: if) you need the data again, dock the drive and retrieve.

Personally, I'm about to liberate myself from years of data. I'm tired of all these bloody drives and the annual, "I really want to look at _______ again". It's amazing how much of that crap has zero personal value anymore. (This isn't a comment on your data, but mine.)

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467447)

I put it onto Facebook.

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467643)

>I put it onto Facebook.

This.

Facebook never loses data and I create fake accounts there which are easy to find (for me) and hide passwords in the profile.
Facebook is my personal pastebin.

it sounds like you don't really value your data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467455)

Your "personal data" has all of one spindle of redundancy, and you're worried about how to copy data off in case the drive is currently dying? IT SOUNDS like you wouldn't be sad if that data disappeared tomorrow, especially the stuff on external drives that will happily fall a few feet and be rendered useless.

I suggest you start by augmenting your storage with *a few* additional 2 or 3 TB drives, and learning about Unison. I've been on a *bootstrapping* budget for a while, and yet my *music* is synced between two 2TB drives, and backed up to a mostly-off hodpodge raid array of old 300GB drives. My important personal files (32G), are synced across a flash drive, two laptops, a server, and those two music drives.

Prioritize! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467457)

To start with you could decide what data you actually care about. Start with things of your own creation - personally I use online and backup drive copies of my source code repository, original music, etc and perform backups regularly. Just grab it with a script and it's done. Apart from that, who cares? How much information could you actually be creating that isn't available elsewhere? I wouldn't be happy to re-rip tons of CDs and re-install dozens of tools, but it would be more of an annoyance than a loss. If all you're doing with the data is wrestling to keep it anyway, it may be time to downsize.

two maxims (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467473)

One, you can't have enough backup images as something always seems to go wrong. Should include at least one offline unplugged "safe" unit. I know, it's a hassle to keep them up to date.
Two, the longer you wait the less all this backup space costs, so don't buy too much too soon.

Magic (5, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467499)

So your disks are full and possibly broken. You don't want to have more disks, you don't want tape or optical medias, and a storage provider (aka The Cloud) is not an option... Then you have three solutions "down the road":

1) Delete stuff
2) Invent a new compression algorithm that will allow you to reuse the same disks forever without losing data
3) Rely on magic*

*might overlap with solution #2

Re:Magic (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39467749)

Close ...

1. data deduplication. Most people have a lot of redundancy ever since hard drives started growing past a few gigabytes.
2. for photos - people might have 20, 30 shots, of which only 2 or 3 are really "keepers." Get rid of the crapola. Same goes for videos that are "better off forgotten" or that, while still viewable, wuld be a pain to watch because we no longer can stand looking at 320x200.
3. tar lots of little files into one big file, so as to not lose disk space to 4k sectors holding a 330-byte file, etc.,
4. bzip2 (much better compression than gzip) for most stuff, re-encode to h.264 for videos.
5. be amazed at how much space you've freed up.

Re:Magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467773)

I don't think it's a matter of "want" when it comes to tape, optical and cloud backups.

Tape is expensive as shit. Go look up the prices yourself. We're talking thousands of dollars for a drive capable of putting a couple hundred gigs per tape. Then you will have to purchase equipment to hook it up because they're almost all SCSI drives. Then figure in that tapes cost as much or more per gig that hard-drives. Then you're going to be swapping tapes all day backing up terabytes. It just doesn't make any sense.

Optical drives are cheap but the media is way too small. Even at 50GB per disc that's around 40 or more discs to back up 4TB (and that's if it compresses 50%). Do you have any idea how long that would take? Then figure in that disc media costs more per gig than hard-drives. It's not an option.

Cloud? Yeah right. You're going to upload terabytes of data to the cloud? There is no ISP that will allow that much traffic. Plus most people have connections that are slower to upload, very slow in fact. You probably wouldn't even be able to upload that much data over the course of an entire a year. Yet another impossible option.

So what's left? Well, more hard-drives. It's the only choice and it sucks.

Data compression... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467505)

It depends on the data, but many formats compress really well when using WinRAR. Many of my files, for example, that reach nearly 10:1 compression. Unless we are in the same profession, I wouldn't set your expectations that high, but I imagine on average you could get your data usage down to 40%. If I'm right, maybe you could winRAR several folders from the failing drive to the smaller drives, and not necessarily need to get more space available.

That said, I really do think the suggestion of buying another drive is spot on. I saw a 2 terrabyte drive for $120 at Best Buy yesterday.

Re:Data compression... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39467783)

I went the compression route myself. It was effective. Then it became more than effective: It became fun!

Now I spend many an evening studying and devising new means of compression by which I may squeeze a tiny bit more useful information into those bits. I'm good at it, too.

Also... in my very extensive testing experience, though winrar beats zip with ease, the contest is close between rar and 7z on small files - and once the files get big, the advantage of 7zs -md=256m dictionary size gives it a clear edge. 7z beats winrar.

I've got a block-deduper program I wrote myself too that works miracles on full-drive backups and virtual machines, but it takes a very long time to run, rendering it rather impractical. Some day I'll rewrite the slowest part to use quicksort rather than a radix sort, then it'll be much faster.

Redundancy and Archiving. (2)

Leareth (25555) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467507)

As several people have said you already answered the question yourself. Spare HDD + Blueray.

You can achieve what you want by also changing the way you think about your data.

How much of your personal data is live? As in, how much of it do you access constantly, and need immediate access to?

Here's what I do, I have discrete HDD set up for each data type (not needed...but I had spare ~500gb drives so it's how I did it) There are broken down to Music, Projects, Video, and Photos. Each of them is synced monthly to a 2TB external drive that is spun up only to do a differential backup.

Data that I haven't accessed in 6 months (mostly phots and old closed projects) is moved to Archival grade DVD and removed from the Archival HDD.

So irreplaceable things (3 decades of photos, years of work) are stored and can be accessed within a few moments, less important but commonly accessed stuff (music and instructional videos, or documents I use every day) are live and backed up on the Archive.

What kind of data? (1)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467511)

There is a solution for the problem of "too much data": it's called "retention".
You must give up some of it, or transfer it to some other, long-lived medium.

Otherwhise, I suggest you face reality and invest accordingly [youtube.com]

half-ass it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467515)

and keep copying things forward onto newer technology and vaugely try to keep two or more copies of everything in
some unorganized state

until you get old enough that you realize that its not going to matter soon anyways

Drobo + BackBlaze = Win! (3)

mveloso (325617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467519)

Drobo -> mostly reliable local backup
BackBlaze -> mostly reliable offsite backup

You might want to substitute a ZFS-based FreeNAS for the Drobo, if you're so inclined. It's less automatic, but seems just as reliable.

Depends what you mean by "personal" data (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467521)

All of my personal data is in my home directory and easily backed up to non-volatile media (which I do a few times a year, but not as often as I should.)

All of the project data is on SourceForge or company project servers, so there are duplicate copies of that.

I hardly think of my music or movies as "personal" data nor as irreplaceable. Were I still playing video games, I don't think I'd bother backing up game data, either.

When people talk about needing entire drives for their personal data backups, I have to wonder: WTF have you got ON there?

Just delete it! (1, Insightful)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467527)

If there's some personal data you're missing at some point, just ask Google or the NSA ... But seriously, I've never made backups and not even bothered to copy over stuff from old PCs to newer ones when I upgraded (I keep old hard drives in a closet just in case there's something old I'm missing, but I never really do). The only personal stuff I keep safe is images on my iPhone (backed up on the PC) and email (safe-ish on the server at work). If I needed more space, I'd go with Wuala [wuala.com] due to its relative safety (redundant storage, client side encryption) - but it's only free for 2GB or so nowdays. But ask yourself: do you really need all that data? I don't think so.

RDX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467533)

Check out RDX (http://www.rdxstorage.com/). Much easier, cheaper and versatile than tape for backup. It has essentially unlimited capacity and can be upgraded very easily without losing any prior investment. It can be used online or taken offline for storage.

Homebrew Offsite Backups? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467547)

Here's what I did:

My first iteration of off-site storage was simply using an external drive that I kept at work. I'd bring it home every so often and run a backup. However, I'm really too lazy for that. So....

2nd iteration was to buy a dirt cheap PC and a 2TB drive (enough for my needs at the moment). Put linux on it and wrote a quick shell script to log into my home network via openVPN, mount my requisite NFS shares, and run an incremental backup via tar. It's currently sitting at my parents' house. Every few months I'll use the above external drive to refresh the entire backup (that would take months via broadband) on a visit to the parents. Fortunately, with the paltry upload speeds TW gives me, I don't have to worry about killing my dad's connection. And the incremental backup usually runs in a few hours. If I ever need it, they're only a few hours away.

Re:Homebrew Offsite Backups? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39467817)

I do much the same, with a few minor tweaks:
- Rather than NFS, I use a tarpipe: Source box uses xinetd. It's a little faster, and uses less processor time at the backup box. Which is important, because...
- The backups box also compresses the data it gets (pigz or bpzip2, depending where the data is from) and encrypts it (gpg - have to use assymetric encryption so the backup box doesn't need to store the key) in case of theft. It takes rather a lot of processing power to handle this, but a Core 2 Quad does the job nicely.

As you're running it over the internet you'd want to replace the xinetd-and-tar with an ssh connection (You can make ssh run tar directly in place of a shell) in order to avoid sending plaintext over the internet. Depending on the data, you might want to move the compression to the source device as well so reduce the pain inflicted upon your usage caps.

How important is the data really (1)

Port-0 (301613) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467551)

I have a large amount of personal data as well (also, no pr0n), though I realized some place along the line that it wasn't that important not to lose it. When I die most of will probably be tossed anyhow. Who is going to want to sort through it all.

With that said, I still don't want to get rid of all my data, so I have a drobo with 5-2TB drives, and I also have a linux box with raid set up, that backs up the drobo. But really, think hard about how much effort and expense you want to put towards keeping data. There is probably a whole lot of it that can just be tossed because you will never look at it again. It will probably save you a bunch of time and money to go through all the data and get rid of the stuff you'll never actually use. This actually works well for garages too.

Fire safe + USB drive (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467559)

My fileserver uses RAID and makes a separate (encrypted) backup to an external USB hard drive (fortunately, my data hasn't grown faster than hard drive sizes so I can fit it all on a single 2TB drive, to ensure file integrity, periodically I have rsync verify file checksums,)

As a secondary backup, I use a 1TB notebook drive locked in a USB enabled fire safe:

http://www.amazon.com/SentrySafe-QA0121-Fire-Safe-Waterproof-Storage/dp/B00166187Q/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top [amazon.com]

I used metal straps to tie it down and lock it to my computer desk in the hope that if someone comes in to steal the computer, they'll just grab it and run without prying off the data safe. The safe is only rated for 30 minutes @ 1500 degrees so it's not a perfect solution, but better than nothing.

For my really important data (old tax returns, scanned in records and receipts, etc) I back them up to the cloud. For photos, I keep the full-size image locally (some TIFFs, mostly JPG's), but keep a lower res lower quality image in the cloud. All of this is less than 20GB.

Most of my big data is DVD's that I've ripped and I'll count on insurance to replace them if they are lost - I don't even back them up to the drive in the fire safe.

 

Friends rock (1)

schrodingersGato (2602023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467567)

I had a similar problem. I had let a friend borrow an external for a backup and it came back write protected! He was using windows, I mac and linux, and could not figure out why/ how this happened. I was at capacity on that drive as well as two others and needed space bad (needed to back up a laptop before installing new os). A few other friends came to my rescue and allowed me to borrow some of their drives until i could find a more permanent solution. The suggestion to build a raid box is a good one.It will allow you to build up your storage capacity over time. My advice is to use multiple methods: back up locally AND send your most essential data to the cloud via an encrypted service (this will protect against a fire, theft, etc. Plus its handy to have access to your files from any computer). I like wuala personally, but spideroak is also very nice solution as well. There are lots of good, secure solutions now that are relatively affordable

Have Less Data or Build a Server (2, Insightful)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467581)

I think it's time to admit that you're a hoarder. What exactly -is- your personal data that's so precious? I run a server just to keep my skill set up and run my side business, but I've only managed to accumulate around 600GB of data, only about 35GB of it is 'mine', the rest is client backups.

So first admit that you're a hoarder, then decide if you wan to address that issue or indulge it. If you choose to indulge it, you're going to want to build a small home server. Something with a low-end 64-bit CPU (i3?), a gigabit LAN port, and lots SATA ports and 3.5" drive bays. Buy a bunch of high-quality (WD RE4?) matching drives that fit your data needs times two (you're RAIDing space away). Once you have that, install Linux on it, build a software RAID-1 or 0+1 array (don't do RAID-5 unless you can handle days of rebuild time), and format it with something accessible (read: in the kernel, like EXT4). Create a share on the array with Samba and happily access it from all your machines (don't bother with Netatalk or NFS; CIFS is great on all platforms). As your data needs grow, you can add drives in pairs or replace drives with larger ones and grow the volume. If you need backup, you'll want another array, preferably on another low-end box (an enclosure on your desktop?) but it can be built on a RAID-0 or JBOD to save money.

xxcopy + allway sync (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467583)

To backup personal data from drive C on Windows, I use a batch file using xxcopy to clone all the folders. These are all I would need to restore after a clean install of the Operating System. These folders are routinely cloned back into the C drive of a wide range of computers. For all other major folders on other partitions I use Allway Sync and make sure I have 3 copies of all 10TB of data scattered around my six computers and six enclosures. Most publicly related major folders are carried away to other houses.

Bugs? RAID! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39467595)

I keep absurdly huge drive images of customer machines since they seem to be able to destroy them so quickly it's become simpler to image than to re-fix....
So anyways, I have a specific machine, old case, huge, noisy, excellent airflow and it has two RAID1 arrays in it, a 1.5 tb raid, and a 2tb raid - They are backed up weekly to external 1.5, and external 2.0 tb disks, that are left unhooked except while syncing.

THUS: RAID protects me from component failure ( if one drive fails, stick in another drive! I've already done this with a 2tb disk ) allows me a centralized fileserver for my home network, and the externals protect against localized acts of god/viruses... If my RAIDs get compromised and I have lots and lots of redundant viral infection instead of my data - format 'em, and re-write from externals.
Admittedly, this many disks was not cheap, however in the long term, all I need to do is replace disks (ideally) and the prices on this size of disk will certainly keep dropping. As a side bonus, since all of my data is centralized I can share it to myself online via a wee bit of port forwarding and suchly...

TL;DR build a computer with a RAID array of largish disks, back it up to external regularly. Titty sprinkles.
PS Slashdot, FUCK YOUR CAPTCHAS.

It's that time again, is it? (4, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467599)

It's that time again, is it?
http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2452630&cid=37557630 [slashdot.org]

Either..
A: Buy that HDD. Yes, they're a bit more expensive right now ..or..
B: Wait a few months, prices will come down again, buy that HDD then. Yes, you may lose your data in the mean time.

Now stop asking or I'm going to pull over.

So you do not have backup? (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467607)

Drives die, sometimes without warning (and old statistic by IBM says 50% of the time there is no warning). You could just throw everything away, as you are going to lose it anyways, sooner or later. Or you could find the resources needed to make sure you have everything on at the very least two drives (one of which should not be connected or running). There is nothing that can replace reasonable backup.

As a side note: Common sysadmin wisdom is to have 3 independent backups in addition to the original.

Hoarders: Digital Edition (4, Funny)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467609)

You might be on the next spinoff of Hoarders programs, a digital hoarders show.

In this show, redundancy, old versions, and files that haven't been opened in 5+ years are brought into question, for which you will be embarrased to defend... You will attempt to justify why you still have linksys drivers for a wrt54g you don't even have anymore. And no, the DVD ISO of the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, that you never burned or watched, is not worth saving.... Neither are about 85% of the digital pictures you took (you know, the ones that were the 'bad shot' that you took before finally getting the good one).

Take a day or two, go through it chunk by chunk, and purge! PURGE!

squeeeeeeeeze it (1)

burdickjp (2530248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39467631)

Compression is your friend. Also, weeding out things you don't use. Hording is problem in the digital age as well.

Raid + mirror with a friend (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | about 2 years ago | (#39467651)

A friend and I each have FreeNas servers with multi TB raid-z.

Some of our data we keep mirrored between them.

The servers are physically brought together occasionally for a full sync, but most of the time rsync -n is done over the internet to see what needs to be updated and the data transferred on a removable hard drive.

ofc not on harddrive, nas, or such (1)

zugedneb (601299) | about 2 years ago | (#39467653)

i keep it no tape in CowboyNeals anus

That's an easy one. (1)

Zapotek (1032314) | about 2 years ago | (#39467657)

I just put everything on Facebook -- hey, where's everybody going?

Storage? (1)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | about 2 years ago | (#39467659)

Answer:

Floppies

More floppies

More floppies

(I can sell you some cheap!)

p4tw (1)

Maglos (667167) | about 2 years ago | (#39467667)

I was given a p4 optiplex desktop which I am using for my fileserver. I have a pair of 1.5tb disks and a pair of 2tb disks in mirrors running freeNAS on a usb thumbdrive. The optiplex is great because is quiet, fast enough and the case conveniently fits 4 drives(and free). I have a cheap 4 sata card for the drives and I splurged on a decent intel gigabit nic after couple other cheap ones with no luck (asus and dlink I believe). If you do the thumbdrive thing, make sure and buy two and dd the contents over, one failed on me and now I have to manually manage my raid via cli. Of course this does not protect me from myself, but I haven't lost too much due to my own stupidity. I used to have a larger fileserver with all sorts of little drives, but I replaced them with a couple big ones and I'm much happier for it. Lots of people swear by drobos. One person I know plugs a decent usb drive into his hacked router. Rsnapshot is good for automatic incremental backups.

what makes a successful backup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467669)

I've learned a few things from my 45 years in the computer business. RAID arrays aren't a reliable way to prevent data loss. It's not a backup unless you have successfully restored from it. You need to have a FIFO with off site backups.

Budget? (1)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | about 2 years ago | (#39467709)

As others have noted, if you can't afford AT LEAST another drive, serious problem right off the bat. One wonders what the data is worth given this.

I'll move on, assume the data is worth AT LEAST another drive or two (we're talking a couple hundred bucks at most, come on):

1. drbd: raid to a low cost, remote machine with similar sized drive. Dead drive is now recoverable.

2. amanda or similar backup to drive on remote machine. No, not tape, just virtual on disk. Now have a backup history as well in case one needs that file that one deleted 6 months ago.

Yes, cost is a couple hundred and some older machines, but really, what is your data worth in the first place?

Bite the bullet (1)

no-body (127863) | about 2 years ago | (#39467747)

Get older version LTO drive, get identical harddisks with spares and do full drive image backups with incremental backups in-between.
Mirroring disks (Raid 0+1) is good too.

All that other stuff - DVD/Blue Ray, cloud is chickenshit. Drives die or act up.

Run Linux on one drive and do image backups from there.

Zerofill the empty space,
dd if=/dev/zero | split --verbose -b 2000m -d - ZERO

compress the image:
dd if=$DEVICE | gzip -v | split --verbose -b 2000m -d - NAME

and write the chunks to tape.

Define what your Backup Must Do First & Why (2)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 2 years ago | (#39467763)

People have different needs. Some needs are imposed by either employers or the wonderful US Govt. for mandatory data retention. Others are your life's design work that you want to retain until you die. Other data you want to pass to your kids. If you can't afford to lose it keep multiple backups on multiple media in multiple locations. Books & pamphlets have been written on this. Transfer the data to new media once a year or two or three & keep all working drives.

No single storage device local or remote is immune from disaster. The Alexandria Library succumbed and took with it countless early human treasures. Wars have done in archives all over the world. Lightning, outages and power surges can defeat the best protections even when electronic equipment is turned off, but still plugged in (laptops are better when left unplugged, which is actually a great asset).

Backup is one thing; recovery is another and it can be GUT WRENCHING. The recovery process needs as much thought as backup.

A Clue or Two: A business partner had his MBPro backed up to 2 external HDs. Not great, but OK. Said MBPro crashed on the Lion upgrade. No way to know whether it was hardware or software and the MBPro should have at that point been off limits for use until carefully checked out. He happens to live in an area subject to lightning and outages which can affect anyone (even with a UPS). However, he reinstalled the Snow Leopard and plugged the first BU HD in an attempt to reload the data; HD became corrupted. Should have stopped, but then the 2nd HD was corrupted. Moral of the story; Recover data from a backup to an external HD running on another computer than the one that got mucked up.

The cost of 3-4 external 2-3 Terabyte hard drives and a couple cases or RAID box is dirt cheap compared to the value of the hours you put in on your computer each year as are Blue Ray drives & disks.

Caution: Someone on this list mentioned putting drives and disks in a "fireproof safe" or "fireproof file cabinet"; wrong! The UL approved boxes are designed only to protect "paper" for a given amount of time in a typical fire by releasing steam (212 deg. F = goodbye DVD/BR disks). Once the fireproof agent uses up its water...Farenheight 456 takes care of all contents...permanently. This is why multiple locations are needed.

How important is uptime? (1)

tirerim (1108567) | about 2 years ago | (#39467769)

I'm assuming to start with that you have backups of everything in some fashion, with which you could put it all back together if your biggest drive suddenly failed spectacularly.

In that case, how important is uptime to you? Since this is personal data, I'm guessing that you could live without live access to it for a few days. And given that, I think your best bet is not to keep a spare just sitting around, but to only buy one when you need it. Hard disk prices keep going down, and the price for the same drive six months from now is almost guaranteed to be lower than it is now, barring things like the Thailand floods. The other big advantage of this method is that when you upgrade to bigger drives, you don't have to immediately upgrade your spare as well -- and if you manage to go a whole upgrade cycle without needing the spare, then you've saved yourself the purchase of an entire drive.

At the moment, because your drive is possibly failing, then yes you need to get that spare. But if the current drive is actually failing, it won't be a spare so much as a replacement, and then you're back to the same situation.

The Cloud with Slow Internet Connection.... (1)

bigal123 (709270) | about 2 years ago | (#39467813)

I was in a very similar situation about 3 months ago, but with 80+ gigs of data. I had pictures that don't compress well, personal documents all sorts that needed to save. I used to just back them up to an external drive. Then i would hear stories about something happening to peoples computes and their external drive that was left connected. I never wanted to go to the "cloud" and loose my data, besides I had a very slow DSL connection so uploading would be a pain. I went researched the cloud solutions went round and round then held my nose and purchased a subscription to Mozy. Yes it took about 4 weeks to get my data upload. Of course i was using the internet connection for other things at the time also. At the time I figured what is 4 weeks when i have gone for so long with very few other options. After everything was done I now have Mozy running in the background and every few house it backs up. I love it I feel more comfortable about my data being safe. I don't have to worry as much about it. I still use my external drives for things like an extra copy of my Quicken data but that may change as I change my habits as Quicken data is also backed up by Mozy. For me I worry, what could happen to a computer, drive, even raid corruption, fire, flood, tornado, etc. I am paying for it and i know some want something free or less cost, but if i want to spend less i guess i could use the free version of Mozy and just do a few docs and no pictures. However family pictures are just as important as some of my personal documents. I know some may prefer one of the other backup services but right now I can say I am impressed with Mozy, even on my slow connection.

one thang you do not want to do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467815)

...is backup to a hard drive and then unplug it and put if on the shelf for a long time. it will hold the data for a while but it will not hold it. A RAID 5 is best, or a boat load of Blu-Rays.

Quit screwing around. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#39467829)

SDLT tape drive and some tapes. If your "personal data" is not worth the $800.00 to buy a good used SDLT drive and a few tapes, then it's not worth backing up.

Just do not dink around with theoretical "backup solutions" that are not proven. and no, hard drives are not "proven" for reliable and long term backup. I have DLT tapes from 16 years ago that I know for a fact I can still read.

If your data is important, You dont screw around with consumer hard drives that are known to have a low MTBF.

Prioritise and use tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467837)

I, too, have a lot of non-porn, non-illegal stuff. At first I just used an old DDS4 drive to back-up the critical data (documents, camera pictures, etc.). I know you say tape isn't economical, but it really can be. Sure LTO5 is still expensive, but you can find LTO2 & LTO3 drives (200GB / 400GB respectively) for the price of a hard drive - even some auto-loaders aren't that expensive. The controller isn't much more than a night at the pub.

Tape really is the way-to-go for must-have backups. I have tapes that are 15 years old and I can still read them. I can't say the same for CDR's or even hard drives from the same period.

It may not be the fastest solution if you backup your whole array all the time. But this way, you can backup the whole array if you want and at the very least, you can backup a lot of your critical data and have a bit of piece-of-mind.

Manual on External HDs and good organization (2)

seriesrover (867969) | about 2 years ago | (#39467851)

My personal and family data (not including ripped DVDs etc) are about 1 TB. Mostly photographs and video with my DSLR so the files tend to get large...but I also have a ton of documents, app installs, and all sorts of misc data. I must admit I'd be curious as to what fills multiple external HDs for personal data but to each their own.

Good organization outweighs medium in my case. 2xExternal 2 TB HDs - primary and secondary...and then a third stored off site at my parents that I update about 3 times a year, so if the worst happens I'm 6 mons out of date, but its usually about 4. And thats if both my primary and secondary go down. Thats a cost of about $300 total and a little a bit of effort.

"A little bit of effort" is defined by how you organize. Backing up manually means I don't rely on software or a service, but it requires some forethought. For me I break it up by data type and usually year...sometimes I go one more by how that data was acquired (photos I add who took the picture). This is important because I put anything new into a diff folder so I know whats new and whats not. It took me a couple of years to get to the structure I have but I sometimes add small tweaks. The effort or time now is fairly miniscule.

What I'm trying to get at is this : if you're prepared to put a small amount of time in every now and again, with an initial overhead, you can do this very easily and cheaply.

RAID and multiple machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39467871)

RAIDz2 on two machines with completely different hardware and in two geographically distinct locations, or at least on different circuits in your house. That is just to store your data and drive images. Still keep local copies on your everyday machines.

Especially if your data is worth $$$, perhaps if you do consulting, then you should be able to justify the cost, ~$2000 per machine with 5 drives each and server grade hardware with all the error checking and failover hardware you can get your hands on.

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