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 What is the Best Method to Back up Data?

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PostSubject: What is the Best Method to Back up Data?   Tue 18 Sep 2007, 6:11 am

What is the Best Method to Back up Data?
by: James Walsh

This being the age of internet, chat rooms, blogging and innovative hackers, their expectation never gets fulfilled. The news always leaks out or is methodically publicised by a rival or a gleeful hacker. Thereafter, insult is added to their injury as irate customers and the eager press demand explanations about every unsavoury detail of the incident. But data loss is not a problem affecting only the big players only any more. All of us deal with some amount of data and almost all of it is important to us. Albums have been replaced by .jpeg files, our music is inside the hard drive of our pc or laptop, and our emails are stored in offline folders or software like Microsoft Outlook. Students keep their study material in their machines, and a doctoral thesis is usually a file on the hard disk instead of being a thick volume bound in leather covers. It is, therefore, strange that we keep losing data because we have not taken the precaution of backing it up elsewhere. Several start-up home businesses have not seen the light of the day anymore after an initial incident of data loss. All of this underlines the importance of backup, which really cannot be overstressed.

Some Methods of Obtaining Backups

The method, or rather, the medium chosen for backing up data will depend on the volume of data to be stored, as well as the nature of the data. Some common methods are being enlisted below:

CD and Floppy: The floppy has largely gone out of use by now, due to its many limitations, small capacity and security problems. The CD is a good choice for obtaining backups, and is one of the favourite choices in both domestic and corporate spheres. It is cheap, readily available, portable and compatible with several file formats. Storing a CD and sharing information from it are also quite simple.

DVD: The DVD is a good choice for storing audio visual information. It may not be as cheap as the CD, but offers better quality, often lasts longer, and has way more space. DVD RWs can be used in such a way that literally every bit is used to store information. A DVD also has the same facilities when it comes to sharing and easy transporting. However, the DVD RW, many market observers feel, may turn out to be an intermediate technology and be replaced by something superior but very similar in function, or may evolve in such a way that the problems would get solved. It must be noted here that the constant research in this regard, and inventions like the Blue Ray disk etc. point out that we can hope for a better technology soon.

USB Devices: These are the new favourites all over the world. The greatest proof of the popularity of this technology lies in two facts. Firstly, the storage space of pen drives / flash drives/ memory sticks is constantly increasing. Secondly, their prices are plummeting downwards rapidly. Almost all kinds of files can be stored on these; they are very easy to carry, do not require a separate software or booting up of the machine to start functioning, and it is very convenient to share the data stored on them. For storing smaller music libraries, an iPod may be an option too.

External Hard Drives: For larger data storage requirements, external hard drives are excellent solutions. Arrays or stacks of hard drives are available for corporate purposes and are provided by all good hard drive manufacturers. Seagate, Maxtor, ASB, LaCie all make external hard drives of varying capacities and prices.

Online and Offline Storage Spaces: These are ‘spaces’ provided by professional firms, and are extremely secure for sensitive data storage.

Tapes and Printouts: Traditional storage should not be left out of the list. There is some information that one simply needs to see on the good old piece of paper. Tape has been in use for a long time now, and will probably continue for some time.
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PostSubject: I think.....   Sun 30 Sep 2007, 5:55 am

I think internal hard drives are the right way to go as they are cheaper, have a large data capacity, have fast read/write times and are easy to work with. Just add an second hardrive (with similar features) and put it in a Raid 1 array to back up all data contained in the first hard drive.
Raid setups do have problems though crashes are rare.

If you do not have room for an extra drive in your system then External Hard Drives are the best option! But be sure to buy one with a large capacity, a high speed and a variety of connection capabilties. USB 2 is good, but Ethernet is hell of a lot faster.

Random Info: My friend Ciro at PureOverclock.Com is telling me that USB 3 is developing and it offers a very high speed (4.8 Gbits/s).
It will be out soon next year or so!
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