Backing up 2TB?

jamor

I have 2TBs of movies that I’m afraid I’ll lose if the NAS device they’re stored on fails. Is it possible to recover the files on these hard drives by putting them in another device, or do I have to have the same product I’m using now? Making DVDs for 2TB of files is not realistic and I don’t really want to buy another 2TB of hard drives just for backup. How long can I expect a typical hard drive to retain data before it fails? One year? Five?

—Norm

This is a problem that’s going to crop up more and more often now that storage size is increasing so rapidly—how do you back up 2TB worth of data? Depending on how your NAS formats its internal drives (for example, if they’re in a RAID), you might not be able to just stick the hard drives in a different device and expect them to work. If the NAS tanks, rather than the disks themselves, you’d think you’d be able to put the drives in a new unit of the same model, but rebuilding RAIDs on different controllers is an iffy proposition.

We know you don’t want to plunk down a few Franklins on backup drives, but we honestly think that’s the best course of action—stick a few large drives in your main rig and back up your NAS to them. You can grab a couple 1.5TB drives for about $130 each; that’ll give you room to back up and room to grow. And although it may seem counterintuitive to back up your NAS to your desktop, what else are you going to do?

As to your second question, hard drives can fail at any time, but we usually expect them to last around five years. It’s not a bad idea to upgrade every few years anyway, as storage gets faster, better, and cheaper.

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