Terabyte Backup


How do I, at a reasonable cost, back up all of my data? Long ago, when hard drives were 40GB, 4.7GB DVDs were a reasonable means of backup. But now with multi-terabyte hard drives there doesn’t seem to be any reasonable backup method. Right now I’m using RAID 5 rather than backing up my data. I have a RAID with five 1TB drives in it and I’m relying on the redundancy as the backup. I looked into tape backup drives and found that the cheapest 800GB LTO-4 drive was $1,800 and the tapes run $50 each. As it turns out, I could build another system, put together a duplicate array and back up one to the other for less than the cost of the tape drive. Is there any such thing as affordable backup anymore? I can’t find anything. Blu-ray isn’t even affordable yet, and it’s already too small for backups.

—K. Bateman
Ah, you’ve touched upon a common topic of discussion here at Maximum PC: How do you back up huge amounts of data effectively?
The bad news is, with the amounts of data you’re talking about, there’s no such thing as a cheap backup solution. If you want to back up 3TB of data, you’re going to have to spend some money. Sticking with what you have now may be tempting, but RAID 5 is not a backup strategy, and you’d have to buy at least one 1TB drive to rebuild your array if it fails, anyway. So here’s what the Doc recommends: Buy a multibay NAS (or external eSATA enclosure, such as WD’s MyBook Studio Edition II), fill it with 2TB drives and back up your array to it, or (if you have less than 3TB of data on your array) split your array up and use half for your primary drive and the other half for backup.
Western Digital's MyBook Studio II contains two 2TB drives and has an eSATA port. Not a bad choice for backing up huge amounts of data.

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