ExtremeTech has a great new article titled New Strategies for Personal Mass Storage. I’ve been working on a longish post/article on personal storage that I hope to have done in a week or so. This ExtremeTech article is great background material.
While you’re waiting for me to post my diatribe on storage consider this:
Some time after our daughter was born I accidentally recorded over two (yes, I made the mistake twice!) VHS tapes that were precious. One was of our wedding and the other was of my wife’s ultrasound with my daughter in her tummy. It’s bad enough that I destroyed those precious items, but it’s even worse that the shows I recorded over them were some Star Trek episode and Aliens IV. To this day, some 10 years later, my wife still gives me an unbelievable (but deserved!) amount of grief about this.
Prior to us having a digital camera (6 years ago?) I lost all data on my PC due to a stupid “user error“. I lost tons of stuff. But I can’t remember today what any of it was. It was important, but for the most part it was replaceable or repairable (tax records, money files, letters, email, etc…). I don’t think my wife even noticed.
If this same thing happened today, the impact would be very different: my PC now has precious data on it. Photos. 20GB of 5+ years of family photos. If I view these as precious, imagine what my wife thinks? Imagine the doghouse I’d be in if I allowed a PC failure of some sort to destroy those photos?!?!
For the first time in history, home PC users actually have irreplaceable, truly precious data on their machines! This is a big deal (I wonder if you have to be married with children to really understand this).
What are you doing to protect your precious data?
After a drive failure that hit me hard, and needed about two days of work to recover most of the data from it (and it was just the OS and applications disk that happened to have some important stuff on) I have gone from not worrying that much to being a touch silly:
I implemented raid 1 on enteprise class disks (SCSI disks at one point, WD74 10000rpm SATA150’s now – hopefully they’ll be reliable) for primary storage volumes, then a weekly backup to ANOTHER raid 1 volume made of cheap disks that can take several of the primary storage volumes (using 250GB drives). Then I replicate anything ultra important to a server in America.
Mass storage isn’t so much of an issue, I’m not tooo worried about loosing backups of dvd’s or images of CD’s – yes, it’d be time consuming to replace, but a few 400GB drives per machine and a couple of copies around my home network should keep me from doing that! No raid at all – so worst case I have to copy 400 gig of data between two machines, rather than several TB if I striped it.
Since implementing this, I’ve been pretty lucky – so far anyway. Eight drives have failed in three years and no data lost.
Wow, I just read your follow-up article, and while I don’t have nearly that much data, I do have several years of digital photos, and several Gb of MP3s. I’d hate to have to rip all of those CDs again.
Recently, one of the disks in my fileserver died, so I went looking for something a bit more robust. Fortunately, I didn’t lose much data — I’d backed up all of the important stuff onto DVD+R a few weeks previously.
In the end I opted for a 3ware SATA150 RAID card, to which I’ve got connected 4x200Gb Seagate Barracuda drives, configured for RAID5. So, I figure I’m good for any single-drive failure.
I still need to look at a long-term offline-backup (tape, DVD, removable disks, etc.) strategy, though.