Saturday, September 29, 2007

Backing Up

Yesterday, we discussed what to do with large files and how to get them to others via the Internet. Paul provided another source, which is helpful because choice is always good.

This got me to thinking about large files and the idea of backing-up data. Because I do keep digital files (both video and audio), it starts to take up a lot of room. Currently, I have external hard drives at home and at the office for these (I have heard that by burning them to CDs or DVDs degrades the data). But you know what, this is such a pain! Sure enough, I will be working at home in the early mornings and need something that is on the storage drive at work or vis versa.

So, I have been looking for a larger solution for this and may have found one in a backup site online called Anytime@Anywhere. They offer different storage options for various size needs. The files are also encrypted, so they are pretty secure. This is done on the client (mine or yours) machine so not even Anytime@Anywhere has the passwords. And they are Mac (and most operating system) compatible.

I am going to try their free trial and see how it goes. Feel free to also try Anytime@Anywhere offsite backup. I would like your take on this as well.


Paul said...

This is a long post, but I wanted to provide a thorough answer, sorry!

There's zero truth to whatever rumors you've been hearing or were offered as fact about CD/DVD media. It works like this:

You get what you pay for.

If you see a sale at a local computer store for a 100 pack of CDs or DVDs of some kind, from some brand you've never heard of, and the price is ridiculously low - like $10 or so, and they even have a $6 mail in rebate on that bringing the final cost down to $4!!!

Well, there's a reason for that: it's called cheap products, and cheap media. But if you spend a little bit of money and get good quality media products, you end up with long-lasting and highly reliable media that keeps your data backed up safely for many years to come.

As someone that's been working with computers pretty much daily for the past 33 years of my life, here are my recommendations for CD/DVD blank recordable brands:

Verbatim, Sony, and TDK. I would not dare recommend any other brand of product, as the "cheap" stuff from companies like Memorex, GQ (Good Quality) or some other no-name brand will just have you wasting money and then on top of that loss you end up losing your data too.

I've got CDs on TDK media I burned in 1997 that are still readable - and I can always reburn the data to new media for a "fresh" burn if necessary. I've got some video recordings by Richard Bandler I backed up to TDK DVD media over 5 years ago; it's still there and I re-watch them on occasion, and I can re-burn those if I ever get the urge or get paranoid. :)

So, get good media and you're "safe" as you can be. I don't trust hard drives as long-term backup storage. I've seen entirely too many drives just die at random times, and with them they take tens if not hundreds of gigabytes of valuable information.

Look at it from this perspective: would you rather lose 350GB of movies, videos, pictures, and music and personally important data if the hard drive died in a split second, or would you rather have a single DVD get scratched and you lose no more than about 4.5GB of data?

Yes, the DVDs hold less data on an individual basis, but the very nature of that smaller capacity means you lose less data if data is lost.

To me, it's pretty obvious: take the lesser of the two evils. :) Online storage is ok for small stuff, and when it's free that's even better, but it's a negative in two respects: 1) someone else has access to your data unless you're doing some data encryption before the uploading (possible with some archiving software), and 2) it's slow as hell and takes a long time for the big files - if the transfer gets disconnected, you end up starting from scratch, etc.

It has its purposes, but for me, I'll take a DVD I just burned and verified the burn bit for bit over any other form of currently available storage solutions.

Have fun, always...

The Transparent Hypnotist said...

Thanks for these comments. Good to see your side of it.