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Large Offline Removable Media Storage Plan


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A problem I'm running into: I've been moving into USB drives for offline storage and away from DVD media.  Besides the lack of the need for reburns and worry about the media failing, I've been able to downsize things considerably.  The only thing is that I'm sitting on six USB drives now with most of them full of data, and still have a number of DVD platters with things.

So, the question I had is if there's any good options for massive external offline storage that people could suggest, along with ways to assure that the data won't be lost by media failure or the device getting broken (I have broken one USB drive before)?  That's a concern I'm getting now as I notice how these USB drives are filling up, I'm having to swap them out to find the right one (labeling is a question keeping that many, too), and the prospect of many more to keep ahead of my offline data storage needs if I stick with the USB drives.

Perhaps, while suggestions of good external media would be welcome, any good text on handling backup/offline storage needs in today's day and age would be as much or more welcome too.

So, thoughts?

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Well, you are describing more or less a NAS (Network Attached Storage) with either RAID 10 or (safer/better) RAID 5/6 + full offline replication (i.e. two identical RAID 5/6 NAS's synchronized periodically).

It ain't normally gonna be cheap :ph34r:, but maybe you have some spare old (but not too old) PC's that you can use, or you can get for peanuts some Mini-ITX from e-bay or similar and add to it a basic (you won't need high performance) RAID card and a bunch of disks, but there are also lots of decommissioned (but perfectly fine) servers on sale.

Which size of data are we talking about?

A simple basic intro to RAID: https://www.adaptec.com/nr/rdonlyres/874d145e-f64f-4804-9e27-037bc5a9dce0/0/3994_raid_whichone_v112.pdf

jaclaz


 

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10 hours ago, jaclaz said:

Which size of data are we talking about?

Right now, I have perhaps 12-20 burnt DVDs and 52GB worth of USB drives.   Probably could pare a fair amount of it down if I wanted to sit down for several days and look at it all, but the best is if I can keep what I need to keep.

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52 GB?

+20*5Gb = 100 Gb

so between 150 Gb and (if DVD's are 9 Gb each) 250 Gb?

Are you sure?

6 USB disks with an average of less than 10 GB each? (they can't be 52 TB unless you have 10 TB USB disks)

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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9 minutes ago, jaclaz said:

52 GB?

so between 150 Gb and (if DVD's are 9 Gb each) 250 Gb?

Are you sure?

Yeah, 2x16GB, 2x8GB, 1x4GB.  Not all completely full of course (yet, one of the 16's IS).  One of the 8's is a volatile backup, the 4 is my media toaster stick.  The other 4 have steady-storage files on them of various kinds.  4.7GB on each of the DVD platters.  Of course, all probably not completely full.

Like I say, since it's about 20 years worth of stuff, probably could pare it down.  But at the same time as a content creator, it's pretty hard to delete something you worked on once upon a time.

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I see :), I read USB drive and understood USB Hard Disk drive instead of USB stick.

So, you buy 3 x 500 Gb Toshiba Canvio Basics (these ARE USB Hard Disk drives) for around 50-60 bucks each.

Then you copy ALL your files to the first one, which you mark as #1 and keep it connected to your PC.

Then you backup the #1 to #2 first week of even months.

Then you backup the #1 to #3 first week of odd months.

Then after one year you shift the labels, #1 becomes #2, #2 becomes #3 and #3 becomes #1, and you have the "new" #1 connected to your PC.

Or, you buy an used server, etc., etc.

jaclaz



 

Edited by jaclaz
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On 7/9/2017 at 3:02 PM, jaclaz said:

I see :), I read USB drive and understood USB Hard Disk drive instead of USB stick.

So, you buy 3 x 500 Gb Toshiba Canvio Basics (these ARE USB Hard Disk drives) for around 50-60 bucks each.

Are these durable enough that they'll last if they get hit or dropped while in use or get EM or anything like that?   I almost would worry about such a thing more than these 2 USB sticks I use frequently, especially given what I know about regular hard drives.

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A hard disk, inside an external case, doesn't get "normal" EM influence, of course  you cannot lay it on your Degausser not bring it with you when doing a MRI.

They suffer from hard hits or if dropped when in use, but you shouldn't use one as an anvil, nor toss them on the floor to see if they bounce up.

If you live in Japan you are fine for accidental drops :w00t: :



 

The fact that none of your USB sticks fried or however stopped working yet is not in any way a rational reason to believe they are in any way reliable (hint: they aren't, particularly when mechanically stressed and when aging, for different reasons).

The great advantage of USB sticks is that they are small, portable (and much easily lost accidentally) and they are actually mechanically "tougher" than hard disks BUT they often happen to fail (for no apparent reason) and when they do recovery is usually a much bigger problem than hard disks.

In any case the whole idea of a three devices rotating set is that at any given moment you have three copies of your files (besides the original on your PC's hard disk) that are snapshot taken a times t, t-1x and t-2x where x is the interval of the backups, I suggested what is a "normal" procedure that can actually be followed regularly with a minimum of discipline, with x=1 month, but x can be any interval of time (hint: once upon a time in a not so far galaxy, all we had were floppy disks, and we had one labeled Monday, one labeled Wednesday, the last labeled Friday) in the worse case where BOTH the original and one of the three backups are destroyed, specifically the last one, you may lose 1 unit worth of unsaved  work/data, in the worst-worst case where BOTH the original and TWO of the backups are destroyed (the t and the t-1x) you may lose 2 unit worth of unsaved work/data.

It's up to you to determine, based on the value of your data, which time unit to assign to x.

jaclaz



 

Edited by jaclaz
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