Automatic Backup of ALL your data

Discussion in 'Computers & Website Forum' started by NateT, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. NateT

    NateT
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    Hey guys,

    I thought I'd let you know about a great way to automatically back up all your data. I've recently tested this system out for a client, and it is really cool (although not new by any means.)

    It's called a RAID-1 (Redundant Array of Independent Disks, level 1).

    The way it works is this:
    You buy a second hard drive that is at least as big as your current drive, and you buy a raid card (about $20 on ebay).

    You connect your 2 HDDs to this card. When you set it up, it will give you the chance to copy your original HDD to the new HDD. This takes about 20 hours or so (for a 120G drive)

    After that, when your PC writes something to your HDD, it actually writes it to both HDDs. So when you download your pics off your digital camera, it will put it in c:\digital pictures on both HDDs.

    Then if your primary drive ever fails, you will still be able to boot of the backup. Then you can replace the bad drive, and copy everything over again, and keep going.

    Of course, sometimes those HDD crashes are a nice way of cleaning your system [​IMG]
     
  2. exscentric

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    Nice. I have had software that backs up after you start using it, but didn't do the original copy of the hard drive, that would be great.

    Don't count on it however too hard. I had a drive go bad awhile back and had a second for data etc that I backed up to. I put it in as first drive and was copying it to a third new drive and half way through that the data drive went belly up. I got the important stuff and had cd's burned so wasn't a loss but two drives failing within and hour - what are the odds on that one :)
     
  3. NateT

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    That's the key. The client is an accountant, and so he wants the ability to not have to restore a backup on April 15th at 11:30pm. He can just reboot, the raid card will boot off of the working harddrive and he can finish his work.

    He will still have to do weekly (or however often) backups, but if his HDD crashes, he won't have to wait for a backup to replace his data. Additionally, he won't lose any data that had been entered since the last backup.

    I have heard of one other case where a guy went out to repair a HDD raid on his client's computer only to find that both HDDs crashed.

    In my 20 years of working on PCs, I've only had 2 or 3 HDDs actually go out (and one was struck by lightening) so I don't know how often they actually fail.
     
  4. exscentric

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    Sounds like a real system for large companies. I worked at JCPenney awhile and when a drive went on the server they had to mail one out with the proper system setup on it. This system would have saved a lot of manual input of info that was missed.
     
  5. NateT

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    Yeah, but with a total cost of about 120.00 it's affordable if someone wanted to set it up on their home system.

    My dad and I couldn't figure out why Dell doesn't include this as some kind of "data protection enhancement" and charge $150.00 for it. A lot of people would buy it just for that.
     
  6. sovgrace79

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    I've configured a system for RAID-1 before.

    I also got to buy a system for a company I worked for that had RAID-5, with 3 hot-swap SCSI disks. Not only was there redundancy, but if a drive failed, you could pull it out with the system running, replace it, and the controller would automatically copy the data to the new disk. It was a really nice system.

    RAID-5 needs at least 3 disks, and it combines the features of RAID-0 (striping mode) and RAID-1 (mirroring).

    Definitely a feature for business and mission critical systems.
     
  7. James_Newman

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    One should note that RAID will not help in case of fire/natural disaster. You still need to maintain an offsite backup.
     
  8. Trotter

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    Many motherboards available today have built in RAID controllers.

    The catch is that you have to have two hardd rives and set them up when you build or install everything. You have to reinstall evything otherwise (well, for RAID0 you do, but I figure that RAID1 is the same).

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  9. NateT

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    Actually for raid-1 you don't have to reinstall everything, you can usually do a disk copy through the raid controll. It takes some time, but at least you don't have to sit there and insert a bunch of CDs.
     
  10. kubel

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    I don't think this is a good solution for average home users. All it protects against is loss of data through hard drive failure. And since it mirrors in real time, it's doesnt help against viruses, accidental deletes, accidental edits, corruption, restoring partial backup after formatting, etc...

    It's good for real-time redundancy (to protect against hard drive failure), but not a good fix-all backup solution for average users.
     
  11. Johnv

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    Jesus saves. So should we.
     
  12. kubel

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  13. superdave

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    That is exactly what I was thinking. I work with Large Scale Unix datacenter servers for a large manufacturing company here in Detroit, and there are several ways to mitigate risk, none of which transfer well into the home PC market.

    Mirroring will protect against the physical failure of one drive. Raid level 5 might protect against one or two drive failures, but the only reason to mirror is to provide availablity. If you have the ability to just reboot to another drive, you might want to sync the drives, than break the mirror and leave one drive offline and sync it up periodically to maintain the data, but keep it preserved offline in case of a CKI failure (Chair-Keyboard Interface) If a drive failure occurs, you can boot up the other drive, which may not be totally up to date, but better than two corrupt mirrored drives.
     

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