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2009-10-21

How should I solve 'backup' issue?

My Western Digital MyBook Pro died a couple of months ago and when I took it apart (it was really painful) I realized that I did not have a TB drive in it. Instead, it was 2 x 500GB Western Digital HDs. Apparently, they were using JBOD technology to offer 1TB space.

So either I had to find a similar card or forget  about recovering backup data on the HDs and think about getting a new external backup system. I have an 4 year old HP XW6000 sitting idle with 2x750Gig drives in it. So, I thought I could try freeNAS. I installed it on a 64KB usb stick. It was able to detect my drives but sharing them proved to be quite challenging for whatever reason.

I started looking at other alternatives and one of my friends suggested I take a look at Drobo. So I did. It's simply impressive although there are  several horror stories about it. It's using a proprietary technology to mix and match different size hard drives and that was the biggest reason I was sold. I have several healthy HDs that I did not want throw away.

So, I ordered it ($350) from Amazon the other day with two 1.5 GB HDs (2 x $120). 1 from Seagate and 1 from Western Digital. A common mistake is that people just go and buy 2 (or 4 ) of the same make/model hard drive and they usually fail at times close to each other (yeah happened to me in an earlier life).

With 200MB/min HD video clips of my two year old and thousands of pics a month, soon the drives at my Fragbox2 will not be enough and I know I will have to move some stuff to Drobo. That defeats the purpose though. Using Drobo as storage would mean, I need to back up drobo somewhere else as one should NEVER have data in a single drive (or location or...)...

While doing the research though, I fell in love with real-deal NAS solutions. Especially QNAP & Synology have terrific feature-sets for such solutions. My friend gave me a great idea: Use one of these NAS solutions as your primary/secondary data storage area on network, then connect drobo to it and use the 1-button backup on these NAS solutions to back them up! I loved the idea.

Right now I am eyeing QNAP TS-410 Turbo (~$450). TS-439 Pro with its 1GB DDRII RAM and 1.6GHz Intel processor looks sexy but is double the price. 4x1.5TB HDs will cost around another $500. Such solutions are not cheap.

Cloud is another way to go for backup. Prices came down and $50 to $60 a year does not seem a bad price to pay for back-up. It has the advantage of reaching your data from anywhere as well.

By the way, while I was doing research, I re-discovered a neat feature of Google: www.google.com/Products. It's very useful to find all kinds of information, including price, about a product.

Also when using Google to search for recent reviews, you can simply put the product name and add +October +2009 then expand "Show Options" and choose reviews from left hand side menu.


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