Subject: Re: Disks (was IEEE1394 (firewire) vs USB2)
To: Greywolf <>
From: John Franklin <>
List: current-users
Date: 08/04/2002 00:01:31
On Sat, Aug 03, 2002 at 07:01:44PM -0700, Greywolf wrote:
> I agree about the New Fast Huge drives.  They make me very nervous.  Having
> that much space to back up is unsettling, especially considering that there
> are no consumer-end backup systems which can handle that kind of capacity
> unattended.  If there are such systems in which the media are reliable and
> cheap and the drives are not astronomically priced, I'd appreciate a pointer.
> I mean, 8mm is all well and good, but it's also very very slow, and the
> tapes wear somewhat quickly.
> DDS4 is still around $1,400 for a *drive*, last I looked.
> [tapes and cd-burners are the only places where it truly matters to me
> that they are SCSI.]

bang for the buck, consumer level stuff?  You're two best avenues of
backup are DVD-R or RAID.  DVD-R holds about 6.7 CDs worth of data, so
if you can pick up the media for $1-$1.25 per disk, you've got something
competitive with CDs.  Of course, you'll need 13 of them to back up your
60G drive.  Not exactly unattended.  $350-$500 for a drive, $20 for
media per backup.  Spending a day making and burning ISOs?  Priceless.

IMHO, the best thing for a consumer to do to back up a 60G drive is to
buy another 60G drive and either RAID it or ghost it.  If you want drive
reliability, RAID is the way.  Cheap IDE RAID cards start at $15.
RAIDFrame is free.  For off-line/off-site backups, a FW case ($99 at
Circuit City, gotta be cheaper online) a big drive and dd once a month.

'Course you could set up coda on your system and your best friend's
system and "back up" to each other over the internet.  Of course, before
you do that, read this:

There's the laser printer / scanner / barcode software solution.
I've seen a "barcode" system that was based on two pixel lines leaning
left or right for 0 and 1.  A good 1200 DPI printer could get nice
data density.  Just don't let the cat or your coffee mug near it.

And there are always commercial high-end solutions.  Tape robots.  12"
optical platter drives.  Robotic 12" optical platter systems.  Honeywell
a decade plus ago had a VLDS unit (Very Large Data Store) that was a
WORM tape backup using VHS tapes.  Honeywell was happy to sell very
high-quality VHS tapes for $50 each.  I don't remember how much it
stored, but the ads for it mentioned $/TB cost efficiencies.  IIRC it
was a 3U or 4U rack mounted monster.

Ask yourself how critical is your data?  When you boil it down, you're
going to spend some combination of time and money in putting together a
backup solution.  You'll take a look at the solutions and find a balance
between the time and money based on time = f(money).

Here's the catch.  Everything's expensive, and when it isn't it costs so
much more.  Trentism.

John Franklin
ICBM: 3543'56"N 7853'27"W