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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > Don't use DVD for backup anymore?

Don't use DVD for backup anymore?
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kevs
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May 18, 2016, 02:03 PM
 
A Mac book I'm reading recommends bailing on DVDs and just using hardrives for backup. The logic is that maybe down the road, macs wont be able to even hook up to optical drives.

I have a lot of redundant backups now with hardrives onsite and offsite, and even in the cloud as well, but still I think of DVDs and kind of a real tangible layer of backup, like a photographer having real film in addition to digital copies. Any opinions on this?

Would be nice to blow off burning those DVDs!
     
turtle777
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May 18, 2016, 03:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by kevs View Post
The logic is that maybe down the road, macs wont be able to even hook up to optical drives.
That logic seems flawed.

Would future Macs have no ports like USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt ?
Only if you answer "yes" to that question, external DVD drives might be in jeopardy.

-t
     
Chongo
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May 18, 2016, 03:24 PM
 
I bought a Pioneer BluRay/DVD burner (USB 3.0) for the same price as an Apple SuperDrive for my late 2013 iMac. I'm going to burn a copy of my photo and video files on BluRay.
45/47
     
kevs  (op)
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May 18, 2016, 03:32 PM
 
Turtle, Chongo thanks. well there will be no port for USB probably one day, but probably there will be adapters.. so I agree with you basically on that.

Then the question is.... is it over redundant to burn DVDS if you ware backing up to hardrive and in cloud?
     
Chongo
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May 18, 2016, 04:19 PM
 
Whoa, I just took a look at my system report. I have 14GB of Photos and >600GB of video! Good thing thing its a BDXL burner! I'm going to need several discs. It may be less expensive to buy a 3TB usb 3.0 external drive than buy enough discs.
45/47
     
reader50
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May 18, 2016, 04:21 PM
 
Optical drives have been passed by on data density. HDs and SSDs have far larger capacity, while being smaller and faster. HDs in larger sizes are cheaper than optical media, and that's before counting your time shuffling discs to burn.

Optical still has two advantages that I can think of. Data in dead storage will last longer on optical. HDs suffer from magnetic fade, which may make data unreadable after ~5 years. SSDs may lose data after a year unpowered. Factory-pressed optical discs are estimated to be good for 100 years. Not sure about burned optical though.

Oh, and optical is unaffected by EMPs (ElectroMagnetic Pulse). If you expect a nearby nuke strike, optical is the way to go.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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May 18, 2016, 04:27 PM
 
I was going to write essentially what reader50 said, but with the addendum that burned disks aren't forever. Archival backup is a problem, digitally, still, unless the disc is factory-pressed.

Magnetic fade can be reduced with periodic plug-in and data access. As far as SSDs go, we've got the near-dead ones we did the TRIM testing with, and they've been baking since August of last year. So far, no loss. That's not a large population, and its not been a year yet, but we'll see how it goes.

References:

https://www.macnn.com/articles/15/08...d.line.130182/

https://www.macnn.com/articles/15/07....moved.129674/
     
kevs  (op)
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May 18, 2016, 04:28 PM
 
Thanks Reader and Mike.. good points... probably overkill, but even burned media optical should last about same right 100 years. or 60? Thats a lot better than 1-5!

So it's like Film vs digital. It's not a bad thing to have even though is a PITA to do... it more archival for your photos and documents?
     
Mike Wuerthele
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May 18, 2016, 04:33 PM
 
Optical burned media is probably measurable in years on hands and feet, not 100. It's only been around for about 17 years commercially, and there's not really great data yet. It is just dye changing color, in essence, so anything that might impact, say, art, would also impact burned media. Cool, dark place, handled with care, and you'll get the best results.

If you're not modernizing your backed up data, meaning file formats, new media, et cetera, as you go, you've got a problem. I've got archived software from 1998 still intact, but have lost things from the mid-aughts, because I wasn't as rigid about backups as I once was.
     
kevs  (op)
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May 18, 2016, 04:58 PM
 
MIke, I'm a photographer shooting digitally now. I'm have everything on hardrives and now just started also with Crashplan -- first cloud based backup started yesterday. Would you also burn DVD as well..?
     
Thorzdad
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May 18, 2016, 07:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by kevs View Post
A Mac book I'm reading recommends bailing on DVDs and just using hardrives for backup. The logic is that maybe down the road, macs wont be able to even hook up to optical drives.
That would have to be a looooooong time down the road, I think. FWIW, I have an old USB floppy drive that my iMac happily mounts and OS X reads just fine. I have a USB Zip drive that works just fine, too.

I think the biggest issue about future compatibility will be the complete absence of ports (at least on laptops) that Apple seems to be heading toward.
     
turtle777
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May 18, 2016, 08:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
If you expect a nearby nuke strike, optical is the way to go.
A backup of my data would be the least of my worries when hit by nukes or EMPs.

-t
     
kevs  (op)
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May 18, 2016, 10:32 PM
 
No opinons then on the core question, to keep on backing up to DVD?
     
subego
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May 18, 2016, 11:13 PM
 
I'd say it's overkill, and I'm someone who gets in deep shit if things gets lost.

The rule of thumb is "3-2-1".

Three copies of each file.
Two on different formats (cloud counts as a different format)
One is offsite.


For me, this is the original, a local HD backup, and a cloud copy with CrashPlan. If I want an extra layer, I toss it in Dropbox.
     
reader50
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May 18, 2016, 11:16 PM
 
Don't bother with DVD today - 8.5 GB max is nothing. Blu-ray 50 GB is the most cost effective optical, 100 GB media remains high. I wouldn't bother with either. Too slow, too many discs to manage, too much of my time swapping.

Get external HDs. Copy each volume to another drive every 3 years, and keep them in a fire safe in the meantime. Combined with Time Machine for local backups, a cloud provider for off-site, and you're good.
     
Chongo
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May 18, 2016, 11:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'd say it's overkill, and I'm someone who gets in deep shit if things gets lost.

The rule of thumb is "3-2-1".

Three copies of each file.
Two on different formats (cloud counts as a different format)
One is offsite.


For me, this is the original, a local HD backup, and a cloud copy with CrashPlan. If I want an extra layer, I toss it in Dropbox.
How does CrashPlan compare to Carbonite? They are both $5 a month for one computer. I'm going to pick up a 3/4TB external HDD for time machine backup and video files. I can use a BD for the pictures I have (≈i4GB) I have a late 2013 27" with a 3TB fusion drive.
45/47
     
kevs  (op)
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May 18, 2016, 11:48 PM
 
Thanks, guy, that is what I'm leaning towards - not bothering with DVDs anymore. I was just doing some editing and found the scenario where one could want DVDs. I burn them basically just 1-3 photoshoots at a time. So today I'm copying Raw files to a collection folder holding down the option key. But sometimes one can make a mistake and accidentally move a file. Even then, it's just the original file would not be in it' original home, and hopefully I would figure that out later and copy it back. Also, I actually had a short list and eyeballed that all the originals still had their base copy in their home folder. I have in the past used the DVD backups to save me, but I did not have Time Machine for so much data as I do now with new huge hardrive I just got. And also I'm starting Crashplan.

But if you did screw up, royally, and did not figure it out for a long time, the DVDs could ave you. The Clones wont help as they will get overwritten eventually. Even versioned backups, Crashplan and Time Machine will get overwritten.

That said, do I want to be encumbered with DVD burning for years on end for a once in a blue moon hiccup? I'm leaning against, it, but... it's kind of nice to know you have physical property of your images..? Kind of scary in a way someone who came from film shooting, then burning digital images on disc, then not to even have that for photography....

BTW Crashplan, which I'm just testing now, does not backup up your startup disc. They ask not to be backing up system files and working applications as they change too much. Kind of disappointing. Would be nice to know your bootable drive is up there in the cloud too. Is that the deal with the rest of the cloud based backup places-- they don't want your boot up disc up there?
     
subego
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May 19, 2016, 12:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
How does CrashPlan compare to Carbonite? They are both $5 a month for one computer. I'm going to pick up a 3/4TB external HDD for time machine backup and video files. I can use a BD for the pictures I have (≈i4GB) I have a late 2013 27" with a 3TB fusion drive.
At the time I did it, the switch from Carbonite to CrashPlan was a no brainer.

CrashPlan allowed you to back up network volumes. Carbonite didn't.

That was a long time ago, so Carbonite may have since cleaned up their act, and CrashPlan may have gotten more stingy. I actually use CrashPlan Pro now, so I can't really speak with authority on the feature set of the regular version.

Ultimately? I've been thrilled with the service. The only blemish is it's in Java.
     
subego
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May 19, 2016, 12:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by kevs View Post
BTW Crashplan, which I'm just testing now, does not backup up your startup disc. They ask not to be backing up system files and working applications as they change too much. Kind of disappointing. Would be nice to know your bootable drive is up there in the cloud too. Is that the deal with the rest of the cloud based backup places-- they don't want your boot up disc up there?
Pro lets you do it, but I highly doubt you'd be able to get a bootable disk out of it without some gargantuan effort.

The files would be there, but the back and forth would jack up all the permissions.

As an aside, one thing CrashPlan does not like is a Boot Camp partition. At least, I never got it to work on one from the Mac side. I assume it would work if you ran it inside the other OS.
     
reader50
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May 19, 2016, 12:54 AM
 
I continue to hear good things about Backblaze. $5 a month, including backups of attached external drives. They use a native app too, no java.
     
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May 19, 2016, 09:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Optical burned media is probably measurable in years on hands and feet, not 100. It's only been around for about 17 years commercially, and there's not really great data yet. It is just dye changing color, in essence, so anything that might impact, say, art, would also impact burned media. Cool, dark place, handled with care, and you'll get the best results.
This. Burned optical discs will NOT last 100 years. Tried to google some studies, but there was nothing good. Best case for good quality discs was 25-30 years if stored dark and cool. Other sites say 2-5 years if you buy the cheapest and don't take any special care.

I suspect that the truth depends on what you count and how. I have seen discs that "fail" after less than 5 years, but that was a sector or two failing. If I burn all my photos to one, that might mean losing one or two, but keeping the main collection - far from a total HDD crash.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
ibook_steve
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May 19, 2016, 01:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I continue to hear good things about Backblaze. $5 a month, including backups of attached external drives. They use a native app too, no java.
I just ended my Carbonite subscription and switched to Backblaze. I really needed to backup external disks which, as mentioned, Carbonite for some reason does not support on Mac (and requires a more expensive subscription on Windows). It's working really well.

Steve
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subego
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May 19, 2016, 02:18 PM
 
Assuming they haven't changed it, CrashPlan does both attached and network disks.

That was the killer feature for me... backing up my NAS along with everything else. I'm almost at 20TB. I'm sure they hate me for it.
     
kevs  (op)
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May 19, 2016, 05:11 PM
 
And it's the norm for all to not backup up your bootable Mac HD?
     
subego
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May 20, 2016, 12:15 AM
 
Here's how I do it.

I know Apple lets you upgrade the OS in place, but I prefer to do a "nuke and pave".

Once I've got the basics of the new OS down, I'll clone it to a thumb drive (I use Carbon Copy Cloner). This will act as my emergency boot disk, and if for whatever reason I need to reinstall the same OS.

I let CrashPlan backup the entire drive mainly in case something important gets stashed in the system library. I have at least one program which does.

Obviously, even if I wasn't doing the whole boot drive with CrashPlan, I'd still do the users folder.
     
kevs  (op)
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May 20, 2016, 01:03 AM
 
Did not understand that at all Subego. Crashplan says don't upload system files, to the question was just is the norm with all the cloud backup places?
     
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May 20, 2016, 04:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by kevs View Post
And it's the norm for all to not backup up your bootable Mac HD?
I have a regular Time Machine backup for the main drive. It is still the most convenient way to get back a file from something that is less than a total disaster.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
andi*pandi
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May 20, 2016, 08:52 AM
 
relevant to this thread:

     
subego
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May 20, 2016, 07:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by kevs View Post
Did not understand that at all Subego. Crashplan says don't upload system files, to the question was just is the norm with all the cloud backup places?
CrashPlan Pro lets you upload system files, but I don't think it's possible to get an actual working OS back out of it.

When I do a major OS upgrade, I do what's called "nuke and pave". I backup my system disk, erase it (nuke) and install a fresh OS (pave).

Once I've done that, I clone the disk to a thumb drive. You can't just Finder copy it. You need to use a program which makes an exact duplicate... down to all the metadata. I use Carbon Copy Cloner.

This thumb drive then acts as my OS backup, and an emergency boot drive.
( Last edited by subego; May 21, 2016 at 02:48 PM. )
     
kevs  (op)
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May 21, 2016, 04:51 PM
 
Yes Subego, good stategy, I was just confirming that these clould based systems are for data, none does a bootable drive..
     
ghporter
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May 22, 2016, 10:13 AM
 
I am planning to get an external BluRay burner in the next year or two, and backing up a ton of stuff to BluRay. I will be transitioning several generations of old data - some of it actually still on 3 1/2" floppies and ZIP discs. (Yes, I still have a working ZIP drive that I can use to pul that data.). I'm actually going to do this this time, unlike the "I just got a neato DVD burner and I'm going to burn everything to DVDs for offline backup" situation (which came after saying the same thing about CDs). Why? I have old stuff that is worth keeping.

On to the thrust of the thread: DVD or BluRay is viable for long term storage IF you "refresh" your offline backups by copying the optical discs periodically. Using quality writable CDs, I have 15-20 year old discs that still work just fine, and DVDs that are probably 12 or so years old that are also doing well. These platters are not exposed to environmental extremes, of course. Once I start the transition to BluRay, the discs with "really important stuff" like archival photos, genealogical data, copies of very important papers (let's just start with "DD Form 214" as an example) and such will be stored in a fire safe. And refreshed every now and then.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
kevs  (op)
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May 22, 2016, 11:37 AM
 
Thanks G. I would never bother update my old DVDs, way too much hassle.

They are 4.7 GB each, I fill them up sporadically with new photos/ data. But question is: continue that at all with DVD or Blue Ray?

Will hardrives cheap and huge, as well as the cloud storage systems, also cheap and huge, why are you are bothering with all that? You can just upgrade hardrives every few years.
     
subego
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May 22, 2016, 12:37 PM
 
Assuming I already had a disk to do Time Machine backups to, and CrashPlan... rather than do the DVD thing, I'd try and scrape up the $10-15 a month for a higher tier Dropbox account instead, and put the vitals in there. Four copies is plenty.

Manual backups are a recipe for disaster.
     
ghporter
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May 22, 2016, 05:13 PM
 
I only expect to manually back up (as an extra, not primary) those items that really, really mean a lot to me. Like I said, extra-important photos and documents are about it. Unfortunately (at the moment) those items are distributed across a number of other forms of media.

The stuff I have (still) on floppy is minimal, and it goes on optical media so I can get rid of the floppies. Ditto for ZIP discs. As I work through the stuff, I'm categorizing what I find on each item: keep, keep forever, WTF, and so on. Good thing unneeded bits are recyclable and biodegradable!

Anyway, I haven't yet decided where my second and third "live" backups will live. I've played around with rotating external hard drives and the like, but that strategy requires a lot of mechanical actions. Probably the most effective strategy is an online, encrypted backup solution. I'm currently working on finding one that is affordable for my needs and accessible when I need it.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego
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May 23, 2016, 01:28 PM
 
If you really care about security, your only choice is to encrypt it yourself before it goes out the door.

Assuming it can be afforded ($20-$25/month) I posit double cloud storage has a lower failure rate than a fire safe.
     
kevs  (op)
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May 23, 2016, 03:46 PM
 
G, I have main the hardrive, backup on site, and backup off site. I'm testing crashplan, and TM. So I have 4 new hardrives ($700), just upgraded to USB 3 for all — they will last 5 years. And probably now crashplan. So I'm thinking of finally bailing on the DVD burns....

(it's just kind of scary as I"ve always had something I can hold in my hand ... whether film or CD/ DVDs)
     
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May 24, 2016, 07:27 PM
 
There are burnable Blu-Ray discs rated for 1000 years now.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
turtle777
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May 24, 2016, 09:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
There are burnable Blu-Ray discs rated for 1000 years now.
Right. And what if you find that they are toast after 600 years. What are you going to do then ? You probably can't even find that damn purchase receipt to make a return.

-t
     
kevs  (op)
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May 24, 2016, 10:37 PM
 
That made me laugh Turtle! I agree. If it says 1000, and my great grandkids find out these are gone at 600, it's a rip off.

But you both agree, with the price of hardrives as they are and even emergency offline storage.. no need to have burned disc?
     
Waragainstsleep
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May 25, 2016, 08:58 PM
 
Nope. Hard drives degrade and seize up. They might outlast a standard DVD on a shelf, but I wouldn't bank on it. If you want to trust hard drives you put your data on a RAID array in a place where someone will immediately swap out failed disks as they go. Like a data centre.
A hard drive will be even more picky about its storage environment than a DVD. Though what often kills DVDs is the ink eating through the top layer. HDD and even SSD will want vacuum packing and climate control and you'll still want redundancy. I would happily bet on the 1000 year discs to outlast a conventional HDD on a shelf.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
kevs  (op)
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May 25, 2016, 09:54 PM
 
W:
I have one HD brand new main data
back up brand new.
Time Machine brand new.
Off site, rotates in every few months brand new.
And starting CrashPlan.

And I know hardrives fail, so I replace them every 5 years even if they are working great.

And if one failed, I would replace it asap.

I'm just learning about raid, maybe I'll do that next round.

If you were me, you would still burn DVDs?
     
Waragainstsleep
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May 26, 2016, 06:56 AM
 
With that many redundant copies, if you are replacing duff drives quickly and keeping an eye on Crashplan to check its doing its job at least now and then, I would not see a need for DVD or Blu-Ray backups.
My inclination is to use them them for archiving to save space on network RAID systems that are filling up.

Don't be caught out thinking that brand new disks are automatically more reliable than old ones though. They fail out of the box, some last forever and the rest fail at any point in between.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
kevs  (op)
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May 26, 2016, 06:43 PM
 
Thanks W. Then are in the camp of not replacing drives until they die?.... keep using them even at 6-10 years?
     
subego
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May 26, 2016, 08:20 PM
 
(Answering for him)

As long as you have a good RAID setup.

If a hard drive dies in a good RAID...

Your data is still safe, though it's a lot less safe than it just was. A lot. I call it scary RAID. It's a bad thing.
The RAID will alert you something is wrong. Ideally, it will beep like crazy, and send you an email.
As soon as possible, which realistically means already having a ready-to-go spare in your closet, you can power the RAID down, yank the bad drive, pop in the spare, fire it back up, and in a few hours it will no longer be in the scary state.

With this setup, you may as well just run them until they die. Failure rates for hard drives are spread out enough, it's unlikely you'll have a situation where a bunch drop in close proximity.


All that said, because two drives can go in close proximity, or even right at the same minute, you must backup what's on that RAID. It's not safe enough on its own. In fact, if your backup system is really rock solid, that the RAID is a safer way to keep data isn't really that useful. Your rock solid backup system is keeping you safe. You could just let the hard drives die like they do in a RAID, and restore them from the backup.

What a RAID is going to be useful for is taking all those disks and making them look like a single, big volume, and/or for when something does die, you lose direct access to your data for the shortest amount of time possible. Your data is only offline for the five minutes it takes you to swap a drive. Expensive RAIDs actually let you "hot-swap", which means you can do the switch while the thing is still running and you're getting data from it.

Of course, an extra bump in safety never hurts.
     
kevs  (op)
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May 26, 2016, 08:43 PM
 
I don't use RAid.
     
reader50
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May 26, 2016, 08:52 PM
 
I wouldn't bother with optical backups any more. But it doesn't hurt, if you want to feel extra-safe. Do what makes you comfortable.

You could compromise. Not all data is equally important. You could still burn extra backups of your most critical projects.
     
subego
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May 26, 2016, 11:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by kevs View Post
I don't use RAid.
And I sorta misread his response , so it wasn't helpful on that count either.
     
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Jun 13, 2016, 04:27 AM
 
Haven't used a DVD for backup for maybe 3 years...
     
SierraDragon
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Truckee, CA
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Jun 28, 2016, 12:54 AM
 
I think of DVDs and kind of a real tangible layer of backup, like a photographer having real film in addition to digital copies. Any opinions on this?
Archival Backup:
All backup methodologies are subject to failure over time. Hard-copy backups like DVD or BD make zero sense, because they just take far, far too much time and effort to routinely make on an ongoing basis. Plus fire and theft are big issues, so multiple copies off site are essential; and making multiple hard copies is a very slow PITA. Things that are a slow PITA usually get neglected.

Large multi-TB hard drive storage is dirt cheap today, and copying hard drives can be done fast and in the background, easy-peasy. Simply build a firm protocol to follow that on an ongoing basis at a minimum creates two onsite and one or more offsite HDD copies every 3 years or so.

Even when one disperses files to a client for immediate delivery or safekeeping a portable HDD or a flash drive makes far more sense than dinosaur optical drive technology.

Short-Term Backup:
Protection against loss of immediate data (e.g. catastrophic drive failure) is a separate but included issue.

Things like images need manual attention on a fairly immediate (but not real-time!) basis. XQD/CF/SD cards for instance need backup ideally even before they get read, but not real-time because real-time backup instantly copies errors that might otherwise be caught during a manual backup protocol. RAID1 is very not good; instead use no RAID or use RAID0 manually initiated.

Once backed up, images get dumped into the Archival Backup routine ASAP, with timing simply dependent upon how important the images are. For many pros that means the same day the images are captured.

Some data (financial transactions for instance) do need real-time backup because any errors are simply part of the record. Here RAID1 and its variants excel.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 28, 2016 at 01:38 AM. )
     
   
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