HDD as a back up media

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wildpig1234

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Aug 22, 2016
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Dont know if this has been a topic before.

I've been backing up data to BD-R but i am wondering if i have a brand new hard drive and then write the data once to it and fill it up to capacity and then remove that hard drive and store it away and only access it once a while via a SATA dock.

How long lasting and reliable would the data be?

HDD price/GB is coming down enough to the point that it's more cost effective timewise not having to spend my time making bd-r discs back up (which actually takes a lot of time to do). But i would like an idea on reliability and feasibiliy of this idea. thanks
 

ttabbal

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Mar 10, 2016
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I would avoid it due to the moving parts and sitting for long periods. If you use some storage scheme that validates the data and can recover errors like a ZFS mirror, as one example, it could work. Fire them up, backup and scrub the old data, shut down.

Perhaps RAR/PAR2 groups would allow a single drive? I believe there are a few parity repair schemes out there that might work.

I use my old server as a backup target with some older, but still functional, drives in mirrors. I really need to spend some time automating it though.
 

William

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May 7, 2015
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For long term stuff I use HDD's and a EZ-Dock. Its simple, just plug your HDD or SSD into the EZ-Dock, turn it on, its mounts right up.
It uses USB 3.0 interface, so not super fast but faster than writing BD-R's.
 

wildpig1234

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Aug 22, 2016
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I guess magnetic bits do degrade over time compared to optical media. but optical media can also degrade over time. I mean I only need the data to be good for like 10-20 yrs...

I tested out a few cd-r I burned back in 1995 the other days. they all worked fine.. that's over 22 yrs on whatever the cheapest media I could get my hands on at that time...lol.... Whenever I burned any disc I always read verify it afterward on a separate computer to eliminate any sort of write related errors...

It's so tempting since it would take much much less space also than a pile of BD-R as well as saving a lot of time.... And the cost when included the time saving of not having to compile numerous BD-Rs actually make this an overall more cost effective method......

Still, the question remains... how long does magnetic bits and HDD last if they are only write once to full capacity with limited occasional read access?
 
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William

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May 7, 2015
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Yeah I had a stack of older DVD-R's written with a drive that gave me issues when I went back to convert all old DVD stuff to my NAS, it was something with the DVD writer used back in the old days.

I mean I have plenty of smaller capacity HDD's that I would never use in a build anymore so that's what I use. Simple and fast and no need to worry about scratching DVD's etc. But yeah they work also.
 

wildpig1234

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Aug 22, 2016
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Yeah I had a stack of older DVD-R's written with a drive that gave me issues when I went back to convert all old DVD stuff to my NAS, it was something with the DVD writer used back in the old days.

I mean I have plenty of smaller capacity HDD's that I would never use in a build anymore so that's what I use. Simple and fast and no need to worry about scratching DVD's etc. But yeah they work also.
How old is your oldest back up HDD?

Like I said, I don't plan on multiple write and delete cycle. It's basically a write once and access a few times usage..... My current need is about 25TB /yr....
 

T_Minus

Build. Break. Fix. Repeat
Feb 15, 2015
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Dont know if this has been a topic before.

I've been backing up data to BD-R but i am wondering if i have a brand new hard drive and then write the data once to it and fill it up to capacity and then remove that hard drive and store it away and only access it once a while via a SATA dock.

How long lasting and reliable would the data be?

HDD price/GB is coming down enough to the point that it's more cost effective timewise not having to spend my time making bd-r discs back up (which actually takes a lot of time to do). But i would like an idea on reliability and feasibiliy of this idea. thanks
I have some external WD USB drives going on 10+ years that still work perfect. I purchased 3-4x at once and replicate onto them and store offsite, in safe, safety deposit, etc... I've had 0 die.

I also have "Gold" CD-R discs from the 90s still going strong with my Mp3s... some of them def. are corrupted but I'd say >95% are fine. I switched to the M DISC Blu-Ray for long-term storage! They are made for archive storage.

I have 0 problem storing on WD 2.5" or 3.5" external for long-term, never a problem. Ever.
 

William

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May 7, 2015
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Yeah I don't remember how old they are... a bunch of WD 750GB disks and 1TB WD Greens I got long ago. They still seem to work just fine. All of it is backed up on my NAS anyway, its just archived stuff that really is not super important TBH.
 

Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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Would think you want to power them up once every few months to read the data to allow the drive to fix any flakey bits. I have heaps of drives sitting for a year or 2 not issues but never would bank on it long long term.
All media has a lifetime, idea is over time you move the data from old media to new media to keep it fresh.
 

fractal

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Jun 7, 2016
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I personally like USB HD as backup. I can put everything I really, really need in a couple hundred meg but if I don't want to think too hard, a pair of USB drives in A/B rotation take care of everything in my homes. I started doing this when 250's where the thing. then 500's. then 1tb's, then 2tb's. I am still using 2tb external USBs for my backup but will start buying whatever is cheap when they reach 3 yrs. Not because I think they will wear out, but because they are so chap.
Media, on the other hand, gets mirrored to a second nas. Who has time to swap out 20TB of usb drives.
 

Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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Sorry not intending to say don’t use usb drives, just suggesting maybe leaving them years not used is not a great idea, I have half a dozen I do what @fractal does, just rotate them. Take off site.

I do an md5deep on the data first so I know if I want to check if it’s actually good to restore if I was to do a mass restore of files.

For my notebook backup though I use ssd’s in external usb cases. Speed is nice.
 

K D

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Dec 24, 2016
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I use a set of USB drives to backup absolutely critical data that I keep in offsite locations. One of them is a 1TB ssd in an enclosure that is always with me. I Have had some of the hdd ones give errors over the years. I just replace them.

I also have a set of Blu ray disks that's growing. I generally just get the cheapest ones available in Frys or Microcenter. @T_Minus what are M bluray disks you use?

This thread and another one got me thinking about how inefficient my storage is and once I'm back home next week, I plan to do some restructuring.
 

Chris Web

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Sep 12, 2017
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Don't use ssd as a backup, they lose data when powered off quickly. There were some articles a few years ago. Hdd drives should last 10 years or more as an archive

Sent from my HTC 10 using Tapatalk
 

Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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Don't use ssd as a backup, they lose data when powered off quickly. There were some articles a few years ago. Hdd drives should last 10 years or more as an archive

Sent from my HTC 10 using Tapatalk
I know what your saying but this is often connected and used SSD (my daily/weekly backup) used for possible immediate recovery. I am aware SSD will eventually loose its data without power. (Note that that’s more and issue for very worn SSD and although enterprise SSD is speed with only a small number of days for safe data , consumer SSD is a long period, but as mentioned this gets powered every week)
 

K D

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Dec 24, 2016
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I know what your saying but this is often connected and used SSD (my daily/weekly backup) used for possible immediate recovery. I am aware SSD will eventually loose its data without power. (Note that that’s more and issue for very worn SSD and although enterprise SSD is speed with only a small number of days for safe data , consumer SSD is a long period, but as mentioned this gets powered every week)
Same here. A few times a week.
 

wildpig1234

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Aug 22, 2016
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4TB HDD seems like the sweet spot? $100 or $25/TB

BD-R $20/50 disc or $16/TB

How long does it take me to compile 50 disc layout with nero: 3-4 min/disc or 150-200 min or 120-160 min/TB..... so $10 saving for doing 120-160 min amount of work /TB back up. There's really no question left about the economics of time as you can see.... HDD as back up wins.....

Really the only question left is the reliability......
 

Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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2 copies or more, checksum (eg md5 hash rack file or whole backup) the files, best idea is I think plug in once a year and check them.
 

T_Minus

Build. Break. Fix. Repeat
Feb 15, 2015
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Oh, don't get me wrong... I don't think you should backup to a USB/external HDD then assume it's going to be fine in 5 years.
I simply have no use for these capacity drives so they hold my old data offline in redundancy at $0 cost to me. I check them every few years or so and so far so good. As I noted the CDR def. degrade but I've got that data on HDD too, and don't expect to need the CDR version again. I'd like to also note that these CDR discs have lived longer than the data retention time period expected.

@K D I don't recall the brand, but I use an external USB burner and very rarely power it up. I have the stack of discs here but they only say M DISC M-DISC BD Recordable 25GB and you can visit: M-DISC.com (I got them from Amazon I'm sure.) I believe Verbatim and others make them nowdays, I think the original company is gone/got purchased?? Either way you can still get the drives and discs.
 
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msg7086

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May 2, 2017
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they lose data when powered off quickly.
Just want to add that, quickly is usually measured in years for an almost new SSD.

Unless the SSD is worn out, AND you operate on a low temperature, AND you store SSD on a high temperature, would the data retention period be a problem (reduced to less than a year).
 

msg7086

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May 2, 2017
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If you need a reliable backup storage, I recommend using SnapRAID for a batch of drives. Get yourself 4-6 spare SATA/USB port, plug a batch of drives on it, back stuff up and create the parity. Now, any single drive's dead and you won't lose anything. More drives are dead and you only lose part of your backup. Since this is just backup, I'd assume it's acceptable.

Periodically scrubbing your backup can keep it more reliable.