Data Backup Options

Over the past couple of days I’ve been looking into options on how to backup my data. I know that it is only a matter of time before my PC dies and who knows what will happen when it does. So, I am looking for a something in between doing nothing and getting a brand new PC.

The reason that I want to backup all of this “stuff” is because a lot of those 1s and 0s mean a lot to me. I’d go nuts if I lost all of my photos or my documents or anything else that I keep on my data drive. So, I need an option to make sure that it will at least have a surviving chance in case something goes wrong.

I have pretty much narrowed it down to the following three options:

  1. Networked Share Drive from Buffalo Technologies (Gigabit LinkStation)
  2. A Firewire/USB 2.0 drive
  3. A drive enclosure for any standard hard drive

Now, what makes this tricky is that I want this to work with my Mac and my PC. If I wanted them to work at the same time, well… I’d need the network drive. Unless I shared off a drive from my PC. Again, another option. But, the problem is that I can’t figure out if I’d actually benefit from the network drive or not. It is the most expensive of the three options, which is something to consider.

What I am curious about is what other people have experienced, or what they would recommend for external backup devices. I am just beginning to look and I want to make sure I cover all of my bases before I make a purchase, if I decide later on to do so. So, any help or advice you have is appreciated.

4 thoughts on “Data Backup Options”

  1. I had the same question about a year ago after my hard drive crashed (luckily I was able to recoever most of it). I ended up going with a combination of full and incremental backups. About every 4 months I do a full backup to DVD+R. I also ended up making a fully automated Windows install DVD and then I reisntall my desktop after the backup (keeps Windows speedy). In between, I use SyncBack to do incremental backups to a 120gb hard drive in this USB2.0/FireWire enclousure.
    My soultion is purely for Windows, but I would guess that there is something similar to SyncBack for Mac… Does OS X have rsync like Linux? That might work for syncing/backing up to a portable hard drive or even to a network drive for that matter.

  2. Why not get an Apple iPod 60 gig? iPod = music, data, mac + pc & firewire & usb2.0. A sweet formula if you ask me. Now if you have to travel, it’s a great thing to take with you on the road.

  3. I was in a situation similar to you (except my PC wasn’t dying).
    I wanted storage that both my PC(Linux/Windows) and my Mac could reach.
    I had two choices: USB Drive or Network Storage.

    I first thought about a USB drive. There are a few issues with USB drives.
    * Filesystems – Except Fat32, not all operating systems can access a single filesystem.
    * Moving/Sharing – If the ‘sharing’ computer went down, I’d be SOL and have to move the drive to another computer.
    * Concurrent Access – Without sharing the USB drive, multiple computers couldn’t access it at once.

    In the end, I chose network storage. Although my ‘network storage’ is in my designated ‘server’ machine, the idea is the same. With network storage you don’t have *most* of the USB issues.

    Incremental backups, 4 month backups to DVD all seem a little overkill :). A good backup utility is Unison. It is a crossplatform (Linux, Windows, Mac, more?) that you can sync stuff with. It is great and works beautifully.

    Anyways, my $0.02 :)

  4. Wow! Thanks for all the great feedback guys!

    I do own two iPods that I could use for storage, but that doesn’t solve my access issue. However, what I seem to be leaning more towards is getting a Firewire/USB Hard Drive. The reason is that I hardly ever use my PC when I get home, except to do Microsoft Money. Also, the only reason that I keep it around is to back stuff up. So, if I moved that all to a drive I basically am saying that my PC has no purpose anymore except to do my finances.

    Guess only time will tell, but maybe this weekend I’ll dig into the suggestions a little more and see what I come up with.

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