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In Reply to: Warning: hard drives may not be reliable as a backup mechanism posted by Christine Tham on March 20, 2007 at 19:34:28:
that have moved to or are in the process of moving to hard disk based backup of critical enterprise data.
I worked as a consultant for a hardware vendor for nearly ten years (this was a while ago).
A lot of companies do very silly things, and then get burned for it.
People have been fired for really dumb backup strategies, but its a small consolation compared to the cost of lost data and productivity.
I could probably tell you a few horror stories, including a company that had to rebuild their data warehouse from scratch, or a company that couldn't restore from tape because they forgot to backup their tape catalog, tapes that refuse to load because the replacement drive has different firmware, RAID controller failures that wiped out entire arrays ...
"hard disk based backup of critical enterprise data" is an oxymoron. If it was really that critical, you wouldn't rely on just hard disks. I know of at least half a dozen companies that have learnt this, the hard way (one of them was the company that had to rebuild their data warehouse from scratch).
Industry trends would indicate that your concerns are off base.
Yes, companies do stupid things. When 100,000 companies do the same "stupid" thing, then maybe it's not so stupid.
For home media libraries hard disk backup is quickly becoming the _only_ feasible backup mechanism. The cost of a tape backup system to backup that amount of data is prohibitive for home use.
The typical home user won't be able to manage the hundreds of 9GB DVD-R disks that it takes to backup a multi-terabyte library. Not to mention the labor involved. It's right back to the days when we shuffled dozens of floppy disks in and out of drives, marking them meticulously, and doing it again the next time. It's such a pain in the ass that many people will not backup regularly, and _that's_ the greatest concern when it comes to backups.
If you're really worried about your disk backups failing, make two backups. Keep one offsite. In a firesafe vault. Under 24x7 armed guard. Whatever...
Where does your "100,000" come from, and when you say "industry trend" can you actually cite your sources?
Hmm, I don't recall Gartner, or Forrester, or anyone citing off line hard disk backups as a "trend". I can definitely say it's not a "trend" amongst the Fortune 500.
And if you speak to storage vendors like EMC or IBM, they definitely do NOT recommend that you keep hard disks in "storage", even if they are temperature and humidity controlled (or under "armed guard"). If you do want to use hard disks for secondary storage, keep them online - at least you will *know* when they fail.
As for my concerns being "off base", all I'm pointing out is that hard disks don't last forever, offline or online. If you truly value your data, you need to to take that into account. If you don't, hey, I don't care.
"vettracer"'s "solution" of asking his/her mother to fire up his/her backup hard disk every now and then is not a bad one (provided she actually does it, and does a full hard disk scan each time). The important difference between this strategy and his/her previous strategy (just keeping it in a drawer), is that he/she will *know* when it fails, and take appropriate action (buy a replacement).
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