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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hello, I need help from those of you who can help me, and please, if you cannot provide technical information to justify your suggestions, I ask you that you stay away from this topic, thank you.

Very well, with that being said, for those who are still able to stay here and help me, I would like to ask you, what is the SAFEST way to backup my files for a long time? I thought about using a Hard Drive, but, I am afraid that they don't last for too long if not being used on a computer, so if that's the case, what should I use, then?

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3 minutes ago, dLightChild said:

Hello, I need help from those of you who can help me, and please, if you cannot provide technical information to justify your suggestions, I ask you that you stay away from this topic, thank you.

Very well, with that being said, for those who are still able to stay here and help me, I would like to ask you, what is the SAFEST way to backup my files for a long time? I thought about using a Hard Drive, but, I am afraid that they don't last for too long if not being used on a computer, so if that's the case, what should I use, then?

The absolute safest way would probably be saving it in an AWS instance or something similar, since AWS instances are mirrored saved and backe up so much, that it's not even funny anymore... Plus afaik they are mirrored to a different physical location as well, so you get that as well


75% of what I say is sarcastic

 

So is the rest probably

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, myselfolli said:

The absolute safest way would probably be saving it in an AWS instance or something similar, since AWS instances are mirrored saved and backe up so much, that it's not even funny anymore... Plus afaik they are mirrored to a different physical location as well, so you get that as well

Well... that's just it, I don't want to rely on Cloud Storage to keep my files.
I would need something physical that I can keep with myself. 

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1 minute ago, dLightChild said:

Well... that's just it, I don't want to rely on Cloud Storage to keep my files.
I would need something physical that I can keep with myself. 

HDDs are fine for most cases then, or tape storage if speed isn't a concern.

 

If it's important data, I'd recommend getting offsite storage as well though


75% of what I say is sarcastic

 

So is the rest probably

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  • How much data do you need to back up?
  • How long does it need to be stored for?
  • Do you need to access the data on a regular basis, or can it be cold stored?


For large scale back ups you could look in to tape storage which is good for bulk backups to archive away, and the tapes themselves are cost effective (low $/GB cost), however it has a high entry cost.
For more home user scale back ups, backing up to a mechanical HDD and then just unplugging it, storing it safely (perhaps offsite to protect against events such as house fires) could be an option.


In addition to the above options, you could also look in to a home NAS with HDDs for regular/live backups of data.


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@dLightChildSpotty asked some great questions, which we need answered before we can accurately answer your original query. However, I'm going to take a stab at it based on your first post.

 

It appears to me you are asking about archiving data rather than backing it up. Backing up data means just protecting data that is currently on a computer. It's intended to to be kept up to date so, should the unthinkable happen and you lose any, or all, of the data on the computer, you can quickly restore it. This requires frequent attention to the backups and, normally, will not include files that are no longer kept on the computer.

 

Archival, on the other hand, stores data for extended periods of time and usually include data no longer kept on the computers. Tape archival has been popular in the past and is still in use today since it has the longest average lifespan. The tapes themseles are inexpensive but the machines used to record and read the tapes are ridiculously expensive when bought new. Even when bought used, they will cost an arm and a leg (and, maybe, even your firstborn) and you risk getting a piece of equipment that is worn out, thus having a shorter lifespan.

 

HDDs can be put on a shelf for extended periods (theoretically, for years) but they should be powered up and read once or twice a year to make sure the lubricant dosn't thicken or dry up. They are the least expensive but still reliable archival media for most people.

 

Archival grade optical disks (CDs, DVDs, BDs) have longer lifespans than HDDs when kept on the shelf and don't need to be "exercised" periodically but will be much more expensive.

 

With the possible exception of tape, most media used for archival runs the risk of becoming obsolete over time. Starting with 8" floppy disks, followed by 5.25" and 3.5" floppies, media will eventually become obsolete because the equipment used to write and read the media becomes obsolete and unavailable. The media itself can deteriorate over time and become corrupted (especially for all but archival grade optical disks). Whatever medium is chosen to carry archives, it needs to be accessed periodically to ensure it is intact and the hardware used to access it is still available. It probably will be necessary to relocate the data to other, more current media over time.

 

Another option is cloud storage but that path has more pot holes than an unmaintained dirt road in a swamp. First, the only reliable cloud storage sites are going to be unbelievably expensive. More affordable ones are far more likely to go belly up, taking your data with it, or get hacked, either losing your data or letting it get into the hands of the hackers. It's the route I least recommend unless you can afford the expense of a good, business grade service. Even then, I still recommend either using more than one cloud storage firm and checking them periodically for integrity or maintaining physical archives yourself in addition to the cloud archive and checking all of them periodically for integrity.

 

All media, no mater how long it normally can be expected to last, can fail prematurely at anytime or be damaged, lost or destroyed physically. To protect against this, the data must be stored in more than one place, at least two but three places would be better. That way, if one medium is lost, you still have at least one or two more to fall back on.

 

Also, the more complicated the archival scheme, the more potential failure points get introduced. I do not recommend servers for this reason (that and they cost far more than necessary).

 

For most people, I would suggest sets of two or, better, three high quality HDDs, with each HDD in each set containing identical data, and the the number of sets depending on the amount of data being stored. Higher quality HDDs, though more expensive, will be less likely to fail due to being idle than less expensive ones. Some really large volume, server grade HDDs are actually recommended for archival only because the technology used to achieve their higher volumes renders them to slow for daily use. Each drive in each set must be kept in a different location for maximum protection. If you had all your archival HDDs kept at, say, home, a house fire could take out all your data whereas if you had them split between multiple locations, such as at home, at a trusted friend's or relative's home, and/or a bank safe deposit box, if one location gets compromised, you will still have the data in other locations.

 

While HDDs can set on the shelf unused for long times, it's still best to power up and read each one once or twice a year to both exercise the works and to ensure the data hasn't become compromised. It will also help ensure the technology used to access the data doesn't become obsolete unnoticed over time.


Jeannie

 

As long as anyone is oppressed, no one will be safe and free.

One has to be proactive, not reactive, to ensure the safety of one's data so backup your data! And RAID is NOT a backup!

 

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If your data size is appropriate, consider M-Disc media when you look for 'Archival grade optical disks'. Longest estimated life span, work in many burners (look for the mDisc logo).

 

My camera archives are over 250GB, but we never take that many pictures at once. In addition to other backups, we create two 25GB BD MDiscs archives when I get close to 22GB (one local, one off-site).

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