World Backup Day is on March 31st, but that’s the celebration day itself, because backup day should be a regular task done almost daily. Here are some hardware suggestions to get your backup right and safe.
We’ve all been there: files deleted by mistake, a disk that dies unexpectedly and leaves you no viable option of recovering its contents. I would say it happens less today, as we’ve moved from diskettes and HDDs to CD, DVDs and more recently SSDs, memory cards and other means of preserving data, but the menace is still there, and it can happen when you less expect it.
Now, again, it’s that time of the year when everybody talks about the urgency of backing up data. Do more that just talk and make sure you do something about it, if you’ve not yet started. Or go and check your backup system is working fine.
Some people tend to believe that because they’ve all their files in a computer disk or any other type of support, they have their content safe from harm’s way, but that’s no guarantee you’ll not have problems. CDs and DVDs tend to degrade with time, HDDs fail and even SSD can die on you. Backup, besides, is not just having your important files stores in one place, be it your computer or elsewhere. Backing up your files means having a second copy of everything that is important to you, be it your family photos, home videos, documents and emails.
Back up is not just about having a second copy, sometimes even a third copy of everything you deem to be important, it is also about having it somewhere safe. That’s the reason why some will use the cloud or, in some cases a bank vault, to keep backups safe. It all depends on the level of security you need. I remember years ago a story going round about a photographer who had three backup copies besides the original files kept in his network: he kept backup copies at another location, a bank vault and… his girlfriend’s house.
Learning the importance of backup the hard way
Most of us do not probably need to reach that level of security but having a second copy of your files is an important step to follow the spirit of World Backup day. Backing up your files is not something you can do today and forget for the rest of the year, though. You’ve to regularly back up your data, either through setting up an automated process that takes cares of the whole process or doing it manually. Whatever you do, do it regularly.
My experience tells me that today’s hardware is less prone to some of the problems and errors we had years ago, but it is still wise to make backup a regular habit, depending on the volume of work you have to back up, to not leave the task for the “next month”. I learned very early and the hard way how bad it goes when you are faced with a bad HDD and have no backup. Although I always tried to keep my files safeguarded, by regularly keeping backups, I skipped the process when I was in the middle of a book project and paid a high price for it. Here is my story:
When the HDD with the latest photos for an important book project died on me, before I had them copied to a second disk, I was forced to ask a special recovery service to try and recover my files. That or have to reshoot again, something not easy to do when you’re dealing with nature and wildlife. The company I contacted did recover the photographs, but I paid nearly two thousand dollars for the recovery… and then a little over 100 dollars for a hard drive to hold the content. Lesson learned: better spend money on extra drives for backup than to go through a recovery process again.
Check and recheck your backup restores
Since that day I’ve always shared the story with people, to make them aware of the importance of having backups – real backups, I mean – of important files. Don’t tell me it only happens to others or that. It happens to everybody, but you can try to prevent it. The people behind the World Backup Day say that “people should relay and take heed of the tales of devastating data disasters like the loss of an entire season of a children’s television series or the near complete loss of customer data by Microsoft’s & T-Mobile’s Sidekick. Even Pixar accidentally lost nearly 90% of the animated film Toy Story 2 to an errant computer command. So sad, all they needed was a proper backup plan that included regularly testing the data restores.”
People now create and generate over 1.8 zettabytes of data per year, according to data from “Extracting Value from Chaos”, an IDC Digital Universe study. That’s a lot of data that we need to protect! Unfortunately, nearly 30% of people have never even backed up their data, according to a 2013 Blaze survey. Backing up your data will protect your life’s work when that hard drive fails. If you are a small business, a data backup can be what saves your company. World Backup Day, says the people behind the celebration, is here to make sure that people actually start backing up.
The truth is that backing up your data is one of those easy-to-do procedures that many people ignore. Those who already have a backup plan that works, should probably use this date to check (and then recheck) their backup restores on World Backup Day to see if they actually work. After all, a backup plan that doesn’t work isn’t much of a backup plan.
Saving our digital heritage for future generations
The original idea for the March 31st date was a humorous reference to April Fool’s Day on April 1st. World Backup Day was chosen to be the day before April 1st (April Fools) in order to drive the message that one should backup all those pictures, spreadsheets, love letters, cat pictures, & important financial documents before it’s too late. This independent initiative to raise awareness about backups and data preservation started out — like most good things on the Internet – on reddit by a couple of concerned users.
“I’m thrilled with the response to World Backup Day, and I hope it’s made a difference in people’s lives,” said World Backup Day founder Ismail Jadun. “We all know someone who has lost critical data, whether it was their videos, photos, music, book reports, or personal stuff. Hopefully this day will make everyone think about their situation, learn about the various options and get their files backed up. I hope that World Backup Day sparks conversations about the enormous task of saving our digital heritage for future generations.”
The initiative aims to reach those who have never backed up in their life, and might not even know what backup is! It’s a one-day celebration but its message is intended to stay longer. The organizers say that World Backup Day is every day and that “a good backup plan will be continuous and include multiple layers to not only recover your data but also include steps for data preservation.”
Now that we’ve grasped the concept, it’s time to look at the hardware that makes backing up your data easy. We share with ProVideo Coalition readers some of the solutions you can find at Filmtools, in this guide to the best hardware solutions for World Backup Day.
Hard Drives & RAID storage
G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE ev RaW USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Rugged Bumper
Your backup system can start for as low as $89.95, which is the price of the G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE ev RaW USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Rugged Bumper. Designed for those who require on-the-go access to their personal and/or professional files, photos, videos, music, and more, this popular solution is designed with those who move about a lot in mind but can also be the base of any other backup system, with the advantage that it can be taken anywhere when and if needed.
The 1TB G-DRIVE ev RaW come pre-formatted for Mac, but it can be easily re-formatted for Windows. When used on a Mac, it is compatible with Mac OS X 10.7+ and also supports Time Machine and plug-and-play setup. When re-formatted and used with Windows, it is compatible with Windows 8.1, 8, and 7. This drive is also compatible with any Evolution Series G-DRIVE ev product. The 1TB G-DRIVE ev RaW USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Rugged Bumper operates solely using bus power and includes a USB 3.0 cable.
OWC 32TB ThunderBay 4 Thunderbolt 2 4-Bay RAID Array (RAID 5 Edition)
On the other extreme of the backup solutions, when it comes to price, sits the OWC 32TB ThunderBay 4 Thunderbolt 2 4-Bay RAID Array (RAID 5 Edition). Priced at $1,359.00, this is a media storage device that adds 32 TB to your Mac. The drives have already been configured for RAID 5 via software. With this, you will have plenty of extra storage for music, photos, movies, and documents. Not only this, but this array also allows you to operate a production workflow with 2K video, 4K video, and audio.
This is a system designed to expand, as the ThunderBay 4 comes with two Thunderbolt 2 ports which allow you to daisy-chain up to six devices such as additional ThunderBays, 4K displays, and more. Thunderbolt 2 offers a single 20 Gb/s bi-directional channel that allows you to stream and write 4K video at the same time. To help ensure a smooth operating environment, the array uses a 92mm noise-quieting fan. Included with this ThunderBay 4 array is SoftRAID 5, a 3.3′ Thunderbolt cable, a 3-prong power cable, 2 keys for the front panel lock, and a Mac compatible software bundle.
G-Technology 10TB G-DRIVE Thunderbolt USB 3.0 Hard Drive
Priced at $449.95 this is a good compromise for those who need a Thunderbolt backup solution. The G-Technology 10TB G-DRIVE Thunderbolt USB 3.0 Hard Drive is an external 7200 rpm hard drive complete with a 64MB cache. The enclosure of this drive features both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports, allowing you to connect this drive to a variety of computer configurations. Once connected, the drive is capable of data transfer speeds of up to 165 MB/s making it the ideal storage solution for a variety of data-intensive applications.
The drive itself comes pre-formatted for use with Mac computers running Mac OS 10.7 and higher, and can easily be reformatted for use with PCs running Windows 8 or Windows 7. In addition to Mac compatibility, the G-DRIVE is also compatible with Apple Time Machine for easy backup of your critical system information and other important data files.
LaCie 60TB 6big 6-Bay Thunderbolt 3 RAID Array
Compatible with Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2, the LaCie 60TB 6big 6-Bay Thunderbolt 3 RAID Array is a 6-bay storage enclosure complete with a storage capacity perfect for storing large files such as 4K video, RAW photos, and much more. The 6big delivers speeds up to 2600 MB/s, RAID 5/6 with two Thunderbolt 3 ports for fast file transfers and performance.
For the 6big and 12big, LaCie harnessed the breakthrough performance potential of the Thunderbolt 3 I/O and squeezed the absolute best speeds out of the hard drives for lightning-fast video workflows. With double the video bandwidth of its predecessor, Thunderbolt 3 lets you daisy chain dual 4K displays or a single 5K display to the LaCie 12big or 6big. With two 4K displays, you can spread out your workspace by dedicating one display to your timeline and the other to previewing 4K footage, for example. It’s even possible to power a compatible laptop through the Thunderbolt 3 connection. Price? $3,804.00.
LTO Data Archiving
mLogic mTape Thunderbolt 3 LTO-8 with Xendata 6 for Windows
Here is a somehow different solution that may not be for everyone but may be the logic choice for those who need an archiving solution to safeguard digital media for long term use and storage. The mLogic mTape Thunderbolt 3 LTO-8 with Xendata 6 for Windows revolutionizes LTO, enabling users to easily connect LTO-8 technology to portable, desktop and all-in-one computers that feature Thunderbolt connectivity. The Windows version costs $5,499.00.
Mac users also have a version, the mLogic mTape Thunderbolt 3 LTO-8 with Retrospect Desktop for macOS, which is available for $5,279.00. Remember that you need to buy the LTO tapes too!
mLogic mTape LTO-8 Thunderbolt 3 Archiving Drive with YoYottaID LTFS for Mac
Another LTO solution to consider to protect your data for years to come is the mLogic mTape LTO-8 Thunderbolt 3 Archiving Drive with YoYottaID LTFS for Mac. This portable desktop tape drive writes to both LTO-7 and LTO-8 tapes, which are designed to have a shelf life of more than 30 years. Equipped with a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, the mTape LTO-8 desktop drive can write up to 12 TB of data per tape cartridge, with a maximum data transfer rate of 300 MB/s. Certified by Apple and Intel, the mTape drive is compatible with Mac and Windows systems. The YoYattaID LTFS software utility for macOS comes bundled with the drive.
The mLogic mTape LTO-8 Thunderbolt 3 Archiving Drive with YoYottaID LTFS for Mac costs $5,499.00.
Solid State Drives
Samsung 2TB T7 USB 3.2 Portable SSD
The Samsung 2TB T7 USB 3.2 Portable SSD is a light, pocket-sized portable storage solution that offers incredibly fast speeds, and reliable data storage for transferring large files. Whether you’re storing critical business documents, games, or movies, the Portable SSD T7 gives you speed and durability in a palm-sized package priced at $369.99.
Transfer massive files within seconds with the incredible speed of USB 3.2 Gen 2 on the T7. The embedded PCIe NVMe technology delivers blazing fast sequential read/write speeds of up to 1,050/1,000 MB/s. Furthermore, the Samsung T7 USB 3.2 Portable SSD is equipped with 256-bit AES encryption and password protection, so users can rest assured knowing their data is safe. Physically, the T7 has no moving parts so it’s more resistant to shock. Plus, its solid aluminum unibody construction adds further protection.
Glyph 2TB StudioRAID Mini USB 3.0 SSD
The Glyph 2TB StudioRAID Mini USB 3.0 SSD is a production-grade external hard-drive that allows you to create with confidence. Packed with the best-in-class technology and the industry’s best warranty, Glyph hard drives offer reliable and professional-grade service. The StudioRAID Mini has been designed to be ultra-fast and ultra-reliable. This solution costs $799.95.
The Glyph 2TB StudioRAID Mini USB 3.0 SSD – 2 TB comes preformatted in HFS+, is Time Machine compatible and features journaling. Though formatted for MAC, the Glyph Studio is capable of running on the Windows Operating System with a simple reformat. With either OS, the StudioRAID Mini offers high performance and ultimate reliability and supports RAID 0 and RAID 1.