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Backup Device

Two weeks back I went to make an MP3 (128Kbps Radium codec) backup of my Faith No More Live album.

Shock horror - the CD is deteriorating.  If I remember correctly it's flaking at the edges.

I have maintained an extensive collection of MP3s (95% my own CDs) for a few years now, and had recently begun to think about a better backup approach.  I was at that time simply considering LAME 192Kbps VBR MP3.  I know, I know...

However, now I am a lossless codec convert.  I first came across Monkeys Audio well over a year ago, but never really did much with it.

I have been twisting and turning about whether to go with Monkeys Audio, FLAC or LA.  Until this morning, when I read this thread, I was going to go with LA (even though it gets little press here), as its compression is definately superior.  However, I may now go with the mid-point of these three - Monkeys Audio (Extra High).  Who knows, tomorrow I may decide to go with FLAC (-8 / --best).

I don't see much point into getting into yet another "Which codec is best" debate - horses for courses/personal preference/weird Linux users/etc.  I have been visiting these forums now for around two weeks, and I think I have seen enough to realise that there is no definative answer to this.

My question takes another tack on the "I want to backup my CDs" route:

What is your medium of choice?

CDs (surely not)?  DVDs?  Internal Harddrive?  External Harddrive?

I know this may be slightly off-topic - but I would suggest that most lossless users are backup freaks, and therefore I see this as relevant, or at least of interest.

I have always been concerned with the longevity of CDs (see sentence 2).  Are DVDs any better? NB: I currently only have a CD burner.  If I get them all onto a 120GB hardrive (most likely external - whose transfer errors also concerns me) and only ever use that drive once in a blue moon, i.e.: if I discover that a CD has spontaneously combusted,  will it last until I die?

I would be most interested to hear from users who have backed up to DVD for a while, or who use external (I have Firewire) hardrives.  Oh yeah, and hot chicks.  A hot chick with an external hardrive!
I'm on a horse.

Backup Device

Reply #1
what abouy storage on optical mediea like CD and DVD
and do some PAR parity on another disk.

Kinda like a raid 3 but on optical medium instead of HDD's
Sven Bent - Denmark

Backup Device

Reply #2
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My question takes another tack on the "I want to backup my CDs" route:
What is your medium of choice?
CDs (surely not)?  DVDs?  Internal Harddrive?  External Harddrive?[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=233841"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I just don't see harddrives as a good solution.  Maybe for near-line "hot" backup, but not for long term storage.  If nothing else, consider that in a couple of years IDE hard drives may have gone the way old MFM and RLL drives went.  If your computer doesn't have a controller, what will you do?  What if firewire goes away?  What if you store the drive in the closet and your girlfriend reaches up on that top shelf to pull a sweater down and pulls your drive with it?

There's a thread around here someplace where we discussed archiving to CD/DVD with PAR information.  Even on CDs that were pretty well fragged (one guy put electrical tape over a section of the disc) a combination of Isobuster and PAR managed to recover all the data.  A search on isobuster and par would probably turn it up.

So I've decided on flaccing CD images (ripped with EAC's "Create Image with CUE file" option) and then copying them to DVD (10- to 15- CDs per DVD) with PAR redundancy of about 10%, and then storing all the tools used (Flac, QuickPAR, Isobuster) in a Util folder on each DVD.  That way if Isobuster, PAR and Flac all go away, I'll have the tools available at some time in the future to recapture the original wavs.
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Backup Device

Reply #3
I use HD-s They are dirt cheap fast and very reliable (if you keep the temperature down). I have good cooling. I also use RAID1. Plus I have 2 SATA cables are lead outside the case of my server. This is how I back up onto some spare drives. The server only runs Linux built from sources (Gentoo). No virus. This PC never goes onto internet. It provides a read only samba mount to the other PC-s.

As for CD-s. What happens if your drive refuse to read your CD. PAR is pretty useless, then.

Backup Device

Reply #4
I use a USB2 external hard drive (Seagate 160 GB).  Works nicely.

ff123

Backup Device

Reply #5
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There's a thread around here someplace where we discussed archiving to CD/DVD with PAR information.[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=233947"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It's a good idea, but make sure to use PAR2's instead of the original PAR format. PAR2's will work with partial files, original PAR only worked with whole files. Use a pretty small blocksize too, I'd say. In fact, if you make the blocksize equal to the sector size on the CD, that might work out really well.

Backup Device

Reply #6
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I just don't see harddrives as a good solution.  Maybe for near-line "hot" backup, but not for long term storage.  If nothing else, consider that in a couple of years IDE hard drives may have gone the way old MFM and RLL drives went.  If your computer doesn't have a controller, what will you do?  What if firewire goes away?  What if you store the drive in the closet and your girlfriend reaches up on that top shelf to pull a sweater down and pulls your drive with it?


I agree--my problem with hard drive backups is that you're putting all of your eggs in one basket.  One hard drive problem on the backup and poof it's all either gone or will require expensive hard drive work to recover it. 

With CD/DVDs, your data can be cheaply spread across multiple locations.  Even at $1 per DVDR and 10% PAR, you can archive a 40 gig archive for $10 each time around.  So, one disc goes bad, so what?

It is quite true that CD/DVDs are more probably more prone to fail in some unrecoverable way than hard drives.  But a single hard drive situation still has the problem that it fails badly, whereas if you burn a new copy of your archive every few months it'll cost you only a couple bucks and you'll have yet another layer of redundancy.  Also, if you occassionally test the discs you can see problems developing and take corrective action immediately.  It's harder to spot a hard drive going bad before it actually loses data irretrievably, though someone with more knowledge here might correct me.

Backup Device

Reply #7
I'm a little reticent to post as I don't want to stop the thread.  However, I felt it necessary to thank everyone for the help so far.

I had seen PAR mentioned previously - by someone who was archiving using LA with PAR, but have not heard of it before that.

Thanks to Sven's original post I decided to investigate.  I checked it out last night briefly.  I don't really understand what I'm doing, but I do think it's something that I would use (pros outweigh cons/filesize).  Thanks for the suggestions for redundancy and blocksize.  I tested both par2cmdline and QuickPar - and got different results (filesizes) from each.  I guess that must be to do with QuickPar's default settings/blocksize/redundancy values.

Like rfarris, it would be my intention to save any utils used on each CD disc (I'll add ISOBuster now as well).  This is what confuses me when some people show concern about applications becoming obsolete - if you have been sensible enough to store the EXE then no-one can stop you from using it in the future - even if it is no longer supported and you miraculously cannot find it anywhere on the Internet.  I don't get it...

I love the idea of have SATA cables accessible externally as Triza - but my motherboard is quite old and I don't have SATA.  Definately something I'll consider when I eventually upgrade my PC.

I think I may be being persuaded toward a DVD solution at the moment - especially as the initial outlay would be less, and my wife is not keen on me spending £100 on an external harddrive at the moment! (another baby due imminently)

Please keep the suggestions coming though, it's been most valuable so far.

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There's a thread around here someplace where we discussed archiving to CD/DVD with PAR information.  Even on CDs that were pretty well fragged (one guy put electrical tape over a section of the disc) a combination of Isobuster and PAR managed to recover all the data.  A search on isobuster and par would probably turn it up.
Thanks, I assume it is this thread.  Looks like I have another app to check out.

Actually - it's this one.
I'm on a horse.

Backup Device

Reply #8
I use TDK Armor Plated DVD-R's to back-up my mp3/mpc's.

Backup Device

Reply #9
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I had seen PAR mentioned previously - by someone who was archiving using LA with PAR, but have not heard of it before that.[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Yep, that would've been [a href="http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=21713&view=findpost&p=223738]me[/url], I suppose, in the same thread you mentioned earlier.

Still solely on HDDs here. An internal one I use all the time for my FLACs, an external one that's touched maybe a couple of times a week for an extra copy of the collection transcoded to La, plus extra PAR2 reinforcement. The odds of both disks dying at the same time are negligible. Simple, fast, convenient and relatively cheap (2 x 250 GB of storage, worth 2 x 800 losslessly encoded albums, consider what that costs nowadays!).

Backup Device

Reply #10
Hard disks have mechanical parts & are open to viruses unlike write once media such CD/DVD. Hard disks are really a bad idea for backing important data.

Backup Device

Reply #11
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Hard disks have mechanical parts & are open to viruses unlike write once media such CD/DVD.
If you don't have decent anti-virus protection, viruses or other malware can just as easily be written to CD/DVD. No storage solution will ever relieve you of the need for efficient security (anti-virus, firewall, anti-spyware, ...). To me, having the full redundancy of a back-up on an external HDD provides sufficient peace of mind.

Backup Device

Reply #12
Just a few thoughts:

As for viruses. I have a dedicated linux file server that built from sources (gentoo linux) and never goes onto internet or anything. I do not plan to update it frequently either. My everyday machine does only have read only access via Samba. If I want to dump something onto that machine there is a small pub directory is awaylable as a writable dir. Then I log onto my file server and move those files where they fit.

HD-s are also good because it is very easy to replicate. It takes less than 3 hours to replicate a 160GByte drive. No manual intervention is require. Similarly I have MD5SUM checksums, which are also signed by GPG so I can notice if somebody alters them :-) and I can check 160GByte unassisted. Try to replicate or just check your CD/DVD this fast.

I do not use PAR because I can afford multiple HD-s, which are at multiple locations. Also I find it useless if HD breaks or CD drive refuses to read the CD. I do not know how frequently this can happen.

Also strangly I never had a dying CD either despite the fact that I used that so-called 'CMC' manufacturer's CD-s that appears to be the worst. Well I was not very well informed before.  I think this is because I burned 2x speed, which is unbearable as a backup solution.

I plan to skip DVD revolution altogether.

Backup Device

Reply #13
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HD-s are also good because it is very easy to replicate. It takes less than 3 hours to replicate a 160MByte drive. No manual intervention is require. (...) and I can check 160MByte unassisted. Try to replicate or just check your CD/DVD this fast.
Suppose you mean 160 GB?


Backup Device

Reply #15
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I use HD-s They are dirt cheap fast and very reliable (if you keep the temperature down).
I'll bet you that spinning hard drives aren't within two orders of magnitude of the reliability of CD/DVD media. 

I thought you guys were talking about archiving to a hard drive and then putting it in the closet until needed.  Even then I'd rather have the fail-soft aspect of multiple DVDs.

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I agree--my problem with hard drive backups is that you're putting all of your eggs in one basket.  One hard drive problem on the backup and poof it's all either gone or will require expensive hard drive work to recover it. 

With CD/DVDs, your data can be cheaply spread across multiple locations.  Even at $1 per DVDR and 10% PAR, you can archive a 40 gig archive for $10 each time around.  So, one disc goes bad, so what?
What he said!

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It is quite true that CD/DVDs are more probably more prone to fail in some unrecoverable way than hard drives...
I don't believe it.  If you've got 100 pieces of media laying around, then sure, over the years you're going to see errors, but how many hard drives do you know of that have lasted even five years?  Suppose you had 100 hard drives.  How many do you think would still be alive after five years?

-- Rick

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Backup Device

Reply #16
The anti-HD responses are a little extreme! IDE obsolete in a couple of years; viruses eating up your stuff on HD while it's sitting on your shelf!
DVD's are very time-consuming, but reliable I think if you have a good drive and media. Hard drives apparently can't be left safely for long periods (years) unused - that's what I hear.
I don't need ultra-reliable backup as my main stuff is unlikely to go and in the very unlikely case that my main stuff and backup both go I have the original CDs. So I'll go HD I think.
Unless anyone uses MiniDV sucessfully? That would be great for me.

Backup Device

Reply #17
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how many hard drives do you know of that have lasted even five years?

Has anyone had this happen? I've not had any trouble with hard drives, and my family's had a lot of computers. CDRs I've had trouble with, but probably because of going with cheap discs.

Backup Device

Reply #18
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Quote
how many hard drives do you know of that have lasted even five years?

Has anyone had this happen? I've not had any trouble with hard drives, and my family's had a lot of computers. CDRs I've had trouble with, but probably because of going with cheap discs.
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I've had two drives fail after about six years each, but also a bunch of others that have yet to fail (though they were all used about five years and then sold to other people when I upgraded).  I don't mean to sound anti-HD--I think the odds of something happening to both your main and your backup in a close enough time frame to preclude a restoration of your backup are very, very small, but you'll need to test your backup every now and then to make sure it's still in working order.

Part of the reason I go with CD/DVD is that I had a particularly bad experience once with a hard drive which, immediately upon being inserted into a WinXP computer, sent XP into a fit in which it first "repaired lost clusters" and then "repaired orphaned files."  Needless to say, XP had orphaned the files in the first place, and when I tried to access the MP3s or other files I would be pointed towards parts of other files, which was the most bizarre thing I've ever seen happen to any file system.  Oddly, upon putting it into another XP computer, all the files were, umm, reunited with their parents, and the drive functioned perfectly.

The point is that, from then on, I started using backups which could not be overwritten, like DVDRs.  I think most people will be fine with an extra HD (I just bought the same for my brother for his birthday), and it is more convienent for a lot of people (I don't think burning a bunch of DVDs is that bad but, then again, my whole collection is only about 70 gigs--I just backup the compressed versions, they're transparent to me and I'm not going to edit them or the like), but I like the cost and multiplicity of CD/DVD backups.

As for some real facts, [a href="http://thetechnozone.com/pcbuyersguide/hardware/storage/HD_reliability_report.html]this article at PC Mag[/url] has an unsourced assertion that "The average time-till-failure of the 7200 rpm drives seems to be about 30 months; the average time-till-failure of 5400 drives is a lot longer -- about 60 months. In all cases, the drives are run pretty much constantly, day in and day out."

Most hard drives have mean time before failure of around 300,000 hours or so, which equates to 34 years, but I'm curious what they're actually measuring there, as that really doesn't fit within most people's practical experience.  Storage Review has a reliability survey, but I can't seem to get on there right now.

Backup Device

Reply #19
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how many hard drives do you know of that have lasted even five years?

Has anyone had this happen? I've not had any trouble with hard drives, and my family's had a lot of computers. CDRs I've had trouble with, but probably because of going with cheap discs.
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=234438"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes you will see a lot bad stories about CD-R, DVD-R etc. because of the amount of cheap media, cheap burners & excessive recording speeds plus that it’s rather fragile design compared to a hard disk drives which have thick steal protecting them.

If using CD-R I would follow these steps for something I don’t want to lose,

-Use quality media
-Burn at low speeds (8x)
-Check for errors after burn
-Store in a safe place (avoid Sunlight/Humidity/Water/Scratches/Extreme temperatures) - This is a hard disks advantage!
-Check for errors every 6 - 12 months

Backup Device

Reply #20
Quote
Quote
HD-s are also good because it is very easy to replicate. It takes less than 3 hours to replicate a 160MByte drive. No manual intervention is require. (...) and I can check 160MByte unassisted. Try to replicate or just check your CD/DVD this fast.
Suppose you mean 160 GB?
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=234067"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Yup. Sorry. I corrected my original post.

Backup Device

Reply #21
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I use HD-s They are dirt cheap fast and very reliable (if you keep the temperature down).
I'll bet you that spinning hard drives aren't within two orders of magnitude of the reliability of CD/DVD media. 

I thought you guys were talking about archiving to a hard drive and then putting it in the closet until needed.  Even then I'd rather have the fail-soft aspect of multiple DVDs.



Yup. Although I have a RAID1 in my server which hosts all my FLAC-ed albums, occasionally I sync up its content with HD-s which are normally stashed away in various locations. Incidentally I just brought a copy of my entire collection on one 160GByte HD (I have only 300 CDs :-( ) to my parents' house, which is in a different country and few thousands km away where I live.

Backup Device

Reply #22
Quote
If using CD-R I would follow these steps for something I don’t want to lose,

-Use quality media
-Burn at low speeds (8x)
-Check for errors after burn
-Store in a safe place (avoid Sunlight/Humidity/Water/Scratches/Extreme temperatures) - This is a hard disks advantage!
-Check for errors every 6 - 12 months


I agree, but here is the advantage of HD solution. It is faster to "burn" it. In fact if I just edit a few files I can easily update the other off-line HDs (by using rsync). You need to reburn those disks. Pertty manual.

Checking for errors are easier too. In fact I only have 300CDs so one 160GB can hold the lot, so I do not even need to change disks.

Triza

Backup Device

Reply #23
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Has anyone had this happen? I've not had any trouble with hard drives, and my family's had a lot of computers.

Are you kidding?  Your family hasn't had nearly as many computers as any small (let along anything larger) business IT manager.

I don't know of a single IT manager that considers hard drives a valid backup media.  I was willing to work with you guys when I thought you were talking about backing up to a hard drive and then putting it in a closet, but the idea of something that is online and in the same physical location as the data it is supposed to backing up is laughable.

This is not rocket-science, guys.  A single slip of the finger, or a single virus can wipe out all your online storage at one time.  RAID 1 and other redundant online storage schemes are designed to increase system availability.  You will nowhere find it claimed that they are backup solutions.

-- Rick

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------- Rick -------
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Backup Device

Reply #24
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I don't know of a single IT manager that considers hard drives a valid backup media.  I was willing to work with you guys when I thought you were talking about backing up to a hard drive and then putting it in a closet, but the idea of something that is online and in the same physical location as the data it is supposed to backing up is laughable.


As I said I have off-line copies in (namely at 3 different locations) on off-line HDs. Also if you look at my solution, there is virtually no chance for virus. I am very disciplined about it. Plus I have RAID1. But I know RAID1 is not backup. It does not prevent from accidental deletion and virus. But as I said I have several off-line copies in different geographical locations. In fact I am uniquely paranoid. Believe me!

One location is 2500 km-s away from me :-)

But again my off-line copies are HD based.

Triza

 
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