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off-site backup

I'm reviewing/planning for new offsite backup media and am wondering
what people are using now.  Previous discussions I found on
lists.debian.org are a few years old.  Remote offsite (e.g. on another
computer at another site) is not an option for me.

I've been happy using 100 MB Zip disks; I can store everything except
CD-iso images on one or two and put it in the bank's safety-deposit box.
However, it has meant that I've had to burn to CD collections of
documents that I would preferr to keep online.  Then I end up with a
separate directory which is NOT backed-up to keep them online for
viewing.  My drives are over 10 years old and the media is close to it.
Time to migrate.

I can use small CD-R but they only hold 175 MB.  Full-size CDs don't fit
in the bank's box.

My new computer (Athlon-based) will have two 80 GB Seagate Barracuda
SATA drives in a raid1 configuration to handle drive failure.  I'm
looking for removable media to handle both data-failure and platform
failure (or local disaster).  

At this point, I'm specifying a backup-set size of 10 GB although if the
media I choose is cheap enough, I would like to backup CD ISO images to
protect that data from CD scratches or other failure.

Physical size:  A Zip jewel case is 4-1/8" and fits the bank, a CD jewel
case is 4-3/4" and doesn't.  

Minimum number of backup sets, 3: one in the drive, one on the shelf,
and one in the bank.  I'm looking at media at this point, not procedure.
I don't have a requirement to see what a file looked like months ago.
Also, this is in addition to online backups (in /var/local/backup).

I want physical robustness.  CDs are prone to scratch and I understand
that for all they're 'burned' with a laser there is some dye involved in
the process and they can fade in bright light or heat.  Able to
withstand a 1 m drop would be good, e.g. after its removed from its case
and before it gets into the drive.  

10 year shelf life seems to be a common criteria for backup/archive

I think that tape is overkill for only three sets of media; the drive
and SCSI card are too expensive.  

There are Iomega removeables called Rev.  I don't know what real-world
reliability and longevety is like.

Quantum has a removable thing called GoVault that is basically a
ruggedized cartridge with a laptop-drive inside.  I don't know what
real-world reliability and logevety is like.

There are generic ruggedized drive caddies but I understand they're not
hot-swappable and I don't want to have to shutdown to change media.

At the small-end there's USB sticks but I don't know what the shelf-life
really is (other than Kingston's 5 year warranty).  Size-wise, this
would work as a floppy-replacement for the must-always-be-able-to-read
stuff (i.e. immediatly readable from any computer, linux or not, msdos
fs with plain-text, e.g. critical email).

Interface options I have now are eSATA, USB, Firewire.  Anything else
needs a card too; add it to the cost of the drive.

Given the choice, I would prefer external instead of internal.  In case
of a disaster-in-progress (e.g. house fire), can grab the drive and go;
or if something catestrophic happens to the computer, the drive may

All else being equal, I would prefer cheaper to expensive on a per-set
basis.  E.g. tape is probably chepest on a per GB basis (or is that per
TB) while USB stick is most expensive, but for 2 GB, USB is probably
cheapest per set.

What is you wisdom on this in-between area (more than a CD, less than
LTO or DLT)?


Doug Tutty.

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