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Murphy's Law and Backups

I don't mean to rub salt in the wound, Joel, but you didn't have a "sensible backup strategy".  You didn't check to see if the backups worked.

I've been bitten by this before.  Back long before ubiquitous LANs, I had a very sensible backup plan using incremental backups to multiple floppies.  When my 120MB hard drive died, I figured it was time for a new machine anyway.  New machine arrived, and I inserted the most recent floppy to get the source up and running.

No dice.  "Abort, Retry, Fail?"

Oh, that's OK, I have a previous backup.

"Abort, Retry, Fail?"

All four of the floppies in the rotating backup were hosed.  Turns out the the floppy drive in the original was experiencing head alignment issues.

Fortunately, Murphy took a coffee break.  The original floppy drive could still read the diskettes, so I installed that drive in the new machine long enough to read the backups.

The moral:  Making backups isn't enough.  You need to test recovery as well.

Tim Lesher
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

The other moral is to keep the old floppy drives!

Misalingment which means disks can be read on one floppy and not another is quite common. Scott Mueller devotes pages to it.

The problem now is likely to be unreadable CD's. The best bet is to try and keep data on more than one medium. I always use two or three different types of CD's, as well as backing up to other machines HD's.

But with a non-data back up it's a brave man who will try to overwirite the system drive he just spent two days setting up with the clone he made half an hour ago!

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Speaking of backup solutions...Does anyone know of a 20GB+ backup solution that is NOT: A) super expensive, B) another hard drive C) Slow as molasses

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Confucio says: "The three desirable things are: fast, good, cheap. Peek two."

Leonardo Herrera
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

For a tape backup device that is "NOT: A) super expensive, B) another hard drive C) Slow as molasses", check out OnStream:
Their smallest/cheapest tape drive is the DI30 - about $US200, IDE interface, averages about 50MB/minute (3GB/hour), cartridges hold about 20GB of typical files (15GB actual capacity, advertised as 30GB cartridges, but that assumes 2:1 compression).

For less than $400, OnStream also has a 50GB or 60GB tape drive with 100MB/minute backup speed. Their tape drives are available with SCSI, USB, and FireWire interfaces as well as IDE.

These tape drives are supported by a variety of backup software applications, several of which can also backup remote systems on the local network.

Philip Dickerson
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

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