Mirrodie: the guy who works our network in my office is giving me the advice. he swears by mag tapes.
In most cases, that´s way, way over the top. Tapes don´t age well, by the way, if you don´t store them in a climate-controlled environment. Data retrieval in case of a local flaw can be a problem as well. I´ve dealt with lost tape backups that became unreadable although the writer never complained.
Other kinds of media will usually be more realistic.
Mirrodie: I though external drive or dvds were the best option.
I´d agree with that. By far the most important aspects of backups are these:
• You´ll need to actually make them
- and regularly
• Know what the selected media type is good for and where its potential weaknesses are so you can take care to avoid them. (Renew media that might wear out, store in a "safe" climate.)
• If you´re using (relatively) cheap media, make multiple
backups (at least two or three, overwriting the oldest one next if you´re using rewritable media)!
• Don´t try to save on media for critical backups; The cheapest manufacturer may not serve you best. No sense in saving here and regretting it later.
• Be paranoid
! Always verify
your backups if there is such an option and check for actual readability
so they won´t forsake you in the hour of need.
• Store your backups in a different location
. If both your computer and your backups are destroyed by the same fire/flood/burglary, you´d be out of luck.
• And again: Don´t forget to actually make backups
Mirrodie: RAID is good he said but thought it too much for a home computer.
It won´t help against any of the more likely risks and only make sense for a high-availability server. Which has separate backups for actual safety anyway. RAID is not for real backups, only for continued immediate availability if the proper RAID level is used.
Mirrodie: now hes talking about my getting a laptop as a backup and having WIFI set up as soon as I move into the new house.
It could help a little as well, but only as a relatively weak additional layer of backup. By the way: An unsecured WiFi network or a stolen laptop could compromise any sensitive data you´d have, so please take security precautions on top of regular backups...
Mirrodie: This is just going on and on and on!
Relax... (while wisely staying paranoid, of course
Just decide on a realistic and workable option, actually make regular backups
, store them in a separate, safe and secure location and remember to replace aging media early (by shifting them to a less-sensitive use, for instance).
-R/RW or DVD-R/RW could serve you well; The primary
layer of safety is not
in the media but in the way you´re using
[Edited 2004-12-31 02:10:54]