Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The care and maintenance of your backups

Something special happened last weekend.

My hard drive started going, click, screech, click, click, screech...


You know that sound.

The sound of a hard drive in its final death throes.

The good news is that this drive was part of my RAID 1,  which I placed all my documents, family photos, music, ESD software, and railworks backups. This means I had time to get to Central Computer and buy a new drive to replace the dead one and rebuild the array.

Well... it should have been that simple. My inexperience will show here, but I really don't work with RAIDs much. I put the new drive in, and asked it to rebuild and it would not. It could be because the new drive needed to be formatted first, but I will not find out. I went and bought a second drive made a new RAID 1 and copied the files over from the surviving drive. There are some hard lessons to learn here.

First I need to understand how to properly use my RAID card. Second, I really don't have a real backup solution. Lets talk about the second. RAID is not a means of backing up your data. It is simply a means of protecting through redundancy. You are probably thinking that backups are protection through redundancy as well, but its more than that. Backups should be something you can unplug, and store. The most common example is burning to a DVD, and in the IT world it would be tape. The media should be more resilient than a hard drive with moving parts, and its not suppose to be touched until its needed. A better term to describe this would be 'archiving'. So I am now researching a nice solution to back up both my wife's machine and mine. I don't think it will use tape (too expensive) or DVDs so I am probably looking another layer of redundancy, but it should cover all the bases. Stay tune for when I reveal my findings. As for the RAID, if you are asking if I will keep it around after I get this new backup solution in place. I will. It did exactly what it was designed to, and I am considering adding one to my wife's machine as well.

Now that I am back up and running, I can start riding the rails again.

No comments:

Post a Comment