2006/07/26

Data Backups - Some Options

At NEW NET last night, Andy M and I discussed several options for computer backup. Those options were:
1. Online data backup
2. Drop & drag a data folder between hard drives on two different computers
3. Tape backup
4. MS SyncToy backup between hard drives on two different computers
5. IBM Continuous Data Protection
6. Backups to a CD or DVD

What option is best for you depends on several factors. Two main factors for this discussion are whether the person is comfortable with using a computers and networks (such as a home wireless network) and how valuable the data is.

For those people who are relatively tech savvy, I like the sounds of Andy's SyncToy solution. For people or companies whose data is highly valuable, such as customer records, accounting information or other data critical to a business, an online data backup seems the best answer.

A prime requirement of mine for a usable backup system, especially for consumers, is a highly automated solution. Home computer users tend not to do manual backups even though they have economical, reliable options, such as burning to a CD or DVD periodically and using a flash drive for data changed between times when they back-up to CD or DVD.

Andy has worked with a number of clients who use an online backup system. The backup is made each night, so the most data that can be lost is one day's worth. The same would be true for most of the other backup plans. The IBM Continuous Data Protection (CDP), however, works in the background, sort of like anti-virus software. Assuming CDP doesn't slow the computer down significantly, it might be a pretty good option. If CDP works correctly, the most data you would lose is possibly the file you are working on when the disaster strikes, and even the data on that file may be only partially lost. IBM's website has a trial download option for CDP, so I downloaded it and will be trying it out. I'll let you know how it works. In addition, a system will be set up for using the SyncToy method so CDP and SyncToy can be compared.

If you have a backup method you find particularly easy, automatic, reliable and cost effective, please comment on this posting or send an email.

*****

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