Say storage and people immediately think of a hard or flash drive…tape…optical media. In other words, bit buckets to hold your digital stuff. Until that inevitable fateful day. Like ours…
First, the 2TB drive on your office server won’t boot up. It’s dead. Ten skilled people sit on their hands, wondering how they’re going to meet their deadlines. Then your daughter’s notebook hard drive dies with all of her music, photos, videos, school work and whatever. This IS a real crisis!
Suddenly, you’re really glad:
- storage products are downright cheap today
- you have backup and extra backup for the backup and a backup…
- you have a friend who knows systems inside and out who is willing to come to the office on a moment’s notice
- you have a son who loves to open every system in the house to constantly “improve their performance”
Even with a big box store only three blocks away, it took two hours (and a $200 drive) to get the server unit spinning again. Reloading the OS, apps, settings and work files from the primary backup took another couple of hours.
You look at the drive and mumble after Carter Chambers…“I hate your guts!”
The time wasn’t totally wasted. While we put off upgrading most of the office systems and notebooks (sorry Intel), we had storage coming out of our ears”
- HD in each computer
- At least one encrypted portable HD
- A load of USB drives (encrypted)
- CD/DVD copies of static, archived material
IDC analysts aren’t kidding when they say the digital universe doubles every 18 months. They also estimate that 85 percent of all data resides in the business domain. At home, the computer storage picture is similar.
Of course, the kids also have storage on all of their other devices too … you know, iPhone, iPod, camera, game system. IDC notes that over the next four years, information storage requirements will grow 6-fold. Most of that volume will be captured, copied, mashed up, replicated and duplicated.
Original content is probably even less than one-sixth of what is stored. The rest is like an iceberg.
To reduce storing copies you can link to a document, research, video, photos but why do it? It’s like Edward Cole said, “I want my own room.” Cripes, grabbing a copy and putting it on your own system, on your USB drive, on your other media and maybe even throwing it up into cloud storage – somewhere – is so much easier! And if you forget where you stored it … grab another copy!
At home, the server is just as useful as it is in the office. Everyone has his/her storage plus the central 2TB unit (did we say drives are cheap today?).
Be a Hero
But when your daughter comes into your home office with her lower lip quivering and tears welling up in her eyes, you know multiple storage devices are worth the expense. Every dad wants to look like a hero to his little girl!
Family storage requirements grow in leaps and bounds because of the volume of professional and amateur content that everyone is creating, producing and making available.
According to Parks Associates, just the family’s storage requirements alone for music, video, photos is going to double over the next two years … believe it!!!!
The problem is, most people don’t have a safety net for their content storage device.
- Will the storage be reliable and constantly available? You’re entitled to that, right?
- Folks absolutely need the most compact storage size, highest capacity, best performance and the lowest price period for their computer storage.
- Then, of course, they also want their storage to be feather-light, whisper-quiet, robust enough for “normal’ handling, very power conservative (green).
The challenge, according to TDG research, is that:
- 16.4% of home system users never backup
- 37.8% backup a couple of times a year
- 20.6% backup once a month
- 11.3% backup once a week
- 7.3% back up several times a week or once a day
- 6.6% didn’t have a clue
WXPNews studied back up and found that:
- 33.5% backup everything including system files
- 28.6% selected important files
- 37.9% all user data
How and where do they save the data?
- 48.4% use 3rd-party programs
- 26.5% backup manually
- 68.1% backup to CD, DVD or external HD
- 3.5% to somewhere in the cloud
Solution(s), Not Solution
There’s no single or right storage solution. In fact, the more options you use, the more certain you are that your content will survive to be shared with others–even after you’ve completed your bucket list.
If you project your family’s content storage requirements over the next couple of years, you can easily see you’re going to be adding devices on a pretty regular basis.
Since most of the stuff you store is really inactive data (you know the content you access once every three – six months.
In fact, after 90 days, you probably won’t look at the content more than once a year — or so – no matter if it’s business data or personal files. Some people say that because of this, the best place to expand your storage is in the cloud. Cloud storage has its pros and cons. While we use a cloud for temporary storage, shared content and backup to our backup; we don’t view it as something we can rely on 100% of the time … yet.
- There are size limitations and sometimes (often) penalties for higher-capacity storage requirements.
- The fine print usually says they are not responsible for lost content.
- Timely availability – the Internet and sites do go down and usually at exactly the wrong time for you.
- Is there a service-level agreement (SLA), one that guarantees backups have been completed and content is available.
- There may be a difficult and sometimes expensive “exit strategy” if you want to change providers or bring your content home.
- Discontinuance of business – certainly there are well-financed storage providers like IBM, Amazon, EMC, Symantec, HP, Dell, Sun and others; but what if one is purchased and will no longer support your level of storage requirements or your provider goes out of business?
So we prefer:
- primary (minimum 120 – 250GB) system storage
- network (1-2TB) storage
- a combination of full (monthly) and incremental (daily) backup locally and offsite
- archive content to DVD and increasingly to BD media over 180 days old – two copies (one in fireproof office safe, one remotely)
- temporary cloud storage
This approach keeps the data readily available, protects irreplaceable personal and business content and is more environmentally kind than throwing more hard disks – theirs or ours – at the issue.
Yes, at some point we’ll have to migrate away from DVD and BD to some other archival media; but that is probably 10+ years away. By then, will you want the old stuff? … Really?
In the meantime, you’re assured that your business and personal/family data will survive a disaster.
There’s no good time to lose your data. Just keep in mind what Edward Cole said, “We live, we die, and the wheels on the bus go round and round.”